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It’s Awards Time Again

And therefore time to roll out my annual thoughts on the banality of awards when it comes to CTRM software….

For those who do not know, some awards are simply paid advertising. My evidence for this are the various emails we receive from various publications telling us how, if we just offer x,000 USD fee, we will be listed as one of the top 10 analyst companies in commodities. The last email cited $10,000 actually and honestly, I don’t deem an award that has a fee attached an award. I see it as paid advertising. Now, let me be clear, the one’s offering this are not generally publication titles all of us would have a great deal of familiarity with either. They tend to be non-mainstream publications.

None the less, there are also awards that are promoted as quite prestigious, yet they too are pay for play to a degree. In order to participate, you have to pay a fairly hefty fee and then submit a lot of information for analysis. I believe that the analysis performed is genuine and that the results are valid except for one small detail. If you didn’t pay to participate, you won’t be included no matter how good your solution.

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As a policy, we do NOT publish press announcements about awards because we simply do not see these as news worthy. In fact, we see them pretty much as a pay to enter beauty parade that has little at all to do with the real world of selection of the most suitable solution for your company.

And that brings me to our main issue with awards. What exactly are we rewarding? What is the award supposed to communicate to users? Well, to some extent, it does say that the vendor and its product have gone through a process of being reviewed by a third-party and generically at least, this seems like the best solution. This is where my last post and this are linked as if customers can’t or won’t allow press announcements, vendors need another way to promote their software. However, if only 10 of 90 vendors entered by paying the fee, how much value does this really have? Furthermore, anyone who knows anything about CTRM software knows that the only award that really counts is to be selected for a particular use by a new customer. The reason is that requirements vary as do capabilities. The best solution for say crude oil is unlikely to be the best solution for say Cotton. In fact, the best solution for crude oil for a producer may not be the best solution for crude oil for a purchaser. It really is horses for courses when it comes to CTRM software.

Awards are fun. The dinners and ceremonies are fun. But that is really where these awards belong – in the fun category. They bear little of value when it comes to real world use and implementation.

That is why ComTech takes a different tack completely and produces every two years a Vendor Perception Study. What this does is poll users and influencers and asks them – who do you think the market leaders are? The results are a reflection of those who respond of course but when we get 300 valid responses, those results certainly offer something of value. There is NO award associated and no pay to play fees. Any vendor or solution whether a ComTech client or not mentioned by the respondents is included.

Yes, we later ask to see if anyone wants to advertise or sponsor the report but we do that after we have the report written and the results in. And only to help defray the costs associated with performing the work. Our work is free to you and supported by advertising but we always remain neutral and independent in our analysis. It is what it is but when you have been repeating the same survey for over two decades, there are interesting trends to be observed and put within a context. It has value.

The 2022 Vendor Perception Study will be issued around year end. It’s free to download.