Yes, bringing this up can look bad for you. It can also look great. It depends on several things:
- first, how genuinely useful the product or service is. In many large organizations, this is defined by "we already buy it", not by some separate objective measure of which you can convince your boss
- second, what benefit (lower price, faster delivery, better service) your friend's company can offer, and therefore you can be credited with finding
- third, the extent to which your discussions make it clear you are putting the needs of your employer first and foremost, not trying to help a friend or help yourself (in the form of a commission, future job, favour etc.)
- fourth, what turf-defending (only the purchasing department handles purchasing) or anti-corruption measures exist in your organization
- fifth, what special measures are ok right now in the pandemic that otherwise wouldn't be
So, if you work at a military hospital and a small startup is making PPE and offering it at cost, you double-time to whoever will listen and let them know about your great opportunity. But if you work in an admin department using 50 year old software written in-house and your buddy wants you to get your boss to spend several million replacing it with something written quickly by an outsider that almost certainly can't handle your special situations, you keep your mouth firmly shut. And for anything in between, a casual mention of the information you have learned (I know someone who provides X and thinks it might be useful for us, let me know if you want an introduction) is probably harmless.