Friday Rant: Spend Matters and the Emerging Need for a New Research Voice

As we hinted at earlier in the week, Spend Matters is about to undergo a major evolution. With the introduction of an entirely new tier of research and content for premium members, subscribers to our new service will be informed about the market in a way that simply does not exist today.

In scanning the coverage of technology, tools, solutions, market developments and latest thinking in our field, we believe that practitioners are looking for something new. Moreover, solution providers, some of which still believe they need to pay blood money to analysts to cover them -- which is not a fair assertion, we believe -- are lacking the type of real-time opinion and insight that such services could be providing, but rarely do, given the wide breadth that analyst coverage spans and the only occasional depth of published insight (e.g., yearly reports or rankings vs. daily articles and weekly research reports). Moreover, traditional analysts have focused teams in this sector -- 1, 2 or 3 experts in most cases.

In other words, we see a great opportunity to not copy what's been done before, but to be different, and to go past just technology and solutions in providing this type of expert research and coverage. Right now, our team consists of seven full-time experts on the research and coverage side (we're twelve people full-time in the overall business with a number of other contributors across our efforts). And we plan to add to this group. Collectively, we believe we can take the coverage of the broader procurement markets we examine to an entirely new level. And we've got a head start over others given the collective size and expertise of the existing team.

When it comes to technology, solutions and the general procurement climate, the new Spend Matters will take an expert perspective, informed not only by the diverse backgrounds of our team, but also the decades of insight from a former CPO, Peter Smith, who will be leading the research charge with me for our new offering. While our subscription-based service will undoubtedly appeal to providers in the procurement sector in a way that meets currently unmet needs, we are centering on practitioners as a core focus for the value of our content. For practitioners, our value proposition is straightforward:

Keep up to date – Rapidly and clearly communicated news about tools and technology, economic and market developments, so you can keep ahead of competitors, and demonstrate internally in your organization that as a leading-edge practitioner in our field you know and understand what you should.

Real insight – Into technology, tools, etc, so you can choose the right systems, tools and providers to help you achieve your goals. Understand technologies in your own three dimensional environment, not as they appear on a flat comparative matrix.

Depth – In the areas of technology and economic/category research, the majority of analyst analysis may be good for companies wanting to create a high-level shortlist of priorities or providers, but nearly all of it fails to dig into the level of detail, nuance and frequency necessary to provide a real-time view into the market.

A focus and prioritized view – The key stuff you need to know, filtered out from the rubbish and "noise" of the modern connected world. Not just in terms of technology, but latest thinking, new research – we help you keep up without spending all your time reading papers, press releases, supplier literature, etc. A filter on what matters. Our goal is to teach you to fish, not give you the fish.

Progress at your pace – Buddhists believe in turning inward. We're not as self-aware and believe looking externally for at least some validation (or at least direction). We will provide maturity scales to help you scale your efforts in key technology, process and competency throughout procurement, becoming more aware of yourself and what is possible. You need to get there on your own and you might even need your own trail guide (e.g., benchmarking firms, expert advisors, consultants) but the included maturity scale compass that comes with our premium content rucksack is an invaluable tool both to get started and to find your way if you're lost.

Independent and aligned viewpoint – We are the most independent source in the procurement world. Some leading procurement publications won't feature anything they perceive as coming from "competitors" -- we are genuinely neutral and independent. We are aligned to your needs and on your side. Our only test is whether this topic or content is useful and interesting to our subscribers / members and whether we should prioritize it as such. You don't have to worry about whether you're being fed a particular "angle" on the topic or whether there is something we're not telling you because we don't like the source of it.

Expert opinion – we are not afraid to express opinions, which we do fearlessly and honestly even if it upsets people. We have lost sponsors because of this stance. Whether you agree with us or not, you will get definite opinion in our premium research – not just facts, or even worse, advertising material, passed on to you.

Stay tuned as we share next week what the components of the offering will look like for providers in the market (e.g., technology vendors, services firms, BPOs, data providers, etc.) -- which we believe will also benefit immensely from our new entry into the subscription research business.

- Jason Busch

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