What does “Covering The Procurement World” really mean? by Jon Hansen

Posted on June 14, 2015


In the 6th chapter of our upcoming book, Kelly Barner and I assess the effectiveness of the media in covering the procurement world.

Titled “The Media and Procurement: Are We Really Covered?,” we open the chapter with the following;

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 . . . looking at the situation from a purely best interests of the procurement industry standpoint, such silence is extremely troubling.”  – The Silence Of The Blogs (And Industry Analysts), Procurement Insights, April 17th, 2015

While we are certain that you will find this to be one of the most interesting and thought-provoking chapters of the entire book, the underlying question is simply this . . . what does covering the procurement world really mean?

In explaining why their coverage of the Periscope – BidSync deal was not extended to include the #CodeGate scandal, Pierre Mitchell wrote that Spend Matters’ focus was on doing, “a deep dive analysis in our premium subscription,” which according to his comment “was mostly from a technology buyers perspective regarding a SWOT type of analysis of the combined offering.” He then went on to write, “We didn’t omit this because of lack of courage, but more because lack of time to stay on top of every issue in every industry with every provider!”

Fair enough, but is this really providing coverage?

Put aside the lingering questions about having to pay-to-access information, does the information itself that is being provided have any real value? Particularly when it is narrowly focused on an analysis of the technology.”

Given the far reaching implications of #CodeGate, I would have to say no. The fact that there has been no mention of California’s decision to drop BidSync – a major account for the vendor – is the exclamation point at the end of that sentence.

It is as if Spend Matters’ coverage – and they are in the majority – is confined to an impenetrable vacuumed bubble, in which anything beyond a narrowly defined scope is either not recognized or just ignored due to a “lack of time.”

I believe that this hurts our creditability as an industry.

Let’s look at the recent developments with SciQuest.

Here is a company that Spend Matters identified and featured as a “Provider to Know in 2015.

In presenting insights such as “SciQuest has made great strides in migrating acquired IP onto its core technology offering,” and that “The company is now a contender in most verticals,” one would conclude that SciQuest is a good choice. At least according to a May 15th, 2015 Spend Matters post.

But is this the whole story?

“After all, in my more recent coverage of SciQuest, I have talked about their cancelled contracts with both Oregon and Colorado, press releases in which existing contracts were heralded as being new wins, and most recently industry rumors that Duke University as well as other higher education institutions are contemplating a move away from the SciQuest solution.  Let’s just say the company is not on a particularly good roll. – How alarming is it when CEOs start selling their shares?, Procurement Insights, September 18th, 2014

As someone who has covered SciQuest since 2005, the answer would be no. Especially given the more recent turn of events.

In the above excerpt from my September 2014 post, I raised a number of serious issues regarding the vendor’s ongoing viability.

Here we are, less than a year later, and Dartmouth College – a longstanding client – drops SciQuest, their CFO leaves without so much as an explanation and, their new CFO starts selling their shares.

Rough seas ahead for SciQuest?

Rough seas ahead for SciQuest?

Against this tumultuous backdrop, would you do business with SciQuest? Would you chose SciQuest as your solution provider?

I think I speak for the majority when I say that while a SWOT Analysis can be useful, its potential value is greatly diminished if you do not have a complete picture. Or to put it another way, selective coverage can, and likely will, hurt you more than it will help you.

So why is industry coverage limited to SWOTs and other such “insights” while the real news goes unreported.

There are, from my perspective, a number of reasons, and we do our best to address them in the book.

However, what I can tell you is that until we start to look beyond the trees to actually see the forest, our profession as whole will not likely be taken as seriously as it should.


Posted in: Commentary