The Spend Matters annual 50 Providers to Know and 50 Providers to Watch lists are determined by the entire Spend Matters analyst team to represent the best of the commercial providers that serve enterprise-level procurement organizations. The 50 to Know list comprises industry-leading proven providers and the 50 to Watch list contains often lesser-known or younger providers of which practitioners ought to be aware. Here are the guidelines we use to develop these lists of solution providers among the hundreds of firms in the marketplace:
- Firms are commercially focused primarily on the private sector even though some will certainly serve the public sector.
- Technology must be a strong competency within these firms. They can be pure technology providers as well as firms that provide managed services, market intelligence, management consulting or other related services.
- Providers must demonstrate a level of innovation and customer proof points in the market. If they are stagnating, they run the risk of dropping off the list.
- Presence in North America and/or Europe — there are many terrific organizations in other regions, but we focus our efforts on where our core readership resides.
- Direct 1-to-1 solution delivery – we do not include membership organizations, associations, professional networking/event firms or even media/research/analyst firms … where we of course have to recuse ourselves! There are many excellent organizations in these areas and we cover most of them in the Spend Matters Vendor Directory.
- Technology firms that fall within the core procurement coverage areas of Spend Matters SolutionMap evaluation methodology and platform are only included if they have stayed current with the latest RFI/requirements according to the required deadlines. Note that vendors undergo the in-depth, SolutionMap procurement technology benchmark assessment on a ‘participate-to-play’ basis (never ‘pay-to-play’) regardless of whether they are a Spend Matters client. There are also providers that declined SolutionMap participation, yet they offer good solutions and are equally worth your consideration as a selector of procurement technology and services. Both groups are listed in the Vendor Directory with hundreds of providers across multiple procurement and supply chain solution/service categories. All 100 vendors on the two lists are required to submit active customer references.
The selection process starts early in the year. Spend Matters analysts use a programmatic process to capture, evaluate and filter potential new entrants. This provides a centralized overview of each provider’s key data to supplement analyst debates about qualifications. Key data includes SolutionMap scores, market mindshare (e.g., SEO and social media relevance) and more against core company information (age, revenue, employee count, customer count, growth metrics, funding, partners, etc.).
Data collected each year acts as a starting point that enables future selection processes to become more scientific, producing an overall more trustworthy, valuable tool for organizations keeping tabs on the rapidly evolving procurement tech market. Spend Matters does not run this process as a contest where providers effectively lobby their customers to fill out nomination forms. However, we reserve the right to do reference calls beyond intelligence that we already possess.
The maintenance of this data makes it easier for us, for example, to see how these vendors can/should flow from the 50 Providers to Watch list to the 50 Providers to Know list — or even from our Future 5 list to the 50 Providers to Watch list. Further, we can establish meaningful, numerical baselines for each list, e.g., a minimum customer count or revenue by module for the 50 Providers to Know list.
Finally, analysts then quantify factors previously considered ‘soft’ via a scoring scale in a manner somewhat similar to our SolutionMap scoring process. This allows us to meaningfully track important aspects of qualifying vendors, such as the compelling nature of each solution, the solution’s ability to deliver business results, the solution’s robustness, and more. This creates more repeatability and explainability to the market and brings organizations up to speed faster on the current trends they need to know and the emerging ones they need to watch.
After the analysts nominate their individual choices based on the above selection process, we meet as a team over multiple weeks to debate which of them will unfortunately need to fall outside the 50/50 lists. Once we finalize and publish the lists, we continue to closely monitor the market for the latest developments that may impact the following year’s selection process.