Forrester’s Services Procurement Wave — Do the Means Justify the End? (Part 2)

See the previous post in this series here.

In addition to a free download offer on the Emptoris site, you can download a complimentary copy of Forrester's Wave Report on IQ Navigator's website, and see a feature about it here.

Before saying anything negative about Forrester's latest services procurement wave, I must first thank the authors for doing something that far too many industry analyst firms are loath to do -- throw the big guys (who typically pay the analyst firms the most) not only in front of the bus, but directly in the middle of the road, having aligned the crosshairs to maximize the impact. SAP, Oracle and Ariba deserve all the criticism and then some that Patrick Connaughton, the author of the report, tosses their way, for having VMS capabilities that materially lag best of breed competitors.

In my view, there's no excuse for how poorly all three have performed when it comes to delivering innovation in the services procurement (especially the VMS) arena relative to their other areas of procurement focus and investment. So thank you, Patrick, for doing this. I'm sure all the &H*$ you had to put up with from the vendors as each of the respective companies made threats to your employer may have been a bit trying, but kudos for staying objective and calling this out.

I also agree with the relative placements of IQNavigator and Fieldglass at the top of the ranking(s). However, I'm not sure if I would have put one materially in front of the other from both market presence and current offering perspectives based on my own observations from the field and talking to both procurement organizations making decisions and MSPs helping them to analyze overall fit. Still, that's a relatively minor quibble. My bigger issue with the relative placement of folks comes from how far behind Forrester ranks providers like Peopleclick Authoria, ProcureStaff Technologies and Beeline (even if Beeline is withering on the Adecco vine at the moment until someone else buys it and hopefully does the requisite CPR to bring innovation in the platform back to life). Moreover, for VMS, the ranking of Emptoris seems quite slightly high relative to our own research, at least based on VMS deals alone.

My overall concern with the relative distant placements of each of these top providers is that someone who does not know this market might look at the report and either fail to shortlist the 5-6 vendors who deserve to be evaluated and/or automatically assume that IQNavigator, who comes out on top, is more appropriate than Fieldglass or anyone else. One size does not fit all (even for VMS) based on the spending profile, global nature of a deployment, analytics and UI preference and a range of other factors. You can check out our research in this area for more details if you're curious:

Selecting Services Procurement Technology – Options, Approaches, and Philosophy

Services Spend -- Beyond Contingent Labor: Achieving And Implementing Savings Across Previously Unmanaged Categories

Making Procurement a Services Spend Ally: Tips and Tactics for Winning over Business Stakeholders and Spend Owners

The Managed Services Connection -- The Evolving Role of MSPs in Services Procurement

Check back for the final installment of this series, where we'll continue to examine how services procurement vendors stack-up in the report and some of the smart decisions Forrester made (e.g., the breaking out of non-VMS (i.e., SOW) solutions from the contingent area).

Jason Busch

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