When I put on my Spend Management marketing hat, it's easy to praise the countless new reports coming out of the management consulting world. After all, part of my stated purpose for this blog is to promote a movement which I think is critical not only to get as a permanent blip on the executive radar screen, but to change how all spend and supply related activities are looked at in their entirety. Given this line of thinking, it would be easy for me to get behind research study after research study that emerges from the Big 5 and Big 5 cast-away firms. But truthfully, if I read one more near-identical report from the consulting world, I'm going to go mad. Seriously, who needs yet another study with identical findings? Why don't these firms dig into new areas of interest such as supply risk or sustainable procurement practices rather than analyzing the same questions which others have already looked at for the Nth time?
My point here is not to single out CapGemini. Their latest study, which you can also read about on The European Leaders Network (registration required), is not entirely useless. But it follows on the heels of near identical studies from Accenture, Archstone, and others. And besides, Aberdeen has been tackling similar research areas for years, often with larger sample sizes and tighter cuts of the data.
If you must know some of the highlights of CG's study, here ya go: "Less than 50% of SRM users use the application to track orders, typically taking information out of the system and running reports separately. For instance, 20% of users are currently tracking orders outside of the SRM system … Only 7% of purchasers use the reporting functions contained in the application. 35% never use this function at all, which is designed to enable easy and accurate reporting ... Many purchasers use spend information to prepare contracts, but less than 40% of purchasers can access the spend information on their SRM application, for 60% of users this information is inaccessible even though it does reside in the system."
See, it's not a bad piece of research, but it's virtually the same thing that has already come out of their competitor firms. In my opinion, if a company is really interested in seeing in how it stacks up, why not call in the real benchmarking experts at Hackett? That is their business first and foremost. And then figure out which integrator or consultancy makes the most sense based on their actual capabilities and track record rather than the spin their research arms put on primary studies (which, in most cases, rarely have close ties to the practice areas and practice management, anyway).