The Silence Of The Blogs (And Industry Analysts) by Jon Hansen

Posted on April 17, 2015


While I am hard pressed to understand the reasons why industry blogger and analyst coverage of the Periscope acquisition of BidSync has been limited to the usual commentary, with no real follow-up beyond the initial announcement, one thing of which I am certain is this . . . being the lone voice has its benefits.

Even though I have always had a strong presence through a solid base of core followers, what has evolved into a major controversy has seen the number of reads for this blog literally triple since I began covering what is now known has #CodeGate.

However, and looking at the situation from a purely best interests of the procurement industry standpoint, such silence is extremely troubling.

For example, talking about how “BidSync currently has more than 70 direct pay clients (non-channel/partner) … and a supplier database,” or that the deal may mark the emergence of an An American Public Sector Source-to-Settle Powerhouse in the Making, means very little given the underlying impact of what is clearly a serious conflict of interest.

I am not simply talking about an adjunct to the main story.  What I am talking about is THE MAIN STORY.

If the conflict of interest relating to the NIGP – Periscope relationship were left unreported and unchallenged, significant and perhaps irreparable harm would be done to the public sector procurement world.

The apparent and deliberate attempt by a private sector company to monopolize a market that spends billions of dollars, with the seeming acquiescent consent of a not-for-profit association that is supposed to be protecting and advancing the best interests of government procurement as opposed to capitalizing on it, has far reaching consequences.  This includes the very programs and services the everyday citizen expects and relies upon in terms of life quality.

In this context – and I think it is worth repeating,  references suggesting that “The marriage of Periscope and BidSync is important because it has the potential to provide these prospects something much closer to the coveted full suite,” is of little relevance.  This is the same as debating whether the chairs on the Titanic are comfortable after the ship has hit the iceberg.

big picture

Typical blogger and analyst coverage of the procurement industry?

In seeking the answer to the question why the bloggers and analysts have completely missed this story – as well as others before it, I have received some interesting feedback.

To begin, there is a general feeling that they are not equipped and or inclined to do investigative reporting beyond that with which they are most familiar, and likely most comfortable.

Others have suggested that they tend to avoid meaningful stories if there is a hint of controversy that might impose upon existing relationships within the industry.  In this regard, the fact that the majority of my revenue stream comes from outside of the procurement world means that I am less inclined to worry about telling it like it is.  Even in those instances where there is a revenue tie-in, it doesn’t change the way I cover a story . . . just ask the CFO from Elcom.

For example, after I met NIGP’s Chief Executive Rick Grimm for the first time at a conference in November, in which I was the moderator for a panel that he was on, we exchanged e-mails.  In one such exchange, and based on the success of that panel discussion, Rick wrote the following:

“Jon, it was great fun.  I thoroughly enjoyed the sequence of the debate and I’m interested in learning the results of their evaluation on this session.  This is an activity that we (NIGP) have tried to cultivate for several years – in fact, we tried panel discussions several years ago without much success.  Like most organizations, we tend to kick a good idea to the curb when it’s simply a matter of execution.  As a panelist at your session, I plan to re-introduce this option to my meeting planner for the 2015 NIGP conference.  Let’s keep in touch.  I enjoyed ‘working’ with you and I see potential for continuing our discussions.” – Rick, Procurement. It’s Everywhere., NIGP: The Institute for Public Procurement

Given my recent series of posts – especially the April 8th, 2015 entry Watching NIGP Chief Exec implode is both sad and troubling, I am not going to hold my breath in terms of said discussion continuing.  However that’s fine with me, because whether I was engaged by the NIGP to moderate a panel discussion (or not), it would not have changed one word of what I have already written or for that matter will write.

Does this kind of coverage really matter in terms of the big picture?

Does this kind of coverage really matter in terms of the big picture?

The bigger issue here again is regardless of whether they are unwilling or incapable of stepping up to the plate and providing their take onwhat is an incredibly important story, with the exception of a few brave souls, the majority of industry bloggers and analysts have dropped the ball.  This raises the question . . . can we trust their coverage going forward?



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