How to Buy Procurement Research & Advisory Services

Procurement organizations, especially CPOs, are barraged daily by membership/subscription-based services that offer them research, advisory (i.e., non-project based consultation), peer networking, events, tools, benchmarks, etc.  The firms include firms such as Procurement Strategy Council (part of CEB), The Hackett Group, The Center for Advanced Purchasing Studies (CAPS Research), the Executive Procurement Network from CIPS (Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply), Sourcing Interests Group (SIG), Procurement Leaders Network, and specialist firms by function (e.g., IT firms like Gartner/Forrester), by topic (e.g., HfS Research in BPO or IACCM in contract management), by industry (e.g., The Advisory Board in Healthcare), by service (e.g., events only, peer networking only) – the list goes on.

It’s a dizzying array of choices in the face of extremely limited budgets, and personally, I’ve never seen anything written on it beyond ‘Analyzing the Analysts’ or “Benchmarking the benchmarkers” type stuff that misses many of the firms. So, what to do? Fill the void – that’s what!

Since I led procurement research at two different firms with different purposes in life (AMR Research in early 2000s and Hackett Group in late 2000s), and I've discussed the issue with hundreds of senior procurement executives at large organizations, I figured it would be a good idea to help out the procurement industry begin to sort it all out.

So, I just published a two-part research perspective on Spend Matters PRO:

I classified the various options into five major categories, and then offered over 20 specific recommendations (including a dozen key questions to ask them) to help get more value based on exactly what you're looking for. Most of the recommendations are based on foundational sourcing and supplier management practices, but others are more nuanced and unique to this ‘composite market’.

We do plan to write more detailed evaluation comparisons, similar to what we’re doing in the procurement applications areas, but for now, I know these recommendations will help add value*.  Although these pieces are only available on Spend Matters PRO, if you want to discuss the topic, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

*By the way, if you view Spend Matters as a form of IT industry analyst firm in addition to a top procurement blog and media outlet, it’s understandable -- based on our expertise and past individual roles. But although we might compete for limited budgets with providers and increasingly with practitioners, do note that we are a content firm (that is building a business through selling subscriptions rather than "access" or "membership"). We have no intentions of following the lock-step analyst march and becoming a research-based advisory business. Been there. Done that.

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