I was recently perusing Forrester's recent coverage into the Spend Management sector and found that, unfortunately, the firm has still not jumped entirely into the sector at the level which I believe it should. Despite hiring Duncan Jones, who is based in London, to complement Andy Bartel's occasional Wave reports, there does not seem to be a steady commitment to the sector along the lines of what AMR Research and Gartner are making (I do not include Aberdeen in this list because I do not consider them an analyst firm). Personally, I believe that Forrester's hit or miss approach to covering Spend Management and the annual reports it authors are downright dangerous forms of coverage.
Since Forrester depends so much on what vendors tell them to structure their research on the Wave reports -- I know this because the questions for at least one of the Wave reports I saw reads like a best of breed vendors competitive checklist -- the reports only present one part of the story as to what's really needed in the market and how the different players stack up. Forrester would do the Spend Management market and itself a huge favor by not only covering the sector more aggressively but also working closely with end-users to define the Wave requirements rather than continuing what I believe has become a mostly vendor-driven approach to checking the box on different requirements.
Also, let's hope that Duncan Jones begins to take a more active role in the research. I know he was at the Emptoris conference in the fall, so clearly, he's beginning to educate himself on the market. But like folks like Mickey North Rizza who are actively hitting the practitioner conference scene this spring as well, it will become critical for Duncan and Andrew to really begin to get the user-view of Spend Management on a consistent basis. After all, we all know how good vendors can be at spin. And calling bullshit on them is something that's hard to do unless you're working with practitioners day in and day out (and believe me, phone inquiry calls just don’t cut it).
- Jason Busch