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Technology analyst Magnus Bergfors joins Spend Matters’ team from Gartner

11/11/2019 By

Noted technology analyst Magnus Bergfors joins Spend Matters today after several years at Gartner, bringing a deep background in strategic sourcing, procure-to-pay and other procurement software categories.

“I’m thrilled that Magnus will be joining us,” said Jason Busch, the founder of Spend Matters, whose analysts provide solution intelligence on procurement technology. “Not only is he deeply in touch with the needs of procurement organizations, Magnus will bring a global perspective on technology analysis, selection and best-practices to our audience in North America, Europe and around the world.”

Magnus lives in Sweden and will increase Spend Matters’ coverage of the industry in Europe.

“I’m incredibly excited to join the Spend Matters team,” he said. “The balance of Spend Matters being large enough to have a critical mass of resources and world-leading expertise combined with the agility of a smaller organization allows for some really exciting opportunities for innovative research and to help our clients make the right choices.”

“I’m also looking forward to being able to work more closely with the vendors in this space to understand their solutions, visions and roadmaps even better,” he said.

As part of his role, Magnus will author subscription PRO research briefs about vendors, technology developments and trends, while also supporting the geographic-specific Spend Matters Europe site. He will also become a member of the core analyst team evaluating solution providers for SolutionMap, which ranks vendors according to the capabilities of their software offerings and what their customers say. SolutionMap ranks competitors in 12 procurement categories, like Procure-to-Pay, Invoice-to-Pay, Source-to-Pay, CLM, SRM and three areas of contingent workforce technology.

For procurement and finance organizations, Magnus suggests that the best decisions about tech selection often start with looking in the mirror.

“I think the key issue for a procurement department is to identify its key needs and business objectives,” Magnus said. “Too many organizations are looking for tools and automation without first understanding their needs and how they can go about achieving the objectives. If you don’t know what’s happening, there is no tool in the world that can help you.”

In a Q&A below, Magnus shares more views about the future of the procurement software market, but it’s also important for readers to know how his career led him to Spend Matters.

Since 2012, he worked at Gartner and mostly recently held the title of senior director, analyst procurement and strategic sourcing applications. Before that he was head of systems at Effective Sourcing and also worked for Scandinavian Airlines and SAAB.

Spend Matters Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell knew that this type of background was vital to Spend Matters’ mission.

“When we began our search for the ‘perfect analyst,’ ” Pierre said, “our wish list was long: a global practitioner from leading organizations, with broad and deep domain expertise in procurement technology and best practices, and combined with knowledge of the provider ecosystem and also a history of advising supply practitioners on digitally enabled transformation.”

“It’s hard to overstate how excited I am for us and our clients to have Magnus come aboard as a senior leader on our world-class analyst team,” Pierre said.

Q&A with Magnus Bergfors

Spend Matters: How did you get into evaluating procurement technology?

Magnus: I started working in procurement in the early 2000s, and being lazy by nature, I started looking for ways to make my work easier. And this was at the time when e-sourcing solutions were starting to have an impact on the market. I soon found an opportunity to work in the e-sourcing field as an implementation consultant at IBX (today part of Tradeshift) who at that time had a partnership with Emptoris.

A few years after that I started working at a major Scandinavian airline as an e-sourcing manager. My responsibilities grew and I soon found myself in charge of finding and implementing a spend analysis tool and also replacing our existing e-sourcing solution (I also took over the responsibility of implementing our catalog management solution).

During this whole time I followed the various procurement blogs (Spend Matters being one of the key ones) and I haven’t stopped since …

How do procurement departments go about doing a tech selection and deciding which vendor among so many to spend their business’ money on? From your perspective, what role does SolutionMap play in that process?

Businesses need to review (and probably redesign) the way you work as part of the implementation. I saw a quote from someone that said something like, “If you digitalize a crappy process you get a crappy digital process” … and this is really true.

Unfortunately the vendor marketing here doesn’t help. The big vendors are (for obvious reasons) pushing their whole suites, and very few organizations have the resources and change management capabilities to implement a full suite at once.

So going back to your question: Identify the key areas, start there and implement carefully. Build on this success to expand the program. Even if the end goal is a full S2P suite, it needs to be implemented step by step and continuously adjusted and improved.

As for what solution, this is where SolutionMap comes in: The ability to focus in on the specific module you need and look at it from a persona perspective is incredibly powerful. Other analyst ratings don’t get into that level of detail and often includes parameters that have little to do with the actual functionality.

What does the Spend Matters’ audience need to know about the Europe market and your perspective from there?

There is a wealth of really interesting and innovative European vendors that I’m excited to explore. I think the issue for the European vendors is often to get visibility and be noticed on the global market. One of the biggest misconceptions about Europe is that it’s one market. It’s not, it’s a lot of smaller markets, and there are vendors that are doing great in their home markets but struggling to grow outside their home markets.

U.S. vendors have an advantage in the fact that their home market is much bigger than the individual local European markets. On top of this I’ve noticed that European vendors often are more engineering-focused while their U.S.-based colleagues often are more marketing and sales focused.