SciQuest’s Wiehe and Deem’s Grady: A Tale of Two Leaders And What It Means To Their Customers by Jon Hansen

Posted on December 5, 2014


It is after all the Holiday Season.  As a result, and in talking about this past week’s series of posts on SciQuest and Deem, I felt that even the most loosely based reference to Charles Dickens was reasonable .

On the one hand you have SciQuest’s Stephen Wiehe who, despite a series of well-researched articles being openly yet justifiably critical of his company’s “situation,” remaining silent.  I know that there is another Christmas play on words somewhere here . . .

Sadly the only semblance of a response I did receive was by way of a brief discussion with a SciQuest “aligned” investment bank, that was then followed by a series of convoluted e-mails.  You can read about it through the following link; Are investment bankers and Wall Street bad for business?

On the other hand, you have Deem’s Patrick Grady.

In response to a November 6th post in which I wrote that “Deem’s solution is not the reworking of an old idea, as much as it is the realization of a long held vision of what might be possible, becoming possible,” one reader anonymously posted a incendiary commentary that appeared to be long on rhetoric and short on fact.

While I decided not to post the comment itself, I did contact Deem.  In sharing it with them, I indicated that even though the individual did not provide his true identity – which automatically raises a red flag – it is not necessarily an indication that the points being presented are completely without merit. In short, I was going to spend the necessary cycles to investigate the reader’s claims.

What is both interesting and telling is the manner of Deem’s response, which was swift, transparent and even better . . . came directly from the top in the form of an official comment from Grady himself.

You can of course read about the results of my research and Grady’s subsequent comment in the post Deemed inappropriate? One reader weighs in on my coverage of Patrick Grady’s exciting “new” company.

Grady (Left) and Wiehe (Right)

Grady (Left) and Wiehe (Right)

My point here is quite simple.

When faced with a controversial situation in which the organization’s brand was being scrutinized, SciQuest has repeatedly buried their collective heads in the sand.  With or without their knowledge, SciQuest’s money people as I will call them, contacted me to try and diffuse the situation through a somewhat contrived and unctuous engagement.

Conversely, and instead of ducking the questions I had raised, Deem took the direct route, and in the process provided a clearer understanding of where they are today, and how they got here.

The difference between the two leaders goes well beyond media coverage and stock evaluations, extending to something far more important.  What I am talking about is how Wiehe’s and Grady’s respective responses are a good indication of how they are also likely to deal with their clients or customers.  At the end of the day, it is this last point that ultimately matters the most.

Or to put it another way, if you can’t get a straight answer in this situation, how can you expect to get a straight answer when you encounter the inevitable bumps in the implementation road when they arise?

Perhaps this, more than anything else, explains why Colorado and Oregon are part of what appears to be the start of an exodus of clients moving away from SciQuest.

As stressed during my recent guest panel discussion Technology And Procurement: What Is The Wave Of The Future?, about which Buyers Meeting Point’s Kelly Barner observed that “All three views – tech, academia, association – were faithfully represented and interestingly intertwined,” relational transparency is one of the keys to technological success.

Following my experience with both Wiehe and Grady, it has become much easier to determine with whom clients are likely to experience success.


Posted in: Commentary