Friday Rant: Spend Matters — Staying the Course

With the breaking-up and reformulation (and suspected reformulation) of Supply Chain Management Review and Purchasing, a number of folks have come up to me and suggested it's time for Spend Matters to double down once again on growth and offerings. At this point, we're currently the largest media/blog in the market, exceeding the traffic of most alternative sites by an order of two times or more (using Alexa and others to triangulate relative readership). I've also recently gotten feedback from a few vendors who have conducted their own influence surveys, and they suggested Spend Matters is increasingly cited as reference material among prospects and customers relative to traditional analyst sources. For me, this is testament to staying the course over the years and focusing on content that entertains, educates and encourages debate, going deep where it needs to, especially in technology. But it's also a reason to focus on our current offerings versus jumping into new ones.

What's ahead for Spend Matters, given the changing media and publishing landscape? For one, you'll see new voices on the blog (as well as in our Compass research series briefs). When I'm not the expert, I'll bring in the expert. One of the reasons the analysts so often make fools of themselves is that most are really up to speed on a few areas and completely clueless in others. Yet they still cover a broad landscape of topics, when in fact they're doing a disservice by doing so and I want to avoid that mistake here. In this regard, I'll continue to cover areas like sourcing, P2P, spend analysis and risk management on my own (I'll also be ramping up coverage on procurement BPO). But I'll supplement my own analysis in areas that I'm not as knowledgeable as true industry experts on, including services procurement (especially the MSP side), contract management, trade/compliance, and supplier performance management. We might also opt to bring in some true supply chain planning expertise as well.

In terms of our research business, Spend Matters Compass, you can expect us to publish around 25-30 research briefs this year. We're already up to six, with another three on the burner for the coming weeks. Based on the early downloads from the first two series, I am more convinced than ever that a business model founded on 100% objective, free research with vendors who pay for downloads lists and to have their logo and description listed in the publications is a viable and high-growth model. In the coming publications, you'll see some new voices added into the Compass research mix -- experts in their respective areas.

The one new area you'll see us dip our toes in later this year are what I'll term "road shows" (events sounds too formal). We're in the early stages of planning at least a couple half-day Spend Matters Boot Camp events for later in the year that will break the mold of traditional conferences. In these, we'll focus exclusively on high-value information around commodity market trends (e.g., metals, energy, indirect services) as well as technology and solution provider landscape updates. The material will be in the trenches relative to most events, but based on the success of the commodity market updates our affiliate site MetalMiner has done, we know that senior practitioners are hungry for this level of information versus the higher level material that encompasses most conference presentations. I also know that companies are looking for no-BS expertise around where enabling technology is headed as well, and we're in as good a position as any to give it.

Aside from Compass and Boot Camp, we plan to stay the current course. We will, however, begin to showcase some of our content and ideas in new formats, including webinars with our affiliate site MetalMiner. And I'll keep contributing at the current level. After all, if I could retire today, I'd spend all my time writing and speaking on the subjects I talk about here every day anyway. It's my passion -- and not one that I want to give up any time soon.

- Jason Busch

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