The democratisation of procurement thought leadership – part 2

We commented yesterday on part 1 of Jason Busch’s series for Spend Matters US, covering the growing ecosystem of procurement thought leadership.

In his second post on the topic, he looks at how well solution and technology providers are doing as “purveyors and disseminators of insight...”

In the past month, for example, I've read or re-read a number of really informative articles and columns by a number of providers, including Deloitte (supply chain analytics), Ariba (discounting/working capital management) and Emptoris (CFO/procurement intersections), gracing the pages of a range of publications. And the whitepapers that BravoSolution has been publishing (a number of which have been linked from this site over the past few months) have been equally as compelling and useful.

But in general, he perceives that technology vendors aren’t doing as good a job as leading consultants and even practitioners in shaping thought leadership – and there’s a plug for Procurement Leaders for finding and publishing  good practitioner pieces, no easy task!

He then gives 5 lessons for providers who want to get better at contributing to and shaping the procurement agenda. Read them in full on the Spend Matters US site, but they include useful nuggets such as:

Identifying those experts in the company who really have something unique to say and finding a means -- even if they're way over-booked -- of getting knowledge out of them on a consistent basis...

I was talking to a procurement consulting and outsourcing  firm last week who have just employed a full time professional writer. “I know my team have really interesting things to say”, the CEO told me, “but they don’t have time to write it all down and get it published”. So the writer’s job is to extract that knowledge and get it into the public domain. That’s certainly one solution to the challenge Jason identifies.

Here’s another of his suggestions:

Getting the budget, plan and appropriate resource commitment to consistently pursue a program over a 12-month period or longer, realizing that results take time and consistency in contributing a thought leadership voice to the market...

I agree completely with his comments, but of course the challenge is making yourself heard over the ever-increasing background noise of material – some brilliant, some rubbish, most in between – that emerges these days. Even if every technology provider starts producing superb thought leadership, no-one has time to read it all.

But if we have more and more strong material available in the procurement eco-system, then that’s no bad thing – even if we have to learn how to identify and focus on the subset of it that brings the most value to us, as individuals and organisations.

And do read Jason’s full post here.

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