It’s the end of the world as we know it . . . at least for traditional analyst firms and bloggers by Jon Hansen

Posted on October 2, 2013


“It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” is a song by the rock band R.E.M.

No, this hasn’t become a music blog – especially given the fact that I can’t carry a tune to save my life! However, the above referenced lyrics are more than appropriate in terms of my interview this afternoon with Source One’s Joe Payne and Bill Dorn.

In what was the third and final segment of a 3-Part series (that will air next week), which focused on the company’s announcement that they had earlier this year created a Supply Chain Center of Excellence, both Payne and Dorn shared their belief that traditional analyst firms’ and industry pundits’ creditability in the market is waning.  Specifically, and being caught between serving cross-purposed agendas, firms such has Gartner continue to fail in terms of delivering sound and unbiased insight into industry trends and vendor capabilities.

While I would recommend that you listen to the interview – which is just over 30 minutes in length – for the complete in depth reasoning behind this conclusion, I have to say that I am neither surprised nor dismayed by the revelation.  After all, relying primarily on paying vendor clients to provide the critical case references that contribute to an analyst’s or blogger’s assessment of capabilities is tantamount to the fox guarding the hen house.

Of course, the end user client must bear some responsibility for the historic failings that continue to plague the industry.  After all beyond the challenges of perhaps having limited resources, Payne and Dorn suggested that clients either do not know the right questions to ask or, are just not willing to pose the questions they have.  Instead they appear to choose to blindly follow the lead of analysts and bloggers whose interests are to a certain extent influenced by the very companies about whom they are supposed to be providing objective and meaningful coverage.

Client abdication issues notwithstanding, this does not absolve the analysts and the vendors they cover from shouldering the lion’s share of the responsibility for failed initiatives such as the ones involving SciQuest and the states of Oregon and Colorado.  Unlike the end client, these sources of purported industry knowledge have for the most part compromised the creditability of their findings for the sake of relationships and bottom line realizations.

Perhaps our balanced, well researched coverage of the SciQuest story is the reason why we have seen our list of subscribers/followers increase by more than 4,000 and counting over the past week.  Maybe, just maybe the market is now ready to acknowledge and accept the unpolished reality that all vendors likely have their shortcomings, and that the recognition of said issues will ultimately lead to a better alignment of stakeholder interest and capabilities.

Or perhaps of even greater significance is that the days to which IACCM’s Tim Cummins referred in a 2010 Commitment Matters blog post regarding “the ‘conspiracy’ that leads executives on both sides of the table to ‘lie’ to their trading partners and to create a combined version of ‘the truth’ that leads to mutual delusion over what they can achieve, by when and for how much,” have finally come to an end.  I certainly hope so.

In the meantime, let me know your thoughts.  Can traditional analyst firms and industry pundits such as bloggers be relied upon for sound advice and, are their days really numbered?

Just follow the money . . .

Just follow the money . . .


Posted in: Commentary