I remain impressed with the free category intelligence material that Ariba continues to crank out every quarter with SupplyWatch. It's not always perfect when it comes to highly granular sub-category and regional trends, but heck, you're not paying for it either. In fact, I reckon that a number of companies are paying Indian KPO firms to conduct supply market analyses that do little more than copy what Ariba is saying while backing it up with a few more numbers. Oops. What did I just say? Probably something I shouldn't have but after all, that's one of the reasons you read Spend Matters.
Lifted supply market analyses aside, SupplyWatch actually has more than just category trends and numbers. I specifically liked the feature article in this month's edition, Protectionism Rears its Head: Should You Be Worried?. It's something we should all take a close look at. Because aside from "Hope", our latest President -- along with recent elected and non-elected leaders from around the world -- brought with him an ideology that values protectionist political payback over "free" when it comes to trade. But fair-trading Barack Obama is not the only cog creating friction for the free-trade wheel. Check out what some of the issues are in the above-linked SupplyWatch feature and decide for yourself the impact that protectionism might have for your business, sourcing and supply chain strategies.