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Spend Matters SolutionMap — Explanation of weightings by market persona: Special

06/02/2022 By

With the release of the Fall 2021 SolutionMap, Spend Matters unveiled its new “market personas” methodology, which replaced “buying personas” to better improve the accessibility and clarity of the maps. For more on the philosophy behind switching to market personas, read our full announcement here.

Each persona includes default requirement-level weightings set by Spend Matters analysts, who assess the relevance of all 500+ functionality requirements to the given persona and module. In each market persona, additional weighting adjustments are applied to the overall module and to customer reference responses to further emphasize points of relevance for each market segment.

For the sake of transparency and clarity, we are releasing further details on how the market personas differ from a weighting standpoint to represent unique buying scenarios. We will divulge this with four Spend Matters articles; the first reviews the SME persona, followed by the Mid, Large and Special (SOW, Direct, Risk and Optimization) personas.

The Spend Matters Special market persona includes four special personas that do not fit into Large, Mid or SME categories. Each persona is specific to one module:

  • Statement of Work (SOW): Specific to our VMS module, Statement of Work solutions are designed to manage the sourcing of contracted support and services procurement.
  • Direct: Specific to our Sourcing module, direct solutions are designed for the upstream of supply chain processes, specifically direct materials sourcing and quality.
  • Risk: Specific to our supplier management (SXM) module, risk solutions are designed for third-party supplier risk mitigation, compliance and governance.
  • Optimization: Specific to our sourcing module, this persona pertains to solutions that enable strategic supply change management and spend.

Special subcategory weightings by persona and module

We emphasize the following subcategories in the Special persona weightings by module and persona:

Statement of Work (SOW):

  • Vendor management services (VMS): For a SOW persona solution’s core platform, we emphasize data management and general services, while de-emphasizing personalization and project management. For module-specific subcategories, we give most significance to VMS financial management and staffing management, as supplier support and invoice processes, as well as candidate submittals management, are integral parts of a SOW persona solution. We place least significance on SOW financial management, as solution management for payment requests is not a heavily sought-after functionality of a SOW sourcing solution.


  • Sourcing: For a Direct persona solution’s core platform, we give most significance to core underlying technology and standards & integrations. We give lowest core platform emphases to metric management and project management. For the solution’s module-specific subcategories, we emphasize direct integrations, RFX modeling & creation, and bill of materials (BOM), as BOM integration with sourcing, and support for RFX creation and automation are essential functionalities of a Direct persona solution. We least emphasize module-specific subcategories such as sourcing services and contract/negotiation support, because these are nice-to-have features, but not key functionalities.


  • Supplier management (SXM): For a Risk persona solution, we most emphasize subcategories such as core underlying technology and data management, while de-emphasizing personalization and project management. For module-specific subcategories, we give most relevance to supplier risk monitoring and supplier performance management, because customers look for applications with complex support for supplier risk modeling, monitoring and mutation, as well as supplier performance metrics and ratings. We de-emphasize SXM module-specific subcategories such as SXM knowledge management and issue/dispute management, as support for risk management issue resolution and SXM best practices are optional features of a Risk persona tool.


  • Sourcing: For an Optimization persona solution’s core platform, we most emphasize core underlying technology and RFX modeling & creation subcategories, while least emphasizing project management. For the persona’s module-specific subcategories, we emphasize optimization core and optimization constraint support, as sophisticated constraint analysis and foundations and modeling are essential features of an Optimization persona tool. We least emphasize module-specific subcategories such as  supplier discovery and intelligence and contracting negotiations support.

Special persona-level modifier weightings

In addition to subcategory weightings, Spend Matters also uses modifiers that vary by market persona in order to account for factors such as price, geography and value beyond technology to better account for the needs of particular markets. Each persona also receives an overall weighting emphasis, meaning persona-level modifiers are applied more heavily (or not) based on the market use case.

Each of the four special personas is linked to one module each, and the persona-level modifier weights vary depending on the specific functionalities essential to each persona:

  • The Statement of Work (SOW) persona places most emphasis on geography and value beyond technology (VBT), while de-emphasizing price. This is because contracted services management should be done on a global level, and customers are looking for support services value.
  • For Direct persona solutions, price is weighted heavily, as customers are looking for cost-effective ways to manage direct materials sourcing. Geography has little relevance, and VBT has almost no modifying weight, as it is not relevant for direct sourcing solutions.
  • The Risk persona places emphasis on geography, due to a risk management solution’s focus on global-level compliance while de-emphasizing VBT and price modifiers.
  • Finally, the Optimization persona places most emphasis on price out of all four Special personas, while placing no emphasis on VBT or geography. This is because customers are seeking cost-effective optimization solutions that will improve their spend management. VBT and geography are not relevant factors for Optimization solutions.

Unlike the other three Spend Matters personas, we do not place weights on customer response questions for Special personas.