As we continue on with covering companies on our Spend Matters 50/50 list (see Providers to Know and Providers to Watch), we come to IHS, or what we might term the first “market intelligence” company in our coverage. If you’ve not heard of IHS, we suspect you’re not in a business that would consume their commodity and economic forecasts or use their manufacturing and engineering specific information through the IHS GlobalSpec search tool, which enables users to pinpoint specific industrial and related parts, suppliers, and supplier capabilities.
Yet IHS is still more of an acquisition led conglomerate (it has made over 30 acquisitions alone since 2010) than an integrated market intelligence and solutions provider. It positions itself in the Analytics & Market Intelligence, Cost Management and Sourcing & Supplier Management categories in the Spend Matters Almanac. Still, from our perspective in the procurement marketplace, where IHS stands out is commodity and economic forecasting. Here, IHS describes itself in its Almanac entry as delivering “timely, accurate price and cost analysis including ten-year forecasts and historical records for thousands of commodity prices and wages around the globe.”
As anyone who has run statistical regressions or technical analysis knows, take any 10-year forecast with a grain of salt! It’s all but impossible to issue predictions accurately and consistently more than a few months out, let alone years. But for more standard forecasting efforts, IHS is at the top of our list of providers that have broad commodity coverage. Moreover, IHS wraps its forecasting services in software that allows users to break down elements of cost by commodity, region, and other variables. Their coverage is broad and includes labor, grains, agricultural commodities, biofuels, energy, oil, chemicals/plastics, building materials, and ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
Ultimately, we suspect IHS will graduate to our “Ones to Know” list as a permanent procurement fixture (e.g., when they integrate various acquisitions, such as the GlobalSpec building materials capability with forecasting to provide a single source for industry-based cost modeling, forecasting, supplier/part search and broad-based analytics). But until then, IHS will remain one of the larger and more unique vendors on our 2014 Spend Matters 50/50 Provider To Watch.