The democratisation of procurement thought leadership (part 1)

Jason Busch (Spend Matters US) has written a couple of posts recently around the growth in the number of sources of information and ideas in the procurement world.  While he and I still get much of our source material –news, opinion and ideas – from conversations with people in the procurement world, practitioners or providers, he points out that today there are many relatively new and very useful sources.

In his first article, he notes that more and more procurement thinking and intellectual property is coming from columns and papers by practitioners, consultants and vendors in what he calls the “content ecosystem in the form of blog posts, reports, articles, whitepapers, podcasts and even video”. And  LinkedIn and Twitter often play a role in highlighting and signposting these stories. (That’s the most useful aspect of Twitter for me, the way it points me towards useful and interesting material).

Is this a good thing? Yes, of course, says Jason.

This democratization of ideas in procurement and supply chain -- both in the content itself and how we're learning about it -- is truly marvellous stuff. It's the vision of YouTube, applied to broader content-based thought leadership in our sector!

All this means that it’s those most actively engaged with procurement activities – practitioners and consultants who work closely with them – who are shaping the agenda in terms of thought leadership. But there are “losers” as well as winners in this changing picture.

As participants in the ecosystem rise up to share their knowledge and drive the thought leadership agenda in the market, we argue that it's the traditional sources of influence that have become less and less important in shaping the conversational agenda. Industry analysts, while still playing a role in covering technology and influencing short-list decisions in certain cases, simply don't have the same following as they did among larger companies a decade ago and before. Granted, they matter. But their voices and what they choose to focus on in their coverage are just one part of the orchestral symphony bringing new ideas to the world of procurement and supply chain.

Indeed, I find the problem now is keeping up with what is available. You just can’t read every interesting bit of material that is around these days. Filtering is a real challenge.

Do read his whole post here; in part two of his series, he writes about how vendors can best contribute to the thought leadership debate; we’ll add our comments to that piece later this week.

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