Tidbits and Lessons Learned from the 50 to Watch and 50 to Know Lists for 2018

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Spend Matters has released the 50 Providers to Know and 50 Providers to Watch for 2018, and there are plenty of interesting tidbits to draw from this year’s lists. From Accenture to Zycus, the 50/50 lists represent the procurement providers and solutions procurement organizations should be aware of, whether they’re making a tech selection or simply want to understand the playing field.

The lists themselves are independently selected based on merit by the Spend Matters analyst team. They learn about providers form various sources: conversations with practitioners, input from conferences, visiting provider websites, briefings with the vendors themselves and even chats with the competition.

The Watch and Know lists should be looked at separately, and there’s much debate that goes into each list. While the Know list features the rock-solid major industry players, the Watch list tends to generate more excitement, as it taps into the latest and most innovative industry trends.

This year features arguably the most diverse group of companies ever on the Know list. Many different solutions, services and markets are represented:

  • Contractor management and onboarding is well-represented (e.g. ,Achilles and Avetta)
  • Services procurement remains innovative (e.g., Beeline and Fieldglass, included under SAP)
  • Trade financing has seen slower market movement recently, but companies like C2FO and Taulia still warrant inclusion
  • Risk Management is still front and center in 2018 and shows no signs of fading away. Resilinc, riskmethods, D&B, RapidRatings and similar risk management platforms mitigate risk in ever-changing ways
  • The importance of strategy and operations is evidenced by the continued 50 to Know presence of A.T. Kearney and McKinsey
  • Other major players whose names transcend procurement specialize in different areas — Accenture in BPO, Deloitte in tech management consulting, KPMG in transformation and PwC in direct materials
  • Some companies on the list are hybrids, like Insight Sourcing Group (ISG), and some truly cover the entire spectrum, like GEP
  • Omnia Partners holds a unique role as a holding company for GPOs
  • Others are new players or remain somewhat unknown, but each deserves to be recognized. See Amazon Business, Sievo, Proxima and more

The Watch list for 2018, as in previous years, is the Wild West. It contains many big names, but some are cross functional, and they may not necessarily lie within procurement:

  • We’ve heard that some use the 50 to Watch as a hunting list for M&A. These are the providers making moves and drawing interest from the big boys. For example, Sovos acquired another 50 to Watch company, TrustWeaver, after our list had been finalized and just days before the release
  • If you’re part of a larger organization, you may not necessarily make the list. Also, not as many category- or region-specific providers are represented
  • There were fewer honorees in the services procurement area than in years past, but the area is still well represented by Globality, Catalant, Bugcrowd and more
  • AI is becoming a familiar theme, and startups like Dhatim and LevaData are turning heads
  • Some providers don’t belong in a category or set their own. While one might file SirionLabs under contract management, the provider is really about managing complex relationships post-signature

To see complete listings for these and other solution providers, check out the Spend Matters Almanac.

One last note about the 50 to Watch and Know: These lists wouldn’t be possible without the input of our partners and especially our readership. The final spot on the 50 to Watch list remains open — and we need your input. Click here to vote on our final provider to be recognized.

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