Author Archives: Jason Busch

About Jason Busch

Jason Busch is the founder and Managing Director of Azul Partners (a media, publishing and advisory firm with ownership and management interest in a range of ventures). He started Azul Partners in 2004 after leaving FreeMarkets. The firm now controls the largest and most influential set of B2B, procurement and supply chain media and research resources online, reaching millions of readers and members each year through diverse properties including: Spend Matters, Spend Matters Plus/PRO, Spend Matters UK/Europe, Spend Matters Netherlands, MetalMiner, Public Spend Forum, Trade Financing Matters and Healthcare Matters. He is also active as a partner in Spend Matters Group, an advisory firm, which works with companies and private funds on transactional advisory and due diligence in the procurement, finance and supply chain areas. Jason is known for his role in shaping (and shaking up) the analyst, media and technology industries. He spends most of his time working on new ventures, helping put together strategic investments and buyouts for companies & private funds, and of course, continuing to research, write about and lecture on procurement, finance and supply chain topics that capture his interest. Prior to Azul Partners and FreeMarkets, Jason worked in consulting and merchant banking. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.

The Biggest Gaps and Opportunities in Services Procurement

workers Spend Matters and the Institute for Supply Management have been hard at work surveying members and readers – along with the Society for Human Resource Management community – on the disconnect between the management of direct material supply chains and services supply chains, primarily centered on contingent labor. Today I’ll highlight some of the qualitative responses received from more than 450 participants, who offered their opinions on the biggest gaps and opportunities they perceived in managing services procurement today.

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Spend Matters 50/50: DocuSign – A Provider to Know in 2015

- July 1, 2015 3:15 PM | Categories: Featured, Solution Providers

DocuSign is one of our 50 Providers to Know. We will be highlighting all 100 companies (50 to Know, 50 to Watch) in our 2015 Spend Matters Almanac over the span of 100 days. Practitioners are encouraged to browse the categories listed in our Almanac to find the provider that best fits their needs. DocuSign, likely the market leader in the digital signature sector, is a Spend Matters 50/50 provider that every procurement organization should know. You may be thinking: Why? Aren’t digital signatures just a simple modern version of an old fashioned John Hancock? Not exactly.

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Analyzing the Tradeshift/C2FO Partnership: Much More Than Meets the Discounting Eye

Analysis concept Earlier this week, Tradeshift and C2FO announced a partnership that will enable users of the e-invoicing, connectivity and supplier network platform to access C2FO’s discounting and working capital management technology through the Tradeshift platform. On the surface, the relationship may sound somewhat similar to both an earlier partnership Tradeshift had with Taulia (before going its own route with dynamic discounting) and alternative offerings in the sector that bridge transactional connectivity between buyers and suppliers and trade financing capabilities (e.g., Tungsten, Taulia). But dig below the surface and Tradeshift and C2FO appear to be starting a relationship that could prove much for strategic for customers of both solutions – and potentially an archetype of partnerships to come in the procurement, supply chain and trade financing worlds. This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an overview of C2FO’s unique approach to driving liquidity and working capital solutions that bridge both buyer and supplier needs. It also provides a succinct overview of the business and technology implications of the partnership and recommendations to customers of both products.

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Oildex Acquires OpenInvoice from ADP: History, Facts and Initial Analysis

- June 30, 2015 6:01 AM | Categories: Accounts Payable, Analysis, Breaking News, M&A, Technology

Businessman hand touching M & A on virtual screen - merger & acquisition concept Oildex, a service of Transzap Inc., announced Monday it acquired procure-to-pay provider OpenInvoice from Automatic Data Processing Inc. Spend Matters was aware that ADP had entered into a formal process many months ago to sell the OpenInvoice business line, which it originally acquired in 2010 from Calgary-based DO2 Technologies, also known as Digital Oilfield. Oildex is well known in the oil and gas industry for its core invoicing and supplier on-boarding capabilities, which enable business-to-business and financial systems integration. With the addition of OpenInvoice products to its value proposition, Oildex will strengthen its position and services offering by delivering improved integrated capabilities.

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M&As in Procurement Technology Work

- June 26, 2015 6:21 AM | Categories: Analysis, M&A, Procurement Commentary, Technology

business man offers hand shake in a technology data center A recent post by Spend Matters Contributing Analyst Michael Lamoureux got me thinking about the role mergers and acquisitions are playing in shaping the procurement technology landscape today. As I see it, the recent deal activity can help a number of organizations realize the often elusive acquisition synergy goal of having 1+1 = 3. But Michael, as may be clear from the title of his post, argues that M&A in procurement technology brings more sizzle than steak, especially from both a solution and customer perspective and a translation to financial returns. Here’s the broader question: How can 2 good minds (I hope!) examine the same topic and arrive at 2 very different opinions? I take a more optimistic lens. For reasons both planned and unplanned, M&A within the procurement sector has brought more positives than negatives, at least with many bigger name firms.

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Ingredients for Accounts Payable-Procurement Alignment

recipe There’s a tremendous library of technology vendor-sponsored drivel regarding the supposed alignment of A/P and procurement. This nonsense talk often has the people involved in purchasing more closely linking transactional procurement activities to accounts payable automation. Despite the simplistic rhetoric, the unfortunate reality inside the majority of companies is that A/P and procurement are far from being connected, and any tech initiatives to date around A/P automation and e-procurement have largely happened more through happenstance than coordination. This begs the question: What can be done to bring A/P and procurement – and by extension treasury and other aspects of finance teams – closer together when it comes to purchase-to-pay, payables and working capital programs?

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A Critical Take on M&A in Procurement Technology

- June 25, 2015 6:15 AM | Categories: M&A, Solution Providers, Technology

photodune-3111204-payoff-xs1-228x138 My colleague Michael Lamoureux, who runs the blog Sourcing Innovation and is also a contributing analyst at Spend Matters, recently posted a critical take on the state of M&A and procurement in which he argues that, despite rising M&A activity within the extended procurement technology ecosystem, the deals often makes less sense for firms to come together than it should. But is he right? As someone who has directly been involved in over a dozen transactions in the past few years, I think Michael makes a number of solid points but misses the mark in terms of why deals get done, as well as many of the more subtle reasons behind the 1+1=3 synergies many of the providers in the space that have done deals are starting to realize.

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Making the Case for M&A With Procurement Technology Firms: A Case-Based Analysis

- June 25, 2015 2:28 AM | Categories: Analysis, Innovation, M&A, Solution Providers

Businessman hand touching M&A These days, I spend a good deal of my time in the broader M&A and investment ecosystem surrounding procurement and supply chain technology. In the past few years, I’ve worked with dozens of providers and private equity firms exploring the market, vetting targets, conducting due diligence and related analyses and representing various parties at different stages of transactions through an affiliate firm. I see and hear a lot. Yet I’ve also learned a number of lessons of why and how M&A works in the sector, and in many ways it has proved transformative for both providers and their customers. In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, I share 3 M&A case studies (Xchanging / MarketMaker4, SAP / Ariba and SciQuest / CombineNet / Upside / AECSoft / Spend Radar) from the trenches and key lessons learned about why and how M&A can work for expected – and unexpected – reasons.

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Can SupplierPay Link Supplier Diversity to Early Payment?

- June 23, 2015 6:11 AM | Categories: Diversity, Supplier Management, Suppliers, Trade Financing

Dollar sign US-based supplier diversity programs often represent one of the true success stories of niche-based initiatives that can have real impact with limited budget and resources. Most programs at larger companies still only have a single or handful of dedicated resources and budgets – at best – for supporting technology and data enrichment to manage and track supplier credentials, and reporting pales in comparison to other procurement solution areas. Yet the quantification of program results, including those in which diversity improvement is mandatory in government supply chains, often speaks for itself. Might early payment programs, either by requirement or encouragement, be the next logical step to link to supplier diversity efforts?

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Companies Can’t Get No VMS Satisfaction: Exploring the HR Disconnect With Services Procurement Technology

dropped-failure-ice-cream-4091 In a recent multi-phase poll by Spend Matters and the Institute for Supply Management, we explored the poor adoption of services procurement technology within buying organizations. This lack of adoption (at least with best of breed tools) would appear to have a relationship with why so many companies aren’t managing external labor supply chains as efficiently as direct materials ones – and aren’t satisfied either with their program results. In this article, we share a number of responses we received from study participants on the apparent disconnect between procurement and HR and adopting the best technologies available.

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Budgeting and Accounting for E-Invoicing and Invoice Discounting

- June 22, 2015 2:22 AM | Categories: Accounts Payable, eProcurement / Procurement, Invoicing

Invoice While a range of solution providers in the purchase-to-pay (P2P) and trade financing areas are offering greater flexibility on pricing models (e.g., supplier-funded vs. buyer-funded, programs-based discount uptake/adoption/transaction fees, etc.), there’s the broader question of how one can think about budgeting and accounting for investment. Of course, such a question is also linked to where a program “sits” in a company. Here, the question of centralization matters. Yet is there a “best” model when it comes to budgeting for e-invoicing, P2P or related initiatives? Spend Matters experience, especially from an overall adoption perspective, suggests that a centralized approach with centralized payment is often the best place to start rather than having individual business units drive the initiative and funding. But whether this model makes sense over time will depend on the structure and capabilities of each organization – not to mention the willingness of a corporate central structure to fund initiatives on an ongoing basis. This Spend Matters PRO takes a look at this issue – read on...

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3 Classes of Technology to Support the Distance-Based Procurement Equation

- June 19, 2015 8:04 AM | Categories: Procurement Commentary, Sourcing, Technology

abstract-dark-red-technology-background-111413C50B5CD94C Over the past few days, I’ve spent time exploring the concept that global procurement is dead – or at least the idea that global sourcing and managing global supply chains is truly par for the buying course today. I suggested thinking in terms of distance is more important when working with international vendors, rather than focusing myopically on country-specific concerns. In this final piece in our series of global procurement, I’ll share 3 different classes of technology I believe could become invaluable for addressing the distance equation when working with suppliers.

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