Spend Matters — What’s in Store for 2012?

As 2011 comes to an end, we've got more on our holiday plate than ever before at Spend Matters. To say it will be an interesting year ahead is a vast understatement. Starting in January and February, you'll be seeing some major changes at Spend Matters designed to take the business, site and research to a new level that we believe will be different than everything else out there -- and most of all, invaluable for readers and community members. Among the areas that will change in 2012, a number are natural enhancements and extensions of our business to date, but we're headed in some new directions as well.

Perhaps more apparent to Spend Matters readers when they arrive at our site is that it's quite cluttered and dated. For something originally built circa 2004 with only some modest Botox injections and rebranding efforts in recent years, it still stands out among the sea of sites and blogs. Yet we realize there are many, many challenges with the site. We've heard many of them already:

  • Articles/blogs scroll off the bottom of the page too quickly and if you don't tune in at least once every other day, you miss content
  • Content is poorly (really not at all) organized or tagged
  • There is no single research library, but papers scattered and accessible across the site
  • The search feature does not work well and is hidden on the site
  • Other Spend Matters content (e.g., UK/Europe, MetalMiner, HealthCare Matters) is rarely featured on the site
  • Our social media capability is limited with tie-ins to Twitter, Facebook, etc.

In our new design, which we plan to unveil later in during the first half of the year, we will to address all of these issues -- and more.

As part of our redesign, we'll take our content in new directions as well. You'll see better organization of ideas -- and how they're presented and flow between individual blogs, series blogs and research papers and briefs. We're particularly keen to offer shorter and more substantive (i.e., to the point) coverage of key news and trends, in addition to the current analysis we provide today. Perhaps most important, we'll be introducing additional premium content for our community members, but we'll save the form and shape this will take for the formal announcement next year. We also plan to get much more involved in video work as well, hopefully shooting and offering multiple video clips up each month. Much of this work will be done in tandem with sponsors and partners on the video front, so if you have an idea to work together on this front (e.g., an angle on a series), drop us a line.

One of the more exciting directions we're taking will be on the conference front. We'll be featuring two Spend Matters/MetalMiner events in the spring and the fall, providing key insights on commodity and sourcing strategies. Our events will take a very different content approach than others in the sector. There is no need to duplicate the sound efforts of Procurement Leaders, SIG, ProcureCon, etc. Rather, our two events in 2012 will get into the weeds on pragmatic, expert insights in commodity and sourcing markets including:

  • Key manufacturing category and macroeconomic outlooks (e.g., break-out forecast sessions on steel, stainless steel, aluminum, energy, base metals, rare earth metals, packaging, transportation, plastics, chemicals/ingredients, indirect materials)
  • Best technologies, tools, and strategies to manage volatile commodity spend
  • Tactical raw material sourcing strategies
  • Legislative overview of federal and state policies that will impact global sourcing organizations

As with conferences, we think there's a great opportunity to provide a level of local insight that hasn't been offered in the market yet, at least from a single, aggregate source. For this reason, 2012 will mark at least one new local-language country venture (possibly more) that we plan to launch.

The last initiative we're embarking on for 2012 involved getting back to our roots on the advisory side of the business. We'll be formally reconstituting a consulting and advisory practice for software selection, business advisory (including procurement/supply chain architecture and solution strategy as well as metals-specific commodity management, forecasting and sourcing expertise), private label authorship and vendor strategy work. I have committed to the team here that my time will be focused on the growth of the overall business and the quality of content and research on Spend Matters, so look for some announcements around who will be leading our advisory and consulting efforts a bit later. We intend to follow the same expert model that originally put our parent firm, Azul Partners, Inc., on the map as a high-growth services organization before Spend Matters took off in its own right.

Stay tuned! 2012 should prove a critical growth year for Spend Matters as we move in numerous new directions while maintaining a focus and voice. We welcome your feedback and input into what's working and not with both the current sites and offerings as well as what's coming down the pike. Please don't hesitate to drop me a line (jbusch (at) spendmatters (dot) com) if you have any suggestions. We're also looking to expand the team with the right set of players during the year and there's significant opportunity on both sides of the Atlantic.

Jason Busch

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