Friday Rant: When the Amateurs Go Pro

Four weeks ago, we quietly launched Spend Matters PRO, which in part is Spend Matters' answer to publishing a level of analyst research that has not previously existed in procurement. Granted, PRO is much more than that -- it's the keen opinions and insights of a number of individual experts rather than the collective voice of an IT-centric analyst monolith, cross-dressing in business suits for kicks (and dollars). So far, I think we're doing a decent, if not good, job at achieving our internal mission statement's primary goal of besting, by an order of magnitude in quantity, quality and depth, what larger name firms have published since we launched. Having an adversary in mind has helped -- in our case, bad procurement research that does not inform and most importantly, is not invaluable and essential for practitioners and providers in their everyday jobs. Keeping that target in our sites has been critical. Yet we've had a number of missteps so far in launching PRO. In fact, lots of 'em.

Fortunately, one of the great things about being a nimble company is being able to adjust and pivot quickly. For one, we changed our model to allow for instant company access (to anyone) without requiring that folks interact with our team on a one-to-one basis -- unless they want to. Second, we also began to give potential subscribers a feel for what is "behind the pay wall" in the premium content area. This has no doubt contributed to a number of new subscribers who were previously scratching their heads about the available content. There's more to come in this regard -- videos, sample content, etc. So stay tuned. There are also many other small course corrections we're making every day in the delivery model for PRO licensing and the user sign-up experience, though not the content.

We've nailed that piece, at least we believe we have. Yet in launching the site for the first time -- in part because this is our first foray into a research/subscription model for content and analysis -- I feel like I've personally made mistake after mistake in leading our team charge in how we position, package and deliver what I believe is something that ought to have become ubiquitous immediately. However, by quickly realizing we were playing in the minors and then making the metaphorical adjustment to our batting stance, we're now starting to get on base with each swing – or nearly so. Indeed, we've finally gone PRO, with the input of a great team -- Peter Smith, Thomas Kase, Sheena Moore, Lisa Reisman, Bill Busch and many others. And the rest, we hope, will be history.

I'll close out this Friday with a big thank-you to all those who have supported us and provided invaluable feedback in our PRO launch -- and to working with exceptional colleagues to pull it off. It's amazing with such a group of employees, partners, friends, clients and advisers how much creative feedback one can quickly get and the speed with which it can be incorporated. And last, even though he hides behind the headlines, the real allstar of PRO so far has been our webmaster and CTO, code-name Rubbergumball (he does not like the headlines). Without you, gobstopper from purgatory, this site would not be here. Thank you!

- Jason Busch

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