One reason we decided to create the Spend Matters 50 Providers to Know and 50 Providers to Watch was to call attention to specialized (and often small) procurement technology and services providers that procurement organizations should know about, but likely do not. Yet a strange thing happened in the past 12 months: Innovation was found (and lost) among larger providers, many with long established brands and track records in the market.
Without giving away the list just yet, here are three observations that came from looking at who made the cut (and who did not):
- David and Goliath join forces — Teeny David may have defeated the colossal Goliath, but increasingly even leviathans have Davids on their team. Some of the most conservative organizations that have served the procurement marketplace in the past are driving innovation in new ways and creating disruptive models from within. We promise some surprises here as we explain and defend our list.
- The Rise of Managed Services — The era of procurement managed services providers — from those providers that manage specialized categories and tail spend to those that offer specialized solutions that take the burden away from onboarding and managing supplier compliance — is here. If you think that procurement organizations simply want to work with existing suppliers in established models (e.g., buying or renting technology, consuming services or engaging in procurement business process outsourcing (BPO) models), guess again. Managed services providers, which blur the lines between delivering capabilities, technologies, services, compliance, specialized expertise and even outcomes, are changing the procurement provider landscape at all levels.
- The Disappoint of Content Providers — Supplier content and market intelligence is becoming increasingly important to procurement organizations staying on top of supply markets, enriching supplier records and managing supply risk. Yet some of the oldest names in the sector (and some that made our list in the past) are underinvesting in products and innovation, riding old coattails and milking legacy models. A surprisingly few number of these providers made the cut this year, and we eliminated a number from our 2015 list.
We’re super excited to share 2016 Spend Matters 50/50 list with our readers and the ISM community next week at ISM2016. Join us next week as we publish the 50 to Know and 50 to Watch lists.