Goodbye Spend Matters Europe – Hello the World!

Some readers may have observed recently that when you click on a Spend Matters UK/Europe article to read it in full, it takes you to a different site — that’s the global Spend Matters site, which is going to house all of our content going forward. As Sheena Smith explained earlier this month in Introducing a global Spend Matters website, we are merging our sites to bring you one global, streamlined site that will offer you everything you’ve come to expect from Spend Matters, but all in one place. It’s an exciting development for Spend Matters as its depth and breadth of procurement tech knowledge expands across a global horizon, in line with a marketplace of the future filled with global players.

Rest assured there will be no discernible difference for our readers, other than a change of URL and a new website design, with regional partitioning too — so look out for that to come.

This change will take effect tomorrow, October 1, when we also will begin a new Editorial calendar. We will be featuring newly researched and independent tech and vendor coverage, regular in-depth interviews with the people on the ground who lead procurement, and a new column on best practice advice from practitioners for practitioners. We’ll still be bringing you the latest breaking news, guest articles and deep tech exploration — that won’t change — and you’ll still be able to access all our existing Europe content via a new archive page on the global website.

To celebrate this momentous event in Spend Matters’ timeline, Peter Smith, co-founder and procurement provocateur extraordinaire (who retired from Spend Matters at the end of 2018) and I reconvened to reminisce — where else but Down the Procurement Pub. So in a final post on the Europe website, here are some milestones of the past 10 years.

It all began in 2010

When I joined Spend Matters in 2014, it was at the request of my good friend and ex-colleague (Dun & Bradstreet early '90s) Peter. He had been running Spend Matters Europe solo for four years. He was also speaking internationally, writing three articles a day, running webinars, and attending and presenting at global conferences and workshops. He needed help.

I was hesitant because I thought procurement would be boring. I was so wrong.

The journey began in 2010, when Peter had discovered the world of political blogging. It led him to wonder whether anyone was doing the same about procurement. After a bit of research, he discovered that a chap in Chicago called Jason Busch was doing exactly that. Well not quite; while he clearly knew a lot about procurement, he was also writing about his bass guitar playing and cooking exploits.

“It was great to read,” said Peter, “it made me think — I could do that — and at the same time promote my consulting firm — it looked like fun.”

Peter contacted Jason, explained what he was doing, and the two started to exchange writings. Jason came over to London, and three pints of London Pride later in the Wellington pub off The Strand, they decided to spread the word this side of the Atlantic.

And so Spend Matters Europe was born

Spend Matters had begun at about the same time that Sheena Moore (Smith [no relation]) joined Jason in the US. "She became a great friend and ally to the Europe operation," said Peter, "making the transatlantic trip regularly to charm and impress clients (and sample British beer ...)!"

“Spend Matters Europe got off the ground really quickly,” he said, “with our first sponsors coming on board straightaway, including Emptoris, BravoSolution, Intenda and Trade Extensions.” In the incestuous world of procurement, it turned out that Jason’s contact at Trade Extensions was Gary Mansell, an old colleague and cricket-playing friend of Peter during their years at Mars. They hadn’t spoken in quite some time, so many a sponsorship deal was made over a curry and a pint.

“Sponsorship grew from the many contacts Jason and I knew,” Peter said, “and we started doing webinars and writing white papers. It began to get really busy. What I really needed was a good editor and talented writer.”

“Nancy and I soon became a double act, and she was the only person I would allow to critique my work! We came up with more interesting ventures: we started the Real World Sourcing series of workshops with Bravo and Tejari, which involved working in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and London. These were great fun and a great success." From the archives you can read Some Like It Hot, Real World Sourcing in the UAE - Contract Management, new approaches to Negotiation and Spend Analytics."

“Also of huge success were our infamous and original Pub Debates held at some iconic London pub venues. We had great panellists from procurement tech vendors and heads of procurement from all walks of life. One success story, or should I say defeat, took place in The Clarence, Whitehall. In traditional Chatham style we debated: This House Believes that Robots will Run (and Rule) Procurement by 2020 -  I was arguing that automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning are going to take away large elements of the current procurement role. The opposition, led by Jason Busch, won. Read The Great Pub Debate Results: Robot Takeover Defeated — Well, Delayed Maybe! to find out why.”

“As Spend Matters Europe became more widely known and read, we got the opportunity to poke our noses into many a procurement firm’s products, strategies, success and failure stories. It seemed everyone wanted to talk to us. Our interviews spanned the then global CPO of Procter & Gamble through to a worldwide entertainer and procurement impresario Dingle Fingle the professional clown. We enjoyed the sites and tastes of Liverpool in the Salt House with CIPS Award-winning Manchester Airports Group CPO, George Owens, to name but a tiny sample of the many interesting people we’ve had the pleasure to interrogate.”

But what made Spend Matters really special at the time, was the eclectic mix of news, one-to-ones, thought leadership, and generally 'not letting people get away with nonsense' reporting (which attracted a huge public sector following) and of course Music Reviews and Album Countdowns. Peter’s passion for music (and Reading Festival) made him one of the best read music critics of just about every period and genre known to humankind.

“When I stepped back from Spend Matters, I genuinely had more comments from people about how they were going to miss my music reviews than my procurement insight!” he confessed.

After 8 years of 10 articles a week, 100 white papers, the same number of conference speeches and webinars, and about 3 million written words on procurement, Peter left Spend Matters to do something different — he went on to write even more words on procurement. His Procurement Compendium charts some of the deepest and funniest looks at procurement, and his Bad Buying book looks at the failures, the frauds and the (let’s just say) mess ups he’s ever encountered as a procurement practitioner.

A new era dawns

And so to a new chapter for Spend Matters — the creation of SolutionMap, the only procurement-specific technology and provider analyst-classified ranking solution in the world, paved the way for more specialised and deep-dive analysis of technology and strategy for the procurement world. “This is exactly the way Spend Matters should go," said Peter. "There is nothing like it in the world, and they have incredibly talented people to continue its outright success.”

And speaking of talented people, in early 2019 Spend Matters welcomed onboard Jenny Draper as general manager for UK/Europe to help build out our partnerships, communities and relationships. And then in late 2019, Spend Matters Mexico-, US- and Canada-based analyst team was joined by a new analyst and VP for Europe, Sweden-based Magnus Bergfors, to add to our specialist and wide-ranging tech and vendor knowledge internationally.

This is the future — and this international knowledge, first-hand insight of the market and the players within it, is what we will be bringing you from our global-eye view.

Over the years I have learned a lot from Peter, and from the CPOs I interviewed, the conferences I attended, the vendors I met, and of course the practitioners — and I still am. But what I really learnt was that Procurement touches everything, in life and in business.

That’s why Spend Matters is read, consulted and relied upon by procurement, supply chain and finance professionals all over the world. And that is why, this year, we’re excited that Spend Matters is merging into one global operation. Our analysts, editors, consultants, and specialist contributors, are for the first time going to be bringing you even wider coverage of procurement technology, its vendors, its users, and all the things that matter to heads of procurement. We’ll also be talking about Spend Matters itself for a change. That includes who uses us, for what, and how it has become a force in the industry that can help those who need to make decisions, make them.

Until tomorrow …

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First Voice

  1. Peter Smith:

    Lovely article Nancy, and it was great working with you, Sheena, Jason and the gang for those years. You look at all the material about procurement available on the web these days – but we should remember that Jason Busch was the absolute pioneer!

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