I'll be out of the country on vacation with my family for the next week and a half. Fortunately, I've mostly blogged ahead and written the bulk of the content for the duration of the trip already. But I'll still be checking in to see if there are breaking stories that are worth chiming in on. Aside from changes to the planned programming, what should you expect this week and next? For one, we'll be releasing a new Spend Matters Compass series research brief analyzing where spend visibility solutions are headed in the future. Based on my own research of other studies looking at spend visibility in the market already, I think this one really breaks new ground by getting past what solutions do today and tackling what they will be doing tomorrow (and what some leading organizations are already accomplishing by extending their view of what spend visibility should be doing for them). Here's a hint. In the paper, I argue that spend visibility must become procurement (or supply management) analytics, which is a broader and more encompassing description.
What else is in store? I've started to queue up some analyses that begin to break out shortlists of vendors for the sectors that Gartner looked at in its recent magic quadrant. I strongly feel that Gartner did a disservice by lumping such areas as supplier information management (they call it "supply base management") and e-sourcing in together -- let alone contract management and spend analysis. In the majority of cases I've seen recently, companies are independently evaluating one or more of these solution areas rather than creating a single analysis as Gartner did, attempting to tackle all four at the same time. Because of this trend, I decided to create a fairly comprehensive list for each of the four areas Gartner examined, providing commentary on the major players in each. I'm not aiming to provide relative rankings or comparative views with this effort. Rather, my goal is to save companies time, considering solutions in each independent area, from having to research all the vendor possibilities they should be considering.
The Friday Rants this week are fun. I had a particularly good time writing one of them. Hint: it tackles how procurement organizations are cutting into the margin of high-end strategy consulting firms like McKinsey. The other rant is on an even more somber topic and that's the potential for insider trading activity among procurement executives. It's happened before and in today's M&A environment – which many are forecasting to rise throughout the year – you can be sure it will happen again. So stay tuned. Even though I'm not back in the office until April 8th, there's a lot of good content in store.