Wouldn’t it be fun if I created a report in which I rank the analyst firms that cover our industry? What would drive the decision to place a firm into the top right quadrant? What criteria would I use for inclusion?
The reality is that the analyst firms that cover this space all do an amazing job and serve a very valuable service. They provide indisputable feedback on which providers perform well and which ones don’t and why. All of them have a fully bullet proof methodology in determining the placement of the providers on their scales and they will defend their methodology in court if needed, of which some of them have had to do that. Contrary to popular belief, these reports are not pay for play. I have worked for companies over the past 20 years who have invested significantly into analyst firms and have scored poorly, and I have worked for companies that do not spend a dime and have performed very well. You are welcome to try and poke holes into their methodology; trust me, I have tried.
Not including the analysts in your search for a new Source to Pay provider would be a huge mistake. I would suggest that time with the analyst firms and their reports is a much better investment of time than spending time with customer references. The analyst firms are able to help you short list the providers that make the most sense for you based on your industry, company size, geography, etc. In addition to reading the reports I would encourage you to spend time with the actual industry analyst who wrote the report as they can provide valuable insights beyond their reports.
While the methodology may vary from analyst to analyst, the basics elements of their research are all pretty similar. You must provide an exhaustive list of references. You must walk them through a live product demonstration. Lastly, you need to provide them audited financials and walk them through a vision casting presentation, so they know where your company is heading. The analyst firms do an excellent job of sniffing out any one company trying to be dishonest with their approach to the research.
Since it would probably be risky for me to call out any firms in this blog as best in class, I would like to give a shout out to the individual analyst that I have known and loved for almost 20 years. These folks are masters of their trade, passionate about the space and offer a wealth of knowledge. This is not a commercial for these individuals but rather a huge thank you and recognition for their years of impartiality and most importantly playing a huge role in driving innovation in the Source to Pay space. To avoid playing favorites I am doing this in alphabetical order so as to not have my research audited. This is my first unofficial and authorized list of Source to Pay Analyst Rock Stars: Andrew Bartels, Andrew Bartolini, Magnus Bergfors, Jason Busch, Patrick Connaughton, Amy Fong, Duncan Jones, Michael Lamoureux (The Doctor), Pierre Mitchell, Mickey North Rizza, Xavier Olivera, Chris Sawchuk, Kaitlynn Sommers, and last but far from least, The Debbie Wilson.
Speaking of great research done in this space, check out the free research The Hackett Group is doing in the Source to Pay space. You are welcome to participate in this free study which will allow you to understand where you stack up with your peers. You will given a copy of this study as part of your participation: https://www.thehackettgroup.com/p2p-automation-qp-19q2/