Covering the ever-evolving changes in supply market intelligence, it’s time again for our annual trends article. This year’s post focuses on select trends and offerings and begins with Kelly’s eye-opening piece about the state of quality data and PR’s impact. This is followed by Jeanette’s listing of resource-related trends and associated examples, including this year’s major emerging topic, decarbonization.
– Kelly Barner and Jeanette Jones (authors of Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals: Research, Process, and Resources)
Can the Numbers Still Tell the Story?
In April of 1952, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) created a new internal report: a statistical review of the oil industry’s activities from the prior year. The report expanded over time, eventually becoming The Statistical Review of World Energy. AIOC evolved as well; today we know them as BP… one of the world’s largest companies and a “supermajor” in the oil and gas industry.
The Statistical Review is still being run 70 years later, but BP is reportedly considering ending it. Why? Because the numbers contained in the report do not prove out the clean energy brand identity BP is trying to cultivate.
Bernard Looney has been the CEO of BP since 2020. In his short tenure, he has quickly shifted the company away from oil and gas production and towards renewable energy sources. His goal is nothing less than to reduce the company’s greenhouse gas emissions.
If the report is on the chopping block because it indicates Looney’s vision is not being achieved as quickly or smoothly as he would like, doesn’t that make the Statistical Review more important rather than less? After all, the report was always intended to provide information; it was deliberately not produced or distributed by BP’s PR and marketing teams.
In 2002, BP celebrated the report’s 60th year by publishing a celebratory overview. In that paper, Peter Davies, BP’s former Chief Economist explained the vision behind the report. It was intended to be an objective and accessible data source without any slant in the company’s favor. “My job was to tell the story,” he said. It was a simple and admirable goal that many others have benefitted from.
Now, however, it would seem that the story BP wants to tell is being allowed to control the numbers, not in their value but their availability. The Wall Street Journal calls the report “One of the most reliable energy resources in the world.” It is reliable because it is data-driven, not ideologically driven. Unfortunately, the numbers apparently don’t align with BP’s new approach to the market, and so they are conducting an internal review of the report’s ongoing value.
As explained in a Reuters article, an unnamed company source said, “Put simply, it [the Statistical Review] is bad PR.”
As procurement and supply chain professionals, we are often reliant on data sources such as the Statistical Review. Many data sources, especially government-provided ones, are available openly and for free. What if the ideology of a company, industry, or administration stops them from making data available just because it does not tell the story that they want to have out in the market?
When the 2022 report was released, media site Clean Technica provided their summary of the findings: “The overall picture presents a mix of good news and bad.” If we are looking for real data, shouldn’t it be a mix of good news and bad? To their credit, Clean Technica’s analysis of the report was based on the numbers; what was a surprise and what was not. What indicated progress and where marks had been missed. A combination of positive and negative news is a sign that the numbers reflect reality, not the opposite.
The transition to renewable energy is a worthy challenge, but it is still a challenge. If the only data sources we have access to are the ones that are ‘good PR,’ how can we motivate companies to improve? How will we know if and when they are making meaningful progress?
The Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) movement has attracted eyeballs as well as money. The more lucrative these programs are by either measure, the more incentive there is to appear successful. But being successful? That will require a level of transparency and accountability that is impossible without raw data.
The question raised by the Statistical Review’s questionable future is whether appearing successful and being successful are treated as equally desirable.
Without data to serve as a baseline and input to strategic planning and ROI calculations, progress cannot be made. Companies can ignore the numbers or keep them under wraps, but that leaves everyone else to make their decisions on appearances rather than results.
The numbers must be allowed to tell their story. Where companies and communities go from there is up to them.
No Shortage of New and Enhanced Product Offerings
Supply market data and information providers released new and enhanced product offerings at a fast and furious pace in 2022, especially in the areas of supplier intelligence and ESG compliance. Notably, ProcureTech companies steadily continue to integrate third party supplier risk and market data into their solutions. Market data providers, through the use of advanced technologies, are offering solutions that allow for even deeper insights and greater forecasting capabilities for accurately predicting market conditions and pricing.
Here are six supply market data and research trends, both near and far-term, that caught my eye in 2022 and will continue to trend into 2023, along with examples of resource-related events and announcements to provide context.
Beneficial Ownership Discovery – Understanding beneficial ownership is key in identifying corruption and exposing anonymous shell companies. Look for beneficial ownership discovery to be a trending area in 2023. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (U.S. Department of Treasury) issued a final rule in September 2022 that requires entities created in/registered to do business in the United States to report information about their beneficial owners.
- In August, Exiger enhanced its platform with Sayari’s corporate ownership graph data for increased complex corporate network visibility, augmenting Exiger’s Foreign Ownership, Control, or Influence (FOCI) risk assessment and model.
- In June, Open Ownership launched a new version of the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard to capture information on state-owned enterprises and publicly listed companies for the first time.
- Thomson Reuters, earlier this year, launched CLEAR Global Beneficial Ownership (GBO), a new product that helps organizations understand the ownership and control of international corporate entities.
Logistics Intelligence is in Demand – Out of all the spend categories, logistics intelligence providers were perhaps the busiest. There was a slew of activity, especially related to freight.
- Freight rate benchmarking provider, Xeneta, and information analysis provider, Marine Benchmark, launched the Carbon Emissions Index for the container shipping market, which tracks and compares the carbon emissions of ocean carriers.
- ACT Research and DAT Freight & Analytics announced they will work together to develop new market reports and forecasts based on DAT RateView, a database of truckload pricing data, and ACT’s economic analysis and commercial vehicle data.
- In its Cargo2ZERO solution, CargoAi has developed a CO2 Efficiency Score based on the IATA CO2 emissions standard, allowing users to sort capacity offers according to the greenest options.
- In February, FreightWaves and project44 partnered to bring project44’s visibility data to the FreightWaves SONAR platform. “Project44’s ocean visibility data, enhanced through proprietary machine learning, covers 96% of the world’s container volumes.”
- Lloyd’s List Intelligence launched Predictive Fleet Analytics, the “first-ever air traffic control” for commercial shipping fleets that identifies vessel positions in near real-time.
- Cleveland-based on-demand delivery service provider, SupplyNow, launched its discovery-to-delivery solution this year. Its technology compares multiple vendors to find the best price, routes and locations to deliver items, ranging from food to equipment, quickly to restaurants.
ESG Goes Mainstream and Decarbonization-Related Resources Emerge – ESG adoption is close to being mainstream and new reporting requirements, such as SEC’s proposed rule requiring climate-related disclosures, will ensure its remains a top priority. In 2023, look for more SMBs (small-to-medium-sized businesses) to incorporate ESG strategies. According to Verdantix, SMBs, due to their roles in supply chains, are increasingly responding to requests about carbon performance. There is intense interest in measuring Scope 3 emissions, the category defined by Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol that encompasses a company’s value chain, by both SMBs and large enterprises (more resources here).
- Recently, Experian launched ESG Insight, a new service that provides a tailored estimate of an SMB’s greenhouse gas emissions split by scopes 1, 2, and 3 combined with a classification of its social impact and governance levels.
- In October, Sage, an accounting and HR platform provider for SMBs, acquired carbon accounting solution provider, Spherics, to support SMBs efforts to get to net zero.
- Earlier this year, supply chain risk management provider, Avetta, launched its new supply chain sustainability and ESG risk mitigation solution on the Avetta One Platform.
- In December, procurement technology intelligence provider, Spend Matters, added Carbon Management to its procurement tech discovery and matching tool, TechMatch.
- S&P Global Commodity Insights launched Platts carbon offset price premiums assessments in November to help refiners, shareholders and downstream purchasers better understand the emissions attributes of key transportation fuels.
Cross Sector/Company Supply Chain Data Sharing – There is an increased awareness of the value that cross-industry/cross company data sharing and collaboration can bring, especially when addressing complex supply chain challenges.
- In November, Open Supply Hub, which began as the Open Apparel Registry, launched its collaborative supply chain mapping platform, which is used by stakeholders in the apparel, electronics, sporting goods, beauty, consumer goods, and furniture sectors.
- In March, the Biden-Harris Administration launched Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW), an information sharing initiative to pilot key freight information exchange between participants with diverse perspectives across the supply chain.
- In November, Scoutbee announced its membership in the Catena-X Automotive Network, an open network comprised of a variety of automotive companies, suppliers and platform providers to strengthen innovation and decarbonization efforts.
Expanded Access to Patent Data for Innovation Exploration – Access to patent information is expanding to meet the needs of searchers who use this type of data for a variety of reasons, including identifying startups in tech-forward markets.
- Fitting with Outsell’s observation that patent data is “increasingly consumed by a wider range of professionals,” LexisNexis acquired IPLYTICS to enhance its solutions with “standards data and analytics capabilities to help it cross-sell to technical professionals.”
- IBM announced a demonstration project with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to test the IBM IP Advisor with Watson Demonstration System, which helps users locate patent information using their own terminology.
“The Metaverse is Inevitable” – Concerning the future of the metaverse, Dr. Louis Rosenberg states the metaverse is the “transition of the digital world from flat content to immersive experiences” and “it’s not dead…If anything, the metaverse is inevitable.” The potential for market intelligence and business research efforts is endless. It is predicted that users will fully immerse and interact with information, kind of like being at the scene of a news event to experience it firsthand.
Organizations, moving towards metaverse adoption, will need to understand the technologies, services, and products involved and procurement professionals do not want to be left out of research initiatives. Metaverse-related market intelligence is and will be needed for what Gartner calls “combinatorial innovation,” which includes multiple technologies and trends such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality (AR), flexible work styles, head-mounted displays, AR cloud, Internet of Things, 5G, AI, and spatial computing.
- Cambridge University Press & Assessment is partnering with augmented reality publishing company Ludenso to offer “enhanced” textbooks to students.
- GE Digital partnered with Visionaize to turn industrial asset data into visual 3D digital twins resulting in a fully interactive view of physical assets (facility-wide) with “traffic light-style visualizations of risk, corrosion, and integrity operating windows.”
- Advisory firms and academic institutions are ramping up offerings.
- In March, Accenture launched the Accenture Metaverse Continuum business group to help businesses with converging technologies, such as XR, blockchain, digital twins and edge computing, that will “reshape human experiences.
- Earlier in 2022, Deloitte launched its Unlimited Reality offering to help clients with strategies and technologies to create virtual worlds and includes a studio and innovation space.
- This summer, the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, launched its new online program, Business in the Metaverse Economy, which is a six-week certificate program for business and technology professionals.
For a more comprehensive listing of selected resources for procurement professionals to refer to when conducting research, please see ProcureSearch hub. Since last year, there have been a number of new indices and market maps added to the hub, in addition to new resources from recent startups. Classic industry standard resources are also listed and for each resource in the direct and indirect category listings there is a “use for” statement to succinctly describe its value.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay