Author: Pete Loughlin

Calling it an idiot’s guide is fairly safe. I’m unlikely to offend anyone. The fact that you’re reading this confirms you’re not an idiot. There has been some pretty high profile research into the power and effectiveness of social media. McKinsey estimate that it’s worth $1.3 trillion in terms of the extra value that the global economy can extract through it’s use. And we do see it used effectively. The B2C use case of viral marketing campaigns and the damage limitation campaigns (O2 deserves a medal for their recent success in managing the fallout from a network outage using twitter and, importantly, a sense of humour.) I spoke to Renette Youssef, CMO at Tradeshift recently about how they use social media as a powerful marketing tool. (You can listen to the podcast here). But how do individual professionals in procurement or finance use social media in a professional context? We see celebrities using social media all the time but as professionals, what value is there in sharing with our followers what we had for breakfast? And is it really a good idea to share pictures of your Friday night out?

We’ve always seen the banks as being the facilitators of commerce. Depending on your point of view, they’re an invaluable support to business or a necessary evil. Without a properly regulated banking industry, business in the modern world couldn’t function. Or could it? There are changes happening that could make us question what role the banks play and in some industries and supply chains, there could be a better way.

A year ago the conversation was all about whether or not social media and social technologies were relevant in the B2B space. It wasn’t entirely clear whether the enormous impact of Facebook and Twitter would be mirrored by some industrial strength B2B equivalent. A year on and it’s no longer OK to be seen scratching your head quizzically when someone mentions social – if you don’t get it – you’ve had it!

In a comment on an earlier article about the cost of DPO, Richard Fitzwilliam commented: “DPO is a key indicator of a company’s health and is one of the levers which drives a company’s share price and therefore its valuation. Discounting does reduce DPO and therefore has a negative impact on share price.” I would not normally respond to a comment if I disagree with it but Richard's point is  an interesting one and it goes to illustrate very well how DPO, discounting and supply chain finance can be seen in entirely different ways depending on the lens you view them through.

I remember as a little kid being captivated by the imagery in the Tin Tin comic album “Destination Moon”. It’s an outlandish adventure that involves travelling through space in a red and white rocket ship all the way to the moon. And in parallel, the outlandish adventure was being played out for real in the Apollo missions. When Neil Armstrong became the first human being to step on another world, fantasy became reality. Science fiction became science fact and we could dare to dream that anything was possible. The sad news that Neil Armstrong died this weekend serves more than to remind us of that great event in history. It’s also a reminder of that age of adventure when it wasn’t all about money.