Spend Matters 50 to Know and 50 to Watch – Questions and Answers

Spend Matters has launched our 50 to Know and 50 to Watch lists for 2016/17, as we explained in our post yesterday. These lists – not rankings, we would stress -  represent our view of the organisations in our industry that procurement executives need to have on their radar. Here are the questions that we are often asked about the lists – and the answers of course!

How exactly do you come up with these lists?

Well, the Spend Matters team, now in North and Central America, the UK and Netherlands, talk to thousands of people in our industry every year, we look at hundreds of organisations providing services to the procurement “industry” and we have dozens of demos and similar looking in more depth at procurement software, solutions and products.  That gives us great insight into the key organisations selling into our industry.  Then, over a period of time, to put the lists together, we have a number of discussions, arguments, fist fights, and phone calls between the Spend Matters team members to come up with our consensus lists.

That all sounds a bit subjective?

There are pros and cons with any list of this sort. ‘Magic quadrants’ for example have some value but are a lot more subjective than they probably seem to the uninformed observer. With people like Jason Busch, David Gustin, Michael Lamoureux, Pierre Mitchell, Andrew Karpie and Xavier Olivera, we have a team who understand the procurement solutions market and the players better than pretty much anyone else in the world.

Which areas do the lists cover?

The full range of software (source to pay, supplier risk and information, analytics, etc), consulting, research, outsourcing services, and membership organisations – all with that procurement focus of course. We’ve gone a little further into the eInvoicing and supply chain finance world too this year, as well as the burgeoning world of “work intermediation platforms”. We haven’t included media organisations, not so much because they are our competitors but just because we’re already short of space!  We don’t have a quota for each of those sectors but we do try and get a spread -- and remember, there is no ranking within the list.

What’s the difference between the two lists?

The 50 to Know covers those organisations that are the leaders in different sectors of our market. The way we first thought about this was simple. If a new CPO, maybe someone who has come into procurement from another function, asked us “which 50 organisations should I take a look at or meet in my first few months?”  This is our answer. It doesn’t mean we think they are “the best”, but they need to be on the CPO's radar, for sure.

So alongside the 50 to Know, you have the 50 to Watch – how do you define that list?

These are the organisations who are doing something interesting and different, who are shaking up the market, or offering something that simply made us go “gosh, that’s interesting”. We think our readers and members should take a look at these firms – and some are certainly more established than others.

I’ve never heard of some of these firms.

Well, that’s the point!  Some may never get beyond “interesting start up” phase, but we will be writing more about them over the coming weeks and months, so keep an eye out for that.

We were on the “to Watch” list last year and we’re not this time around. But we’ve had a good 12 months!

The nature of the “to Watch” list means there are many new firms to consider. We had to be ruthless – even if you made it last time, unless you showed some innovation, spectacular growth, or other notable development in the last year, you may well have made way for someone we didn’t feature last time. Some “to Watch” firms have moved onto the “to Know” list – some have not. Of course you have the chance to come back next year onto either one of the lists.

What can firms do that aren’t on the list?

Make sure we know about you. We don’t claim to know everyone globally in our sector, and if we don’t know you, then clearly you won’t make the list.  "Knowing you" probably means a technical demo for our analysts, and the chance to have a chat with a couple of your customers to verify what we see and hear from you. But even once we know you, there are no guarantees. Keeping it to 50 means it is a tight list, and there are good firms who don’t make it.

Do firms pay to get on the list? Or do you favour your sponsors?

No, there is no “pay to play” and we honestly don’t prioritise or favour sponsors. However, as we said above, we do need to know you to feature you, and by definition, we tend to know our sponsors well. So perhaps in some cases we have more insight into those firms than someone we’ve never had close contact with. But we try to be unbiased as possible, there are sponsors who don’t feature on these lists and will no doubt be upset, and we believe we have never had any commercial relationship with at least 50% of the firms listed. Frankly, we have included firms whose management don’t even like us very much!

And if we are on the list?

Any organisation, on the lists or not, can have a free entry in our on-line Almanac.  Those on the lists receive an enhanced entry. And if you want to get more coverage, multiple listings and so on you can talk to us about the commercial arrangements for that.

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