Catching up with Aberdeen

When I was in Boston, I took the time to visit with some of the Supply Space Focussed Aberdeen folks to talk about the sourcing & procurement space and what the year ahead had in store for us. (Since I have been told by ex-analysts that their CEO despises us blogger types, even those who generally say good things about the quality of content coming out of Aberdeen, I will not give names, dates, or conversation specifics to protect the innocent, but simply say they are really great, smart, people.) If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty, you can always start by downloading their research agenda, but I can tell you that their plans go well beyond that.

First of all, they plan to continue the aggressive research schedule institutionalized by The Great Sudy in his short tenure (who averaged close to one major study a month) across each of the channels that they address. Secondly, they plan to augment those major benchmark studies with a significant number of shorter insight and thought pieces focussing on specific issues and / or best practices that you can use to improve your overall supply chain operations. (Apparently their goal is 10/month. Wow!) Thirdly, they plan to delve into a number of the insights that came out of the CPO conference in November and break ground in the relatively untouched areas of supply chain finance, next-generation supplier performance management (SPM), and non-traditional industry verticals. All I can say is that if they do all this, AMR will have some serious work to do keeping up.

Now I know that some prominent individuals have questioned Aberdeen’s relevance in the mid-market at one time or another, and some have even had some valid points, but the following truths hold: (a) if its good for big business, then some elements will certainly be good for medium-sized businesses, since it is essentially impossible for a business with poor practices to get large or stay large in today’s ultra-competitive market and (b) the data is based on your responses and any survey with a large number of respondents is going to contain a relatively significant number of responses from the mid-market. Yes, you might need to take some of the results with a grain of salt, or, more appropriately, with some good consulting advice from those companies that have helped similar companies undertake similar initiatives, but it’s much better to have valid data and supported conclusions to start with then to start with no data at all. So I say: Go Aberdeen Go! and continue to break ground in the analyst space. Right now, the issues need all the attention they can get – and given that the current talent pool, although not as well known, is more talented than they are being given credit for, one can be sure the research is only going to get better and better.

So participate in their surveys, get your free research, and make informed decisions. Furthermore, if you have ever attempted advanced sourcing, be sure to take their Advanced Sourcing Survey. Their last benchmark study in this area found that companies employing advanced sourcing techniques saved on average 12% more than their competitors who did not. This study is going to delve deeper into the issue and help you determine which technique will help you the most. It’s worth your time.