Early in the week, I had the chance to read the March edition of Manufacturing Insights' newsletter, Theory and Practice. As I wrote about in a past entry, Manufacturing Insights is a new IDC spin-out, whose research agenda and advisory practice focuses on a number of areas including supply chain, sourcing, and procurement that are especially relevant for manufacturers making Spend Management investments. In this edition of Theory and Practice, Bob Ferrari writes about the “rash of announcements related to acquisitions of smaller SCM best-of-breed technology vendors”. Included in his write up are analyses of Dunn and Bradstreet’s Open Ratings acquisition and i2’s acquisition of RiverOne’s assets. But most prescient are not his discussions on the individual deals, but what companies buying Spend Management technology are actually looking for: “Manufacturing companies have become very savvy and very particular in selecting their technology vendors. They rely on a mix of large strategic and smaller specialist vendors to support pilot programs or broad proofs-of-concept activity, before signing the "big deal". These companies also want differentiation in their supply chain process capabilities ..." Even if you're not a Manufacturing Insights' client, you can subscribe to Theory and Practice by clicking here. Even for non-manufacturers, it's more than worth the time to read it.