What is the charmed length of creating a category strategy?

Will Category Managers be ready to invest more than 3 minutes into preparing a category strategy in the future?

According to a recent Financial Times article, Spotify identifies a 3-minute song as a perfect match. I enjoy observing my young daughter skipping each song after just a few minutes in – always eager to stream the next one. This is weird as a classical music fan, but I can understand.

Much can be put down to technology and the shift from ownership of long-playing records and CDs to today’s instantaneous streaming of digital singles. The explosion in the amount of music available on platforms such as Spotify and the fact that a royalty only gets triggered when a user listens to a song for 30 seconds or more has put a premium on instant appeal.

What about 3-Minute-Category-Strategies? How does it sound to you?

Cirtuo has invested 10.000+ hours in R&D work in the past 12 years to automate category strategy. With the correct input parameters, e.g., spend data, process & contract data, and the usual procurement analytics like Kraljic, Chessboard, Preferencing, SWOT, 5-Forces, business requirements, risks, an AI technology can suggest a solid strategy for a category or supplier. So here is the future approach:

  • 1 minute for reading the technology strategy suggestion
  • 1 minute spent contextualizing it
  • 1 minute to share it with key stakeholders for preliminary validation


There’s a massive acceleration around analytics and strategy at present. Emerging technology allows a fast track, such as Contextualized Market Intelligence, Negotiation Chat Bots, and AI-assisted Guided Strategy Creation, to name a few.

Category managers ask me about the quality and accuracy of a Category Strategy devised and delivered by technology. There is a simple answer: Procurement stakeholders will challenge it anyhow after your storytelling. There is no way of avoiding human interaction, regardless of how automatic and fast the content gets.

Category managers must shift from focusing on PPT and research to managing stakeholder expectations and addressing changing business requirements in an agile manner.

What do you think, are Category Managers prepared to invest more than 3 minutes in preparing a category strategy in the future?

I am curious to hear your thoughts.

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The internal analysis as the foundation for holistic category strategies

Do you remember the last time you took the wrong ramp onto the highway and how it made you feel? Most people instantly know that they took a wrong turn and hope that the next exit is not too far off. Unfortunately, our brain doesn’t experience the same stress when taking the wrong turn in developing category strategies. Category strategies in Procurement are a methodical approach for defining the best way to buy goods or services for their business. Done right, they help companies align business requirements with market realities to leverage market opportunities and mitigate risks. Done wrong, they might lead us down the wrong road.