Over the past twelve months, I've found an increasing number of companies -- both vendors and practitioners -- who wanted a more "analyst-like" way to commercially interact with Spend Matters, but were either not interested in sponsorship or advisory engagements, or, if they had the interest, lacked the budget for a consulting-type engagement. As a result (and as part of our desire to further productize what we do), Spend Matters recently created a new On Call offering designed to provide phone-based inquiry time. On Call also provides a discount on a range of other offerings, including on-site advisory time, webinars, and demand-creation programs; vendors also receive the ability to license -- for free -- up to two pieces of Spend Matters content per 12-month period. We designed the offering to be extremely straightforward and affordable, and to complement other, similar offerings in the analyst market. Based on our current staffing levels, we plan to initially limit the number of On Call members to a dozen organizations (we are in the process of signing our first On Call member this week). However, if demand reaches a higher level, we will bring on additional expert resources as required to meet demand.
For vendors, the program focuses on providing a more distinctive -- and, we'd argue, complementary -- level of insight than what providers would traditionally receive from software-focused analyst firms. Spend Matters On Call offers a unique preliminary and adjunct advantage to working with houses that provide counsel focused more on technology and less on how to maximize commercial traction from it. Spend Matters On Call provides a high level of insight into corporate development (channel/partnership/M&A), go-to-market, product strategy, and demand creation that derives from Spend Matters' deep network and involvement in the sourcing and procurement marketplace. If you're a provider, simply put, this insight is designed to help you drive the most dollars and highest-margin business your way.
For practitioners, the On Call program provides a simple contracted means of interacting with Spend Matters to get advice on initiatives and providers. One important point: to keep the cost of the program down, it's done on our paper (a simple contract), without protracted, back-and-forth negotiation over indemnifications, warranties, liability, etc. Why should practitioners consider signing up for On Call if the contracting process won't help justify the legal department budget? We believe that Spend Matters brings deeper insights than most traditional firms when it comes to making recommendations and considerations for working with services and content providers (vs. strictly software) in the procurement arena. For example: what boutique-category specialists should you consider in transportation, packaging, and IT spend, in addition to the usual suspects? Or, what supply-risk content providers can you go to in North America vs. Europe (and where does the quality of their content begin to degrade)?
At the same time, we're also up to speed when it comes to the latest (and not so latest) technology in areas such as spend analysis and visibility, supplier information management, supply risk management, P2P, and e-sourcing. Still, if it's deep technology you're after (e.g., integration-level information), we'd recommend you skip Spend Matters, Gartner, and everyone else, and head straight to an SI, a boutique technology-consulting firm, or a highly experienced individual implementer/technologist for "wires and pliers" advice. Analysts who aren't involved in implementations on a regular basis simply can't go this deep (I know I can't anymore).
And stay tuned for an even more exciting new research offering which we'll officially be launching on Spend Matters this coming Monday (but will be sharing the details on before then). If you've ever thought Spend Matters spent too much time just scratching the surface of subjects, then you're not alone (we agree). But hopefully what we're about to launch will go a long way to addressing the need for more thorough content and thought provoking analysis on critical subjects and providers.
In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about On Call, William Busch, Spend Matters VP of Sales, would be happy to tell you more. If you'd like to learn more, please reach out to him directly: wbusch (at) spendmatters (dot) com.