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Category Analytics and Intelligence Providers: Defining and Exploring a Nascent Market for Procurement Solutions (Part 2 — Direct Materials, Indirect Materials and Cross-Category Specialists)

Accurate intelligence and benchmarks on goods and services are essential to effective sourcing, yet few procurement organizations have comprehensive coverage for all data sources across all categories that they manage. So to help practitioners get a better lay of the category intelligence and analytics landscape, Spend Matters has begun a market scan of technology, data/benchmarking and cost-modeling providers that deliver “category analytics and intelligence” to procurement and other functions.

Increasingly, we believe these solutions will replace Excel as the sourcing operating system for a broad range of strategic categories. And while few firms in the nascent mega market are perfectly alike, our initial findings have convinced us that category analytics and intelligence could become one of the most important provider markets for procurement to deliver best-in-class — or better — performance in the 2020s.

This Spend Matters PRO brief provides an introduction to the category analytics and category intelligence market and an overview of select providers by category. Part 1 of this series defined what exactly the market consists of, potential ways to segment it, and a basic framework for comparing vendors within and across sectors. This installment (Part 2) explores the characteristics, relative maturity and competitive dynamics of providers in the direct materials, indirect materials and cross-category specialist sectors that offer a combination of direct and indirect materials coverage. Parts 3 and 4 will cover labor and services, transportation, IT, marketing and should-cost solutions.

Category-specific providers mentioned in this brief include these: Beroe, Fastmarkets, GEP, ICIS, IHS, Infomine, ION Group, ISG, LeaseAccelerator, MetalMiner, Mintec Global, The Plastics Exchange, The Smart Cube, RTI Global, Logicsource, SourceOne (Corcentric), SDI and ThomasNet.

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