It's about that time of year again. Bloggers, journalists and analysts will soon issue their prognostications for what 2008 will bestow. Most likely, many of these predictions will sound eerily similar and the observant reader will read between the lines to understand a pundit's thinking as much as their pronouncements. This time around on the these virtual pages of Spend Matters, I plan to look at the next 12 months through a vendor technology lens, examining what we can expect regarding individual providers from an innovation, deal activity, and customer-facing perspective.
Who do I plan to look at this time around? In the spirit of depth rather than breadth, I'm going to restrict my analysis to those providers selling their own applications that I feel will make headlines next year. If you don't make the cut, don't worry. Send me a note and we'll connect in the New Year, and I'll challenge you to prove why you should be included from an innovation and market shaping perspective (and if you can prove to me why, I'll include you in an addendum post). Also, don't think I'm giving short shrift to the services-driven folks in the sector. In a separate series of posts in the New Year, I'll look at consulting, solution and BPO providers (many of whom resell other, third-party technology).
At this point, my short-list to examine includes some of the broader platform suspects such as Ariba, SAP, and Oracle, as well as larger specialists who are carving out specific elements of the Spend Management technology sector including Emptoris, ePlus, and Siemens. But my list also includes a handful of content-driven providers including D&B, CVM Solutions, and MFG.com, who I believe have the potential to become household software names in the sector if they play their cards right. And since I always root for the underdog, I'll also include a sprinkling of smaller providers who I believe have the power to not only take business away from the big dogs, but to create entirely new markets of their own. In my book, vendors in this category include folks such as Aravo, Co-Exprise and Vinimaya.
To keep the write-ups fair -- and to avoid producing copy that reads like marketing propaganda -- I plan to examine both opportunities and challenges for every provider that I review. And I would request that rather than copy select material -- all of the content is © Spend Matters after all -- for marketing purposes in these posts, that providers point prospects and customers to the actual links on the blog. The two exceptions to this are Spend Matters sponsors, who are allowed to repurpose material from Spend Matters, and those providers who legitimately license Spend Matters copy in PDF or html format by reaching out to me directly.