Spend Matters gets stroppy; and procurement savings claims annoy me

Jason Busch at Spend Matters has been causing waves by making some pretty direct criticisms of Gartner Group and a key individual there.  He's blogged today about his intent to be a controversial commentator; good luck to him.   F*****  go for it Jason my son (as they say in all the best football stands...)!

In terms of his Gartner comments, I shared an office for some years with a firm that was at the time a major competitor of Gartner's.  I played softball with their people and even went to their Xmas party.   I got to know the modus operandi pretty well.  My take on that type of analyst firm (or at least the one I knew)  could be simply expressed as;

1. They employed in general really bright people. Some were very good at softball.

2. Some understood the industry / products / sector they were writing about very well.  Others didn't - and it was then up to their brilliant Editor to turn their ramblings into something that had client value.

3. They had a fanatical focus on revenue; and were brilliant at taking sometimes relatively small bits of real hard information, data or knowledge and packaging it up in many different ways, formats, media to maximise revenue!  Reports, email alerts, workshops, conferences, white papers, etc etc.

So, as well as really getting inside how much understanding a particular analyst really has (as opposed to just a great editor), I would also always ask the question of any analyst; do you have any conflicts of interests here?  What is your model for getting revenue from the supply side (just as you should ask that of consultants, blogs and similar as well before you take their  advice).

Anyway, Jason has today boldly stated his intent to keep on being controversial.  Should I do the same?  I don't know.  Actually, my strop might be aimed more at all those press releases and articles about how company X has saved £23 trillion by 'better procurement'.  I may start a campaign to push for compulsory disclosure of savings methodologies wherever such claims are made.  We must be about the only profession that gets away with this actually, others produce evidence - engineers actually build things, sales people make sales, even marketing people can point to market share, new products getting wide distribution.  Accountants show that the numbers add up!  We (or some at least) claim savings with no public evidence....

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