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Friday
Mar142014

It's not what you know but who to know

Another week and another list of ‘who to know’ has been published but for once it’s actually quite a useful one.

What makes Spend Matters' list better than most is that while it collected information in the traditional way  - demos, questionnaires, interviews and the like – it draws the final list from its consultants’ opinions as to whether the provider meets a single criterion  - ‘is this company worth knowing about?’
The fact that the single criterion is, intentionally, loosely defined means it relies on their consultants' abilities to process the information they collected, including  the vital intangibles, and come to an answer.  The wisdom of the crowd is well understood it makes the list much more useful than some other more high profile ‘tick box’ reports that exist.  We know from experience that if you don’t tick all the correct boxes you don’t get on the list or in the report despite being best in class for the other criteria or, in our case, being the first company ever to score the maximum five out of five for optimisation capabilities.  

Clearly, we are pleased to be included as one of Spend Matters' “Providers to Know” and of course we feel we should be there knowing the very satisfied clients we have, our technology and the impressive growth we have been recording in the last few years. 

But in addition, we are equally proud that there are a number of our customers on the list as well.   AT Kearney and McKinsey are two pure consulting firms that make the list and are big users of our technology.  We have worked with them for some time and see them as partners in our quest to introduce advanced supply chain and sourcing optimisation into the world. Their mix of sourcing and supply chain expertise, matched with our technology, provides a powerful and compelling solution for companies who want to enlist the help of consultants in their sourcing and supply chain endeavours.  Their clients seem to agree and we see this from the significant growth in the projects and engagements we have been involved in with these two clients. 

One other interesting thing about the list is that another of our partners, a company that could be viewed as a competitor by some, is included in their own right. Although my honour (and a non-disclosure agreement!) prevents me from naming them here, it is very nice seeing them make the list knowing our software complements their sourcing suite so their customers benefit from world class optimisation. 

I do realise history is written by the winners and understand our opinion of the list's credibility may be influenced by our appearance on it, but I do think Spend Matters' approach of choosing to be your 'well informed friend' puts them in a strong position and is much more useful to sourcing professionals.

As Jason Busch of Spend Matters puts it, 

 “It is critical to us to make the 50/50 both approachable and something of substance. We collectively think there’s a real racket in the list and awards business that says nothing about whether or not a provider deserves a closer look on a pragmatic and intellectual basis. As such, there’s no cost to “winning.” Who needs another cheesy paperweight engraved with SMAT50 (that would be “Spend Matters Almanac Top 50”) or a sales pitch to sponsor an awards dinner with gross wine and awkward small talk?”
 
My personal view is that life is too short for 'gross wine' and it's not obligatory at these things, but I do agree wholeheartedly with his sentiment. 

 

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