Is Duke ready to make a move away from SciQuest? by Jon Hansen

Posted on August 26, 2014


One of the great things about being the rebel in the procurement world is that you become the clearing house for industry news simply because your are viewed as being neutral.  In short, people are more inclined to tell you things because they know that their confidences can be trusted, and that you are going to provide a balanced take on the story.

For example back on the 1st of September 2010 I wrote a post announcing that the Ontario Education Collaborative Marketplace had called it a day with Ariba, scrapping an initiative that to that point in time had cost $20 million.  I received the tip that this was going down well before the rest of the media world from reliable, unnamed sources.  What was interesting is that the post prompted a call from investment banking firm Craig-Hallum asking me to provide further insights regarding the news as no one else had reported it.

Now don’t get me wrong, while I receive an abundance of tips and general insights on a regular basis, not all of them end up in a post on the pages of this blog.  Part of the reason is that I cannot always obtain the additional confirmation from secondary and tertiary sources to create the necessary level of comfort to share what I have heard with you.  After all there is a fine line between real news and industry gossip.  Because of this, I always ask myself the big question, why is the person telling me this? Motivation is a key part of the filtering process – especially when dealing with unnamed sources.

There is of course a third element which is the general industry knowledge that I have garnered over the years.  When you have been around long enough you come to the point of having seen almost everything.  Or to put it another way, nothing really surprises you anymore – expect the unexpected is what an old mentor once told me.


Within the context of the above, earlier this month news began filtering out of the Research Triangle region of North Carolina that Duke was contemplating making a move away from SciQuest.  Ultimately, my decision to put this out there was driven in large part by my coverage of SciQuest going back to 2005, and in particular this  past year.  Most notably the vendor’s challenges with the Colorado and Oregon implementations as well as their somewhat questionable press release regarding new contract wins.  Let’s face it, having to recycle existing clients under a new business banner is not exactly a good sign.

All of these factors combined provide more than a suggestion of story creditability.

It will be interesting to see what actually happens.