When IT leaders join Twitter, they probably get followed pretty quickly by IBM, Microsoft, SAP and other big-name vendors with which they do business (or who would dearly like to have them as customers).

If CIOs see social media as more than a personal branding exercise and more as a way to begin the sourcing process, however, they might gradually gain insight that would give them a lot more context before they ever issue and RFP or arrange a face-to-face meeting.

This week FreshBooks, for example, raised its profile in the business community by gaining the kind of funding that could significantly transform its capabilities. Founded in Toronto, FreshBooks makes accounting software-as-a-service and is aimed primarily at the small business market. Even if it never targets enterprise users, Canadian CIOs could learn a lot from its success in how cloud computing can disrupt an established industry sector.

For IT executives that are involved in e-commerce, meanwhile — and is there any firm left that doesn’t want to sell something online? — it may be time to get introduced to Shopify. The Toronto-based firm’s platform is designed to help anyone become an online merchant. Over time, Shopify’s attention to user experience design may set expectations for what CIOs and their teams set up for their enterprise.

And of course, there’s HootSuite. Not just because it’s based in Vancouver and has a wildly popular set of tools for managing social media activity, but because its feed provides the kind of ongoing education in what’s happening on major platforms like Twitter and Facebook that even hiring a Millenial wouldn’t give you.

Image via Shopify