Have you noticed a change?
Back in 2004, when blogging was still in knee-pants, Spend Matters launched as the first blog in the procurement sector. Off-the-shelf publishing and content management system (CMS) technology as we know it today barely existed. You basically had really simple tools that powered political blogs and extremely complex (and expensive) tools that powered newspapers and media sites – and a diverse set of custom development and untried code tossed in for good measure at all levels and sophistication. Open source technology like WordPress and MySQL was still in its infancy and not yet ready for prime time – and at the corporate level, un-tested. As a result, Spend Matters was hand crafted on the bones of BlogCFC, written by Raymond Camden, and it’s given us a great eight-year run.
Yet Spend Matters has grown. We have added sister sites - Spend Matters PRO, MetalMiner, Spend Matters UK/Europe, and Healthcare Matters. As we worked to launch and upgrade each property, it became clear we needed to unify our back-end platform and increase our publishing flexibility. Our new CTO worked with us on the decision, and we finally selected a technology that will enable us to improve our ability to deliver content to our readers. Our new platform is free and open source-based with a plug-in architecture and a robust template system. We aren’t just a desperate group of blogs anymore; we are unified network of sites on a leading platform for publishing!
Over the weekend, we migrated Spend Matters off of the legacy environment and onto our new platform, something easier said than done given the massive archive (8 years and 7 thousand+ posts) and all of the custom development associated with it (yes, all of our old links will continue to work – if you find one that doesn’t, let us know). We’ve also consolidated our major sites aside from MetalMiner onto a single back-end which lets us do a lot of cool new things, including the new Spend Matters Network site (but more details on that later).
Granted, while we’re not yet at the level of major online publishers with true user customization yet, I don't think we’re that far off. Moreover, this will enable a streamlined process and design for the launch of new sites as well, especially as we consider new geographies and local languages (stay tuned for our first local language and local content European site in the next week or two).
Beyond customization, what’s next for Spend Matters from a technical and programming perspective? We’d like to tackle better integration of PRO content with our regular sites for premium subscribers, making the experience between the two more seamless. There’s also quite a bit we could do with the mobile side of things as well. In fact, over 13% of Spend Matters traffic today comes from mobile browsers. This is a huge number given how poorly the legacy site rendered in iOS, Android and other smartphone and tablet environments and browsers.
It’s an exciting time at Spend Matters. We’ve finally matured into a publisher of multiple sites, research and data services. And while our new CMS platform may not look that much different for most readers (beyond a significantly simplification of design), it’s a huge step forward for us, ideally one which will serve us for the next decade and beyond as we continue to redefine publishing and analysis for procurement and related sectors, industries and markets.
Thanks for reading,
Jason Busch, Scott Slone, and Sheena Moore