I was recently contacted with a request to promote the 2008 Web Mission to San Francisco from April 19 to April 25 that will see 20 “leading” UK Web 2.0 companies converge on Silicon Valley in an effort to “explore new opportunities for growth”. My first thought was to just dismiss it, as most Web 2.0 companies these days have yet another “content aggregation and organization” spin or, even worse, a “social network” foundation (and I think you know how the faceless and spaceless doctor feels about that), but I thought I should at least check out who the invitees were just in case there were any potentials in the mix that maybe, just maybe, might be useful to supply and spend management professionals.
Most are about as useful as a deep freeze to an Eskimo in a middle of a twentieth century arctic winter (before global warming), but there were three companies that appear to show some promise. They are:
Huddle.net combines online collaboration, project management and document sharing using social networking principles.
Huddle is taking the SaaS approach to collaboration, project management, and document sharing – on-demand, available for all, and, most importantly, affordable. For as little as £10 a month, a small business can set up 10 workspaces and upload up to 2.5 GB worth of documents. This can be increased to 50 workspaces and 25GB for a mere 40£ more. It’s not Microsoft Project or Microsoft SharePoint, but for the cost, it does what a business is going to need it to do for small, distributed, projects. Huddle offers an easily accessible product tour on their web-site.
Zogix provides a SaaS (software as a service) platform for companies and consumers to measure and track Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, monitor and store emissions reduced from energy efficiency initiatives, and monetize CO2 saved from change in energy consumption.
Billing itself as compliant services procurement … that doesn’t cost the earth, Zogix allows procurement managers to manage, influence and control how their employees source Travel and Entertainment and other services with an ability to define alternative options that can significantly reduce this spend, as well as giving CSR Managers the tools they need to reduce emissions, and employees the ability to make better informed travel and entertainment choices. Zogix offers a demo as well as a free trial. The easiest way to define it is that it is a slimmed down Rearden Commerce platform with a zPoints incentive program and a focus on sustainability.
At edocr, you can upload your documents for sharing in the professional and business community. At the same time, you can interact with the documents uploaded by like minded professionals and businesses.
edocr, with its upload | convert | share capabilities, promotes its platform as a marketing communications channel for lead generation, knowledge exchange portal, and event collaboration platform. Pretty heady for a simple documents exchange platform that’s really just a cleaned up version of the photo-share capability on just about every social network in existence. So why could it be useful for procurement? First of all, the site also supports communities and groups, which is a great way to collect and store documents and discussions related to specific sourcing and procurement issues, without all the useless overhead of most of the supplier networks. Furthermore, it’s a much cleaner, simpler interface than many other platforms, which is what knowledge sharing should be all about. Secondly, you can use it as a free RFx platform for your open bids, and simply direct your suppliers to the appropriate documents in the appropriate group on the site for the bid package, rather than e-mailing large documents that are likely to bounce.