There seem to be a disproportionate number of companies considering their need for spend visibility applications at the moment. While there are a lot of middle market organizations thinking about their needs for the first time, I reckon that there are probably even more larger companies who are going back and evaluating what it will take to put in place a spend visibility or spend analysis strategy that goes beyond one-time or periodic efforts. Many of these companies are beginning to think through how they can leverage spend visibility not only to drive sourcing strategies, but to better manage supplier compliance, audit invoices, enhance diversity and performance management programs and generally drive more effective Spend Management programs overall.
Because of this new found enthusiasm for spend visibility, I'll be taking a close look at the market in the coming days, starting with an investigation that digs into Ariba's announcement last week that suggests the Spend Management provider is now leveraging both internal and third party market intelligence as part of its spend analysis offering (e.g., pricing indexes). I had the chance to demo a current version of the application on Friday with these capabilities and came away with the feeling that other vendors will be forced to follow their lead. Clearly, the spend visibility market is not only heating up -- it's maturing and improving as well. Which is great news for any company looking to know more about what it's buying, who they're doing business with and general strategies for cost and risk reduction.