CVM Solutions (Who??) Makes a Stir at ISM

It's not too often that I'm surprised by new entrants into the Spend Management world. Come on, my job is to figure out who and what is around the corner. So if I'm not doing that, then I've pretty much failed as a blogger. But sometimes -- more than I'd care to admit in fact -- I really do miss things. And one of these items / players that I've missed happens to go by the name of CVM Solutions, a fast growing bootstrapped upstart in the sector that is rapidly growing out of its diversity roots to becoming a much broader -- and differentiated, in many cases -- Spend Management provider.

At ISM, CVM rented out the same size booth as Ariba, Rearden, and American Express, shelling out a small fortune in the process to attract attention. And create a stir they did -- especially with those who did not know them. In fact, one sizable competitor vendor, who had previously only thought of them as a niche diversity provider, remarked that he was concerned with where these guys would be in the next twelve months relative to the rest of the market.

For those who don't know about CVM Solutions, they have been known in the past for selling focused diversity content, enrichment services and related software. Their competitors in this sector include D&B and Austin Tetra. The firm was actually formed from the merger of two closely held -- read no outside investment -- providers: DiversityQuest and CVM. Even though many of you know my opinions about diversity sourcing and reporting, I've got to hand it to these guys for nailing a market need and bootstrapping their business to a point where they've been able to fund a number of innovative new solution areas out of cash flow and serious market demand.

So where is CVM investing for the future? Among all of their new offerings, their supplier management and supplier portal tools along with their Procure to Pay Process Manager (bad name, cool product) are fascinating -- and often differentiated -- and represent some of the best workflow and structural thinking that I've seen in how to manage supplier information and associated internal / external workflow.

CVM is also dabbling in supply risk management as well. But I'd argue that like nearly all other vendors targeting the same area, that their solutions need to be further fleshed out before they're ready for substantial audience appeal as stand-alone risk solution. Perhaps CVM might might entertain working with other players such JVKellyGroup, D&B and SAS to collectively build out custom risk solutions for clients in the meantime. In my opinion, that's where the market feels largely headed for the next 12 months or so.

Stay tuned as I continue to investigate CVM more in the coming weeks and months. I've only begun to scratch the surface of what they have today and where they're headed tomorrow. If I only promise you one thing, remember this -- CVM is a name you'll be hearing a lot more of in the next 12 months. And you won't just be hearing about them in the diversity context -- or from Spend Matters. This is a vendor about to go mainstream.

Jason Busch

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