Author Archives: Jason Busch

About Jason Busch

The closest thing to a household name in procurement and supply chain, Jason has led the charge as an advocate, futurist and evangelist since the 1990s. Initially at FreeMarkets and then an adviser to Ariba and other firms, Jason branched out on his own to establish the Spend Matters brand (parent company: Azul Partners), which emerged to become the largest news and information portal covering the sector. Over the years, Azul Partners has expanded this digital portfolio to 12 affiliated properties including leading titles such as Spend Matters UK/Europe, MetalMiner and Public Spend Forum, making it one of the largest independent B2B digital media firms. Jason divides his time between research, speaking, corporate finance advisory and mentoring dozens of firms and procurement organizations in the industry. Prior to Azul Partners and FreeMarkets, Jason worked in consulting and merchant banking. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Personal investment disclosures: Azul Partners, Inc., Public Spend Forum, LLC, Remitia Ltd., RJSL Group LLC, Sigaria Ltd., Spare to Share, LLC, Spendata LLC, SpendLead, Inc., Spend Matters Europe Ltd., Spend Matters Group, LLC.

Integration Matters! The Vendor Management System as Hub, Not Island


On many levels, we still tend to look at a VMS as a procurement, IT and HR island — stuck by itself somewhere deep in a spend ocean, surrounded not by the other services spend categories, systems and users, but rather stuck thousands of miles away in a blue ocean of only partially tapped human capital. Bad metaphors aside, without question, the VMS is not an island — even if a company wants to put it into a tidy cloud technology box. Indeed, how a VMS integrates with other IT, procurement and HR systems and third-party services will largely dictate how effective it is in driving contingent workforce and service management value beyond just ensuring regulatory/statutory compliance and capturing and controlling spending activity.

Corridor Company: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

man and woman signing contract paper

Contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions are increasingly becoming a component, or module, within procurement technology suites. Given this trend, while there are dozens of choices in the market, there are fewer “pure-play” solutions. For example, even long-time contract specialist vendors like Selectica have acquired sourcing and procurement vendors (e.g., Iasta and b-pack in Selectica's case, which changed its name to Determine). And even specialized providers such as Apttus have expanded their capabilities well beyond standard CLM solution functionality. Only a handful of pure-play CLM vendors remain, including Exari, Icertis, Conga Novatus, Nextance, Revitas and Symfact. We can add to this list Corridor Company, a provider that is not as well known in the CLM and procurement technology sectors as it should be.

As one of the few independent CLM vendors left, Corridor Company occupies a unique position in the procurement technology software market. Not without limitations, Corridor should appear on more CLM selection shortlists than it does. Spend Matters' analysis of the platform suggests Corridor is a full-featured provider that can meet the majority of requirements for enterprise contract management needs, including need deep visibility into global buy-side and sell-side contracts. Further, Corridor also offers differentiated capabilities around obligation management, distributed reporting and counter-party management.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations make informed decisions about whether they need a solution like Corridor Company for contract lifecycle management. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Corridor Company. The rest of this multi-part research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Partnerships and Partner Ecosystems Matter

Tradeshift Baiwang

A subtle shift took place at Zycus Horizon this year compared with past events. Partners started to do more than show up, instead engaging with both the Zycus team and customers. Zycus has a huge opportunity to increase its customer base and defend its existing customer fort from an increasing number of competitors by building out a partner ecosystem that can expand the value of its own solutions. Yet it has been slow to the game to date — a significant tactical mistake, in our view.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Bad Seinfeld References Meet New Procurement Tech “Ingredients” (Including Blockchain)


Yesterday at Zycus Horizon, I gave a talk to a small breakout group titled “Cooking in a New Source-To-Pay Kitchen.” The topic gave me carte blanche to essentially bring up trends and ideas shaping the future of procurement and combine these with some bad references from my favorite Seinfeld episodes (for example, imagine the equivalent of procurement saying “no soup for you” to stakeholders that it would rather avoid engaging). Here are the five core cooking ingredients for new procurement dishes, according to yours truly.

Keelvar: Solution Review & Analysis

apinan/Adobe Stock

The capability of most e-sourcing suites has evolved relatively slowly compared with other procurement technology areas in the past decade. Yet there is one exception to this rule: sourcing optimization, or as some label it, “advanced sourcing.”

While advanced sourcing technologies got their start supporting logistics procurement events across thousands of lanes, they have now evolved to support just about any strategic category of spend where a direct competition route that encourages apples-to-apples bids in a reverse auction manner will likely not yield the best result. Sourcing optimization solutions today have supported some of the largest and most complex sourcing events ever conducted — in some cases, single events spanning multiple tiers of the supply chain with more than $1 billion in expenditure being awarded. Yet overall, adoption has lagged the market for general-purpose e-sourcing tools and suites.

Keelvar, a four-year-old firm that started as a spinout from a research lab at a university, is hoping to change this. Keelvar's primary differentiation is that, unlike the majority of sourcing optimization software providers, it realized from day one that the solution wasn't a better optimization module, it was a better sourcing platform where ease of use was the most important driver of adoption. This Spend Matters Plus analysis provides an introduction to the Keelvar solution for procurement organizations looking to understand whether they should consider adding the provider to their shortlists for consideration and competitive alternatives.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: ‘Pseudo’ Suites Do Not Lead to Sweet Adoption Levels


During his strategy and keynote talk Monday at Zycus Horizon, CEO and Founder Aatish Dedhia dropped one of the more consistent, direct and humorous phrases he has ever used to describe what Zycus is not doing: pursuing the development of a “pseudo procurement technology suite.” For Dedhia, a suite is about breadth, depth and, ultimately, adoption levels. And there’s nothing “pseudo” about that. I think.

Zycus Horizon Dispatch: Head West, Young Vendor (But Not Too Far West)!

Coach driving into sunset

I touched down late last night to Zycus Horizon (along with my colleague Pierre Mitchell), the procurement suite vendor’s annual customer (and prospect) conference. The event is truly managed from the heart – the Zycus team is so committed to the details (and running it themselves), from being on top of every aspect of speaker planning and scheduling to orchestrating a great set of morning sessions, including one of the best outside keynotes I’ve heard in recent years (Space Shuttle Captain, Mark Kelly). But as impressive as Mark was, Zycus’ founder and CEO Aatish Dedhia has come such a long way as a leader and voice over the years at the helm of Zycus. Aatish is an engineer and strategist at heart, who gets more comfortable every year with not only explaining Zycus’ position in the market, but offering a truly personal view of why his firm is making investments in key areas and why.

Basware: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive and Summary Analysis


Basware faces significant competition from multiple segments of the procure-to-pay market. It competes against a range of vendors, including ERP providers that offer e-procurement and supplier network capabilities (along with varying degrees, based on vendor, of e-invoicing capabilities). It also competes against e-invoicing and supplier enablement specialists, regional supplier network / e-invoicing providers, independent e-procurement providers (e.g., Coupa) and traditional AP automation and scan/capture providers. As a trend, competition is increasing (not decreasing) for Basware, which represents a challenge given the generally limited understanding in the market about what sets the provider apart and a lack of brand awareness within procurement. Further, the marketing effort it has expended thus far in the trade financing area (which has not yet resulted in material payables or receivables financing volume) and the fact Basware is largely unknown in North America as an e-procurement provider – even with the addition of Verian – also represents hurdles from a competitor perspective. This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Basware offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other procure-to-pay, AP automation and supplier network providers. It also includes a user selection guide, user interface and user experience (UI/UX) analysis and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep-dive solution overview, a SWOT analysis, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Basware’s product line.

BravoConnect Dispatch: Where Configuration and Data/Analytics Architecture Converge


One of BravoSolution’s mantras in North America in recent years has been: get out of the professional services business.
Now, this is not entirely true – as a cloud-based solutions provider, there’s an inevitable amount of configuration associated with deployments (and source-to-contract vendors tend to do this in-house as opposed to with consulting partners). But what’s curious is that one aspect of professional services BravoSolution has not given up is one that separates it out from many other providers we’ve recently examined...

Determine: Solution Review & Analysis


Determine, a procurement suite technology vendor that is in the process of releasing a re-platformed solution (incorporating Selectica, b-pack and Iasta) onto a single code base and stack, has done a remarkable amount to bring multiple solutions together in a unified platform in a limited development timeframe. But how does the new Determine solution compare to other source-to-pay (S2P) and procure-to-pay (P2P) vendors and what are the differentiators (including strengths and weaknesses) compared with other providers, including Coupa, Ariba/SAP, Oracle, BravoSolution, GEP, Zycus and others? This Spend Matters Plus analysis provides an introduction to the Determine solution for procurement organizations looking to understand whether they should consider adding the provider to their shortlists for consideration and competitive alternatives.