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VP and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research. Dion focuses on the topics of digital engagement, customer experience, enterprise collaboration, digital workplace, digital transformation, social business, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), open business models, and next-generation enterprises. His thought leadership can be found on ZDNet, On Web Strategy, Constellation Research, ebizQ.

4 responses to “The Advent of the Social Supply Chain”

  1. What is Social Supply Chain Management?

    […] There aren’t many visuals out there which really show how a social supply chain works or what it looks like however I did find one create by Dion Hinchcliffe which is a good start (which came from this post). […]

  2. What is Social Supply Chain Management?

    […] There aren’t many visuals out there which really show how a social supply chain works or what it looks like however I did find one create by Dion Hinchcliffe which is a good start (which came from this post). […]

  3. Steve Christensen


    Posting to this blog over 15 months after its publication almost feels like talking to the dead. Fortunately, the topic of this article is far from dead. In fact, the points that you have raised and the impact it can have on business has now moved to the proven state.

    There is one fundamental issue missing in your analysis: legacy enterprise applications. While the future is in the Social Supply Chain; to get their requires a realization of where a company is starting. For the past two plus decades companies have invested heavily in ERP and Best of Breed applications – these are legacy systems regardless of the age or version being used. Constellation Research identifies that the average ERP is 11.5 years old. Even before COTS enterprise software was available companies were investing in HomeGrown applications – many of which still run their business today.

    Regardless of how shiny the Social Supply Chain is if a there isn’t a bridge to get there it is all just a dream. When you look at the history of enterprise software it is built upon a “rip and replace” strategy that is fraught with risk, budget constraints, resource limitations, schedule overruns and partial value acheivement. BabbleWare ( has delivered the next generation of enterprise software that does not rip and replace the legacy applications.

    Without touching a single line of code in the legacy application the Social Supply Chain can be attained in a matter of hours. By de-coupling the transactional boundaries of data, process and technology imposed by the legacy system new data, enhanced processes and innovative technology can be utilized that facilitate intra and inter company collaboration. Not only can the productivity, accuracy and visibility of the companies business increase without risk but the tide can raise for all boats including Vendors and Customers. Since BabbleWare’s technology is legacy system agnostic the many systems that currently are in use across the supply chain are no longer barriers.

    Social media has taught us the power of collaboration and communication amongst a community of like-minded people. Similarly, with the underlying transactions of the legacy application protected and innovative new transactions yielded more value, secure social networking sites such as Yammer, Chatter, etc. can now be connected to the Social Supply Chain.

    This allows Employees to self organize around specific areas of interest; perhaps by function, product line, market or even a specific Customer. BabbleWare then messages this network with filtered results of the transactions it now executes. Vendors and Customers can be included in a social network so that information flows not only between legacy applications but, more importantly, to the people whose responsibility it is to make sure the Supply Chain is frictionless.

    By avoiding the modification, integration or replacement strategies of previous enterprise software generations companies are able to self-direct where their competitive advantage lies. Changing competition, compliance, regulations and corporate strategy become agile, easy to use and innovative opportunities to unleash the latent value in the supply chain. “Blue Oceans” of opportunity can be created by teams of contributors that identify a place where more data, increased visibility and dynamic collaboration deliver the results.

    As you said, “…story of advancement when it came to supply chains has been one of technological improvement.” To continue and accelerate the advancement requires that technology get out of the way. Legacy systems play a valuable role in the consolidation and centralization of corporate data in particular, financial results. But these systems were not intended to be agile, adaptive nor easy to use and create the single largest barrier. It takes a next generation of enterprise software that is unobtrusive to eliminate this barrier while protecting those investments so that business can evolve in the fast paced, economically uncertain and shifting global market in which all companies compete.

  4. Tamesha Swinehart

    Refreshing blog post you have hereabouts. I hadn’t given due consideration such.