Gartner's "Cool Purchasing" Vendors

Debbie Wilson and her colleagues recently named BIQ and Vinimaya to their list of "cool vendors" for 2007 (supply chain and asset management specialists TrueDemand and FreeFlow were also on the list). if you're interested, David Bush has more scoop on the announcement here. Personally, I believe that both BIQ and Vinimaya are two extremely innovative Spend Management providers -- and both more than deserve to be on any list of up and coming vendors.

I also do not believe that it's ironic that both BIQ and Vinimaya were boot-strapped with limited -- or no -- outside investment. Eric and Gary come from the "been there, done that" school of hard procurement knocks. And when they both had the right idea, they realized the upside would be higher if they could execute without selling their first born to the VCs.

Most important of all, this award should be a signal to those involved in the Emptoris / BIQ litigation that BIQ did not simply copy the approach and secrets that Emptoris suggested they did. Indeed, BIQ is fundamentally different in its approach to spend analysis than other providers (Emptoris included). And Gartner recognized this. Of course, now it's up to $400/hour legal leeches to debate the specifics at trial, but rest assured, this Gartner note provides one "expert" opinion that BIQ is indeed different than the rest (interestingly, at least one direct BIQ competitor I know of also surfaced after the initial Emptoris accusations were made, showing prior art of spend analysis techniques that pre-date both Emptoris and Zeborg). In any event, you know my view here (and even that of BIQ's direct competitors, who find Emptoris' behavior equally abhorrent). Let the market -- not the lawyers -- win.

So what else about the Gartner "cool list" is worth discussing? It's a shame that they overlooked other newish and innovative vendors in the sector such as CombineNet, Akoya, aPriori, and Coupa (I could go on with this list, but for the sake of brevity, I'll keep it short). But heck, at least Debbie is once again putting pen to paper and producing quality analysis. However, given that she's only written or co-written half a dozen briefs so far this year, I'd say she's got a lot of ground to cover to catch up to the other analysts at rival firms which continue to stretch their lead over Gartner in both credibility and coverage in the procurement and supply chain world.

Jason Busch

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