DnB’s Mobile Capability is Good But …

… it’s no substitute for the real thing.

There’s been a lot of hype recently about Dunn & Bradstreet’s new Supplier Risk Manager Mobile functionality, and a lot of coverage on the blogs. I’m not going to say it’s undeserved, as it is one of the first enterprise applications in the supply chain space to make an effort to embrace mobile computing, but I’m not going to hype it either.

The reality is that while D&B are advertising three capabilities, there is really only one real use for the offering (and I’m pleased to say that, when grilled, they readily admitted it), which is:

     determining whether or not an alert needs to be acted on now, or later.

A properly configured Supplier Risk Management System will be configured to send out alerts anytime something might need to be looked at — as the system will be ignored otherwise. When an alert is sent out, the first thing that a recipient needs to do is determine how serious the alert is and whether or not more research needs to be done and/or an action needs to be taken. With the mobile platform, that works on ‘Berries, ‘Droids, and iPhones, a risk manager can drill into the alert and see why it was issued (reduced credit score, late shipments, plant shutdown, etc.) and then drill into the supplier profile to determine what effect the reason for the alert could have on the supplier and/or the relationship. The manager can then determine if the alert needs to be followed-up on or not, and if the follow-up (whether additional research, a call, or another action) has to happen now or later. This is useful if the manager is on the road and doesn’t have easy access to the regular application or if the manager is just enjoying personal time and doesn’t want to drop everything to run to the [home] office to figure out whether or not something needs to be done — which could be the situation if the alert is for a major supplier of critical inventory.

The mobile app also allows you to search for suppliers and look up (random) company profiles, but let’s face it, that’s not something you’re going to be doing when you’re on the road or on personal time — especially when it’s so much easier on the full application. It’s neat, but you’re only going to be doing it when conduction sourcing events back at the [home/hotel] office. In short, it’s good, but don’t place unreasonable expectations on it, or they’ll be dashed.