Jaggaer Again Leads with its Chin in BravoSolution Acquisition

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About 23 years ago, three lab equipment salesmen walked into my office in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. They asked for some help, wondering if our small web services firm would be willing to build its proof of concept app — connecting a searchable lab equipment catalogue to a browser-based interface that could support purchases. (Remember, this was 1995, just a year after the graphical browser was introduced.)

Anyway, we did it, and those three guys turned out to be the founders of SciQuest. A few years after, I moved back to Pittsburgh to help get CombineNet started. And about 10 years later, after buying Upside and Spend Radar, those guys who showed up in my office bought us, too.

Now reorganized and rebranded as Jaggaer, the company is back in the news having bagged yet another trophy, BravoSolution.

“We have best of breed, fully developed solutions… across a vast swath of geographies and industries,” Robert Bonavito, CEO of Jaggaer, said in the press release.

“Best of breed?” In some cases. “Fully developed.” OK. “Across a vast swath of geographies and industries?” Absolutely no argument.

While BravoSolution has been a steady player in the U.S. market for a long time, it has never achieved the stature it enjoys in Europe and Asia, where it’s the dominant solution provider in several regions and industries. The point is, the company’s revenues in these markets are a multiple of what they are in the U.S. because its consultative approach plays better on the other side of the pond than it does here. For whatever reason, the U.S. just seems to prefer a more tech-based approach to vendor selection.

While terms and conditions of the transaction are not public, this is a bigger deal than U.S.-centric market followers may think. Regardless of how much Jaggaer paid, the most important feature of this deal is that the U.S. procurement market’s most prolific hunter-gatherer just bought itself a global footprint.

Yes, the solution pieces are all there now. And, as Bonavito argues, they’re all best of breed. But what he doesn’t mention, nor does Jim Wetekamp, BravoSolution’s CEO, is the word “integration.”

I’ve got a different take on this. While analysts like to jump on Jaggaer’s “lack of integration success,” I like to point out that I see little evidence of any effort.

Jaggaer seems more than happy to continue to lead with its chin on this one, as it seems steadfast in its belief that best-of-breed apps loosely sewn and supported by category experts trump more tightly knit DIY suites, which we tend to judge on the basis of UI consistency. It’s an attitude grounded in a belief that says, “Data integration is not the issue anymore; spend management is about building competitive advantage. Challenge yourself with the best tools available — don’t settle.”

Tastes great. It’s bold. Only time will tell if it’s more filling.

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Voices (2)

  1. Tom:

    Thanks! Like most things worthwhile, we tend to learn them the hard way…

  2. Gary Hare:

    Tom – great post! Interesting times. The part about how the consultative approach plays better in Europe/Asia is especially true – not understanding this is the root cause of failure when entering the US market.

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