Spend Matters 50 to Watch/50 to Know Vendor Selection Methodology

The Spend Matters® annual 50 Providers to Know and 50 Providers to Watch lists are determined by the entire Spend Matters analyst team to represent the best of the commercial providers that serve enterprise-level procurement organizations. The 50 to Know list comprises industry-leading proven providers and the 50 to Watch list contains often lesser known providers of which practitioners ought to be aware. Developing this list is not an exact science, but here are the guidelines we use to develop these lists of providers amongst the hundreds of firms in the marketplace:

  • Firms are commercially focused primarily on the private sector even though some firms will certainly serve the public sector.
  • Technology must be a strong competency within these firms. They can be pure technology providers as well as firms that provide managed services, market intelligence, management consulting, or other related services.
  • Providers must demonstrate a level of innovation and customer proof points in the market. If they are stagnating, they run the risk of dropping off the list.
  • Presence in North America and/or Europe — there are many terrific organizations in other regions, but we focus our efforts on where our core readership resides.
  • Direct 1-to-1 solution delivery – we don’t include membership organizations, associations, professional networking/event firms, and even media/research/analyst firms... where we of course have to recuse ourselves! There are many terrific organizations in these areas and we cover most of them in the Almanac, the Spend Matters procurement provider directory.
  • We do not include brand new startups with only a few employees and customers who are piloting some “minimum viable products”. We track over a dozen of them right now and are working on highlighting them in the near future.
  • Technology firms that fall within the core procurement coverage areas of the Spend Matters SolutionMap evaluation methodology and platform are only included if they have stayed current with the latest RFI/requirements according to the required deadlines (in this case, for Q2 2019). Note that vendors undergo the in-depth, SolutionMap procurement technology benchmark assessment on a ‘participate-to-play’ basis (never ‘pay-to-play’) regardless if they are a Spend Matters client or not. Of note, there are a handful of providers which missed the latest submission deadlines, but will be providing updates in the near future and will be considered for the 50/50 again for 2020. There are also providers who declined SolutionMap participation, yet they offer good solutions and are worth your consideration as well. Both groups are listed in the broader Almanac directory along with hundreds of providers across multiple procurement and supply chain solution/service categories.

The selection process starts early in the year. Vendors looking to be considered should create their own listing in the Spend Matters Almanac if one does not already exist and should participate in SolutionMap if they fall within a core coverage area within it.

From a methodology perspective, first, the analysts review last year’s lists and determine which providers no longer meet the criteria as listed above. Then we add in the providers who have made an impact (or resurgence) in the market. Spend Matters does not run this process as a contest where providers effectively lobby their customers to fill out nomination forms. However, we reserve the right to do reference calls beyond intelligence that we already possess.

After the analysts nominate their individual picks, we meet as a team over multiple weeks and meetings for strong debates on which of our picks will unfortunately need to fall outside the 50/50 lists. We then finalize the lists and announce this year’s winners at the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) annual conference in addition to the formal announcement on Spend Matters.