The image of a supply chain is linear, stretching from one point to another, link-by-link, in an orderly procession. If each part does its job, success is realized. But, we all know that business does not really work like that. Rather, activities are more random, concurrent and fluid. The case studies at an upcoming Celent innovation event will explore how companies are making the transition from the step-by-step chain to the dynamic network that we increasingly experience.

Ahead of the event, we have some fantastic examples of companies that are extending social technology in order to bend their supply chains into supply networks. Here’s a thumbnail sketch of a few:

- How does an insurer reduce fraud, manage risk, decrease losses, minimize customer acquisition expense and lower processing costs all at the same time? Friendsurance is using social collaboration to turn the traditional insurance model on its ear and accomplish all these goals simultaneously. Its mechanisms allow their customers to use social networks to agree to “cover” each other if there is a loss.

- TradeKing Group's focus on social networking immediately differentiated their firm from the 600-pound gorillas in the online brokerage industry by providing a safe, collaborative environment for investors to interact with peers and with the company itself. Working closely with securities industry regulators to leverage social’s power beyond marketing, they have built industry leadership in key business functions like customer service.

- With the increasing need to innovate and change the way business is being done, companies continue to struggle with tapping the skills and knowledge of their employees to identify ways to transform the business. Similarly, everyone recognizes what a valuable resource associates can be, but it is very difficult to collect and refine the “next great thing.” Chubb & Son, using a social platform that reaches directly to front line support staff and interacts directly with agents and customers to engage them in the product development and feedback process, has built innovation into the day-to-day, natural activity stream of all of their employees.

This blog has been reprinted with permission from Celent.

Mike Fitzgerald is a senior analyst in Celent's insurance practice, and can be reached atmfitzgerald@celent.com.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Mike using the “Add Your Comments” box below.

The opinions posted in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News or SourceMedia.

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