Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!  

As we end this year, we wanted to share with you some important program updates:
  • accomplishments made in 2017
  • the announcement of a new platform for Supplier Connection (You need to take action!)
2017 Connecticut Supplier Connection A ccomplishments
  • Our network grew in count for both corporate buyers and suppliers registered on the network. We currently have eight corporate buyers and 300 suppliers registered in the program, up significantly from year end 2016.
  • Our first annual Growth Summit was held in May in Stamford. 16 buyers were represented and over 240 suppliers attended. The day featured training, match making (over 110 sessions with buyers) and advice from industry players and resources to help you grow your business.
  • We continued to present our Supplier Development Academy courses for marketing and financial readiness (in conjunction with the CT Small Business Development Center), providing our suppliers with tools to help them prepare for and achieve growth.
  • The strength of the state’s small and diverse supply chain was measured, providing a first ever baseline assessment. So what did we learn? The study, conducted jointly with Quinnipiac University, told a story of a dynamic and growing supply chain that is expecting continued growth into 2018. We also heard that more supplier development resources are needed (and we will respond in 2018!) and that corporate buyers can do more to help accelerate small and diverse participation in their supply chain efforts by better managing and supporting their diversity programs. Full survey findings available here.
  • We advised multiple suppliers, reviewing business development plans and providing referrals to other resources that can help them grow. This included joint meetings with, and referrals to, the state’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Connecticut Small Business Development Center, SBA, University of Hartford’s Women’s Entrepreneurial Center, the Connecticut Technology Council, the Department of Economic and Community Development, and other organizations. We thank these partners and look forward to continued work ahead.

New Platform for Supplier Connection!
Please take action ASAP
A key change is coming in February that you need to prepare for – IBM will no longer be involved in the CT Supplier Connection program and we will be replacing their registration portal with technology from a new provider – SupplierOne/Supplier.io.

Effective February 15th, IBM’s Supplier Connection portal will no longer be available to the public.  We are pleased to announce that we will be working with SupplierOne to provide a new shared small and diverse supplier portal.

Supplier.io, based in Chicago, is a well known provider of diversity and small business supplier data. They focus much of their business on working with large procurement groups on augmenting and supplementing their supplier data, analyzing diverse and small business spend and economic impact, and on assessing and providing Tier One and Tier Two spend reporting. They also operate a shared registration portal and provide private label websites to over 60 large buying firms.  

The best news is that access to this system will remain free to both suppliers and buyers under our new arrangement, and both suppliers and buyers can also purchase incremental services from supplier.io if they choose.
Why Did We Select to Work With Supplier.io?
Great question…we talked to a number of potential providers, but only a few were willing to work with us on a “freemium” model. This narrowed the field considerably and then we further negotiated and did due diligence before finalizing arrangements with Supplier.io. The long and the short of the decision came down to a better deal for everyone – suppliers, buyers and the Connecticut Supplier Connection community overall:
  • Keep the Services Free - Their willingness to provide a freemium model with the most features and functions that matched the IBM platform.
  • Offer Enhanced and Bigger Opportunity to Market to More Buyers – Supplier.io is already working with a larger buyer base than we had with IBM. IBM had 42 corporate buyers on the platform, while Supplier.io has over 60 and is growing their user base.
  • Offer Expanded Supplier Search Opportunities – There were only 4,400 registered suppliers on the IBM platform. Supplier.io has data on over 1 million small and diverse suppliers in their database. This provides buyers more opportunity to search by NAICS code, geography, category/commodity, diversity status, etc. to find new potential suppliers.
  • Equivalent Portfolio Data – Motivated suppliers can continue to upload their diversity certificates, marketing presentations, capability statements and customer references, as well as their social and digital marketing links to their new Supplier.io profile. (see more about how and when to do this), so your ability to differentiate your business is equivalent to the old Supplier Connection platform.
  • Faster Registration Process - unlike the old IBM platform, there are considerably fewer questions to respond to in completing your profile on Supplier.io/SupplierOne. This should help us grow the universe of Connecticut based suppliers faster and reduce friction as we go.

So the decision was strong and importantly, most of the Connecticut buyers are remaining part of our community. We will announce which ones will continue with the program in a few weeks as we finalize agreements, but they are very positive on the new platform.
What Do You Have To Do?
There is a simple two step process to remain active on the new platform.

Step 1 – Opt-in
We continue to have access to the data that is included in your profiles on the IBM Supplier Connection profile and have worked with Supplier.io on a process that would permit your data to be uploaded to the new platform at no cost. However, since this is your data, we do need you to request that it be transfered to the new platform. Please click the button below to initiate the “opt in” to allow the data transfer process . Once you opt-in, we will have your baseline data uploaded to Supplier.io/SupplierOne and you will receive an email from them asking you to log in and confirm your data. 
Step 2 – Confirm Data and Enhance Profile
Once you log in to the new platform, you can check all your data and update or fix anything that is not accurate. At that point, you can also upload any diversity certificates, marketing presentations, capability statements or social/digital links that you would like included in your new profile.  We cannot transfer this data or the links systematically…you will need to do this.

There is so much more planned for the new year…but that will come in further newsletter updates.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, though I am taking a few days off around the holidays!

Thank you for your continued involvement with us and we look forward to improving your experience in 2018!

Gary Breitbart
Connecticut Supply Chain Roundtable
Statewide Director - Connecticut Supplier Connection