Toward a science of procurement technology trend analysis: Key … – Spend Matters

Since 2013, Spend Matters has annually released its “50 Procurement Providers to Know” and “50 Procurement Providers to Watch” lists to represent the best technology providers that serve procurement, finance and supply chain organizations. Each year, the Spend Matters analyst team determines the composition of these lists through several rounds of analysis that factor, among other things, market presence, tech competency, innovation and solution delivery. Read about this year’s lists here.
As we mention on our 50/50 methodology page, developing these lists is not an exact science. However, as Spend Matters analysts pride ourselves on our propensity for using data-driven processes, we have continued to refine our methodology to ensure the 2022 50 to Know and 50 to Watch lists come as close to a scientific manner as possible.
Changes to our methodology for the 2022 50 to Know and 50 to Watch lists include:
The original points concerning vendor eligibility still apply, but we are engaged in a continuous enhancement of the 50 to Know and Watch selection process to reduce subjectivity and promote data-driven insights. For example, while our process still begins by reviewing the previous year’s lists and determining which providers no longer meet eligibility criteria, the addition of new providers is now supplemented by a programmatic process to capture, evaluate and filter potential vendors who should be taken into final consideration.
While there is certainly room for analysts to suggest a new provider for a list based on ideas of increased market penetration, we now use our internal data and conduct additional research to both ensure suggested providers are worthy of selection and determine whether we have overlooked or omitted other vendors. One source for our internal data is SolutionMap, our ranking tool that balances analyst opinion with customer feedback to better chart the contours of procurement technology market.
Ensuing debates about the lists between analysts are now supported by a more centralized, holistic overview of each provider’s key data such as 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.).
Finally, in addition to this data, we began this year to mandate active customer references from all 100 vendors on the two lists. While the majority of vendors in prior years had met this criterion either via SolutionMap participation or references sent in support of our PRO Vendor Analysis briefs, adding this requirement for 50/50 consideration has only further improved the dataset. The references serve both as verification of providers’ eligibility for the lists and as additional data for comparative purposes against other vendors.
Our ongoing changes to the 50 to Know and Watch selection processes are, in conjunction with Spend Matters overall focus, another step toward more objective, data-driven methodologies. Logging data about each vendor is important beyond just the accuracy and validity of this year’s lists; it will impact future lists. 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.
The maintenance of this data will make it easier for us to, 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.
Our plan for next year’s nomination process is to quantify factors previously considered “soft” via a scoring scale in a manner somewhat similar to our SolutionMap scoring process. That way we can 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. The aim is to create more repeatability and explainability to the market and to bring organizations up to speed faster on the current trends they need to know and the emerging ones they need to watch.
In that spirit, we hope this year’s 50/50 lists inspire not only lively debate in your own organization regarding future technology investments but also motivate you to put data and deliberate analysis at the heart of your selection decisions.
Mark your calendar for a “50 to Know,” “50 to Watch” and “Future 5” selection-review webinar on October 31. The entire Spend Matters analyst team will highlight what you need to know about the procurement technology and service providers on the 2022 lists.
Register to join us here.

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