The Shifting Market for Procurement Market Intelligence – A Quick Segmentation

category management

While we tend to segment, profile and analyze procurement solution areas more frequently, the market for procurement market intelligence – including data, content and platforms – is evolving just as rapidly. However, we find that most procurement organizations generally know much less about their options in this area than technology.

In the coming months on Spend Matters PRO, we’ll attempt to segment and analyze the market for procurement market intelligence providers in more detail. (See past coverage here and here.) But in an attempt to jump-start conversation on the topic, I thought I’d share below an informal – and admittedly incomplete – segmentation of different types of providers in the market.

Note, this is not a mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive list or segmentation by design. Moreover, as I think about procurement market intelligence, I do not think of basic data enrichment services one might use for spend analysis as part of this category. This caveat aside, here are some thoughts on looking at procurement market intelligence market segments.

The sector certainly includes:

  • Data and market report aggregators such as Mintec, LexisNexis or IBISWorld
  • Commodity, news, analysis and data providers such as IHS or Thomson Reuters, which can also offer technology platforms
  • Broad-based, report-driven market intelligence from consulting providers such as Denali or A.T. Kearney, business process outsourcing/tech hybrids like GEP or even media and networking firms like Procurement Leaders, even though much of it is sub-contracted.  Accenture has a ton of market intelligence, but you’ll basically only get it if you outsource your procurement department to them.
  • In-depth analyses of functionally-related technologies and services. IT industry analysts, such as Forrester, Gartner and IDC, are one-stop tech analysis shops for the CIO.  Groups like ISG, TPI and HfS Research focus on outsourcing providers. Here at Spend Matters PRO, we focus on all solutions that procurement groups purchase and how to best use them. This is very much an à la carte menu.
  • Market intelligence in a box – offshore category researchers or full-time equivalents (FTEs) for hire, which combine elements of shared services across clients, standard reports and even technology. Beroe and The Smart Cube are best known here.
  • Forecasting and expert category analysis. These providers include The Smart Cube in cross-category forecasting, MetalMiner in metals and numerous others.
  • And, of course, don’t forget Google. We’ve written before about some techniques and tips to use Google for a freemium supply market intelligence solution. (The premium part is the time you spend hunched over a keyboard.) There is another guest post here that’s also worth checking out on this broader topic.

This list is, of course, incomplete, and the lists of providers are not even remotely exhaustive. Please contact us if you are looking for something, and we’ll likely be able to help you find the best sources of intelligence out there. And we’d love to get your thoughts if you think we’re missing major players.

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