In the spirit of economy -- economy of words that is -- I'll keep my Spend Matters New Year's Resolutions brief. So here goes. My first Spend Matters resolution for the New Year is to cover technology providers more closely and in greater depth -- but from a business perspective, not an IT one. You've probably seen more of this starting in the fall of 2008. I strongly feel that besides Michael Lamoureux's (AKA, the Doctor) excellent work over on Sourcing Innovation, that there is simply not enough good, objective analysis of different providers, both large and small. Ironically, I think customer knowledge actually drops the larger you go (e.g., the market is more confused about SAP's Spend Management offerings than it is about a small start-ups).
My second resolution is to take Spend Matters in some new directions without skimping on the business focus that got us to this point. I should have done this sooner. Look for some really exciting news on this front in the coming months. As I've hinted at before, I believe that spend matters as much in the home as it does in the workplace. And I'm tired of hearing Suze Orman rant about tearing up high interest credit cards. There's a whole lot more to saving your personal mullah than that.
My third Spend Matters resolution is to stop making resolutions and to judge the merits of this venture on the results, not the ideas. In this regard, Spend Matters Navigator -- in its first iteration -- was a great idea but a colossal cock-up in execution. It cost me a small fortune and we ended up having to scrap it in the end because the company that provided us the software did not make it on its own. So don't look for rhetoric around big ideas here. Seeing will be believing going forward. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Talkers are no great doers." And Navigator will return, mind you, albeit in a new format -- one that's hopefully an improvement.
My fourth New Year's Spend Matters resolution is to continue to consult more with practitioners on a short-term basis (one and two day assignments). I got a lot out of the ones I did last year, and the feedback from procurement executives I worked with is that they did as well. These short-term "expert days" often take the form of relative deep technology, strategy and process discussions and workshop. They're often quite fractal in nature, scaling up and down at the level a customer needs. Some tend to focus on a high level (e.g., procurement technology). Some end up being very specific (e.g., supplier enablement, ERP vs. Best of Breed in P2P).
My fifth New Year's resolution is a personal one. And that's that I want to slowly extricate myself from writing for others in their name. In December, I went back to estimate the number of private -- or white-label -- whitepapers, columns, PPT decks and newsletters I've written since starting Azul Partners and the number is staggering. Just around one thousand. They've been for consultants, vendors and providers of all shapes and sizes. I've written approximately one every other day since starting the firm. I'm sure this extrication will take some time, but if you're looking for ideas and thought provoking copy that sing and you want yours truly to do it, your time is limited. I'll be finished with it by this time next year if I can adhere to this resolution -- except for my close friends and long-term clients.