Rosslyn Analytics: Find A Need and Fill IT!

Posted on March 18, 2010

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Ruth Stafford Peale, wife of The Power of Positive Thinking author, Norman Vincent Peale is credited with the famous quote “Find a need and fill it!”

Ruth Stafford Peale with her husband in New York City in 1988 (photo by Jack Manning/The New York Times)

Powerful and insightful in its very simplicity, it’s true meaning is surprisingly and consistently overlooked by the majority of organizations – especially those within the world of high tech and in particular software companies.

This is a point that was stressed by Rob Spiegel, the author of Net Strategy (Dearborn) and The Shoestring Entrepreneur’s Guide to Internet Start-ups (St. Martin’s Press), who wrote in a post dot.com implosion article that the majority of companies that “failed did so not because they were bad ideas, but because they didn’t solve anyone’s problem.”


While Spiegel believed that “Many of the technology ideas were brilliant,” it means very little at the end of the day “unless you can demonstrate a need that is getting met by these products, technology and ideas.”

Besides experiencing the dot.com boom . . . and bust, first hand (I actually sold my software company in 2001 for $12 million), given my extensive background in technology,  including software research and development, I can say with certainty that most organizations miss this key point.

In fact some of the most innovative technological breakthroughs are often confined to either a historical footnote status, or a “whatever happened to that company, they had such a great product” where are they now kind of reminiscence.

For this reason, I have always been inclined to view accolades such as Gartner’s Magic Quadrants award as being little more than a self-congratulatory industry practice.  The fact that 85% of all e-procurement – supply chain initiatives consistently fail to achieve the expected results gives testimony to the validity of this position.

Despite the fact that my views usually go against the sentiments of the majority of industry pundits – Spend Matters’ Jason Busch once “cautioned” me that I should not “go down the path of becoming the Fenimore Cooper of procurement blogs” when I questioned the relevance he placed on “tangential marketing strategies” in his criticism of Emptoris’ acquisition of Click Commerce, when everything is said and done expert musings take a back seat to market understanding and acceptance.

Let’s be honest, Jason and others originally contended that the term Spend Intelligence,  was nothing more than “an attempt to shoot some Botox into a segment of the Spend Management market.”  Of course the market, and many Spend Intelligence SaaS vendors disagreed as demonstrated by the success of companies such as Rosslyn Analytics.

A fact that even Jason acknowledged in his December 28th post titled “Rosslyn Analytics New Twist on Spend Visibility (Part 2),” when he wrote “So what’s clear is that the overall pie slice of the spend analysis market is growing at a rate that is significantly above and beyond that of what industry analysts predicted.”

He went on to add that one of the reasons why “Rosslyn Analytics jump out from the pack,” is that the company’s system and interface for users “can be easily set up to allow them to see only relevant and current information based on what they’re looking for vs. having to navigate around in a cube structure or order a report from someone in procurement or IT.”  This certainly sounds a little more significant than the aforementioned “Botox” shot.

My point is simply this, because of the previously referenced experience and background with software development under a SaaS oriented agent-based model, I have seen behind the wizard’s curtain.  I know that there is some pretty amazing technological platforms both now as well as on the near horizon (re Web 4.0).

That said the ability to transition from an innovative technological breakthrough to filling a client’s real needs is ultimately the only measurement by which I assess an organization’s true prowess.

Long before receiving an e-mail this week informing me that Rosslyn Analytics had received THINKstrategies Inc.’s Best of SaaS Showplace (BoSS) Award, I recognized the company’s tremendous potential.

I of course was not alone in my enthusiasm for Rosslyn’s ability to take Spend Intelligence to a new level, as my January 27th post “Rosslyn Analytics Adaptive Intelligence Reflects Scientific Principles” was read by more than 6,000 people within a very short period of time.  The market does get it!

I was also impressed by the fact that Rosslyn’s growing client list includes companies such as Aberdeen Asset Management, Clifford Chance, Pitney Bowes, Rio Tinto, Sony and Novartis.

While I do not want to minimize the niceties of receiving industry acknowledgments such as the BoSS Award, what is far more telling about Rosslyn’s bright future is that they have apparently found a need, and “filled it!”

This of course is the only accolade that really counts.