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.

We Are All Spend Mavericks At Heart: Indirect Spend Challenge No. 3

- March 5, 2015 6:31 AM | Categories: Analysis, Spend Analysis, Spend Management

action-figure-hero-muscles-4048 copy With apologies to an unnamed friend and expert in the sector who goes by the nickname “spend maverick,” one of the major challenges of indirect spend is that we’re all truly mavericks at heart about our buying activities. And no one e-procurement tool would change this. Seriously, ask yourself (take off the procurement hat for a minute), isn’t circumventing policy (or pleading ignorance) often much easier than following the rules? It absolutely is. And we can often find better pricing by circumventing rules and system rather than following them, especially for less frequently purchasing items and services.

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Create and Use Big Data: Dispatch From Procurement Leaders’ America’s Congress

IMG_2215 I’m at the Procurement Leaders' America's Congress in Miami today. Having sat through the morning sessions so far, I can say the trip has been worth it already, not even factoring into the one-on-one discussions and catch-up with old faces and new. Indeed, the number of ideas and takeaways I’ve jotted down from the keynotes has been off the charts. Rio Tinto’s Managing Director and CPO Ramsay Chu stole the show this morning with story after story about data-centered initiatives including how to create and source new information that can take analytical problem solving in entirely new levels.

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Indirect Spend Challenge No. 2: Technology is Not Optimized for the Actual Customer

tumblr_n3iu6mHZXC1sfie3io1_1280 Earlier in the week, I wrote an article on the notion that procurement doesn’t manage indirect spend – our suppliers and stakeholders do. This is really the first major challenge we face in bringing chaos to indirect spend today (outside of perhaps our largest categories). The second major indirect spend challenge we see is that technology is often optimized for procurement (the buyer) rather than the actual consumer or the end user in the business.

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Exploring Deem P2P, T&E and the Overall Customer Experience

- March 4, 2015 2:25 AM | Categories: Analysis, P2P, Travel, Vendor Snapshots

DD10104D23 Some may describe Deem (formerly Rearden Commerce) as part of the B2B “undead” – a provider that somehow survived many attempts to bury it. But today, Deem has emerged from a darker chapter in its history with a set of procurement- and finance-oriented purchasing and spend management solutions, some of which are highly differentiated in nature and others that do a basic job in core areas. In this Spend Matters research brief, we provide a cursory look at the evolution and capabilities of Deem’s solution for P2P and T&E. The first installment in this series covered a history of Deem within the procurement sector as well as a quick comparative glance at its spend analysis and contract management and products, including how they stack up in the market. The second installment explored Deem Sourcing, Catalog Management and Contract Management.

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Procurement Doesn’t Manage Indirect Spend – Suppliers and Stakeholders Do

- March 3, 2015 9:01 AM | Categories: Procurement, Services and Indirect Spend, Spend Management

dollar wallpaper One of the toughest challenges for procurement organizations tasked with managing indirect spend is that they don’t do it – their suppliers and stakeholders do. Consider the sometimes limited visibility procurement has into demand, pricing, contracts and related areas for indirect spend, especially those that are managed and/or negotiated at a decentralized level in the business. In addition, procurement often lacks the same level of understanding of the physical and financial supply chain flow for indirect material that they do for direct.

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Measuring Supplier Onboarding Success in Trade Financing

- March 3, 2015 6:20 AM | Categories: Supplier Management, Supplier Performance, Trade Financing

F672CBDC0F My colleague David Gustin (Trade Financing Matters) likes to say that supplier onboarding success is measured in 3 simple ways: The success rate onboarding suppliers you targeted, the success rate in having suppliers use the service and the retention rate after a period of time. These metrics are a perfect starting point to measure the success of supplier onboarding initiatives in buyer-led trade financing, regardless of program type.

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Exploring Deem Sourcing and Deem Catalog Management

- March 3, 2015 2:30 AM | Categories: Analysis, Sourcing, Vendor Snapshots

blur-evening-sun-macbook-air-170 Deem is back from having taken a detour in its original B2B path. And this time, the Spend Matters research team believes it is here to stay, especially if it can carve out a strong niche for itself with creative technology and embedded contracts for the SMB market for procurement (along with solutions it can also sell to larger companies as it continues to expand and develop the solutions it acquired from Ketera and is also developing organically). In this Spend Matters research brief, we consider the evolution and capabilities of Deem’s solution for sourcing, supplier enablement and catalog management. The first installment in this series covered a history of Deem within the procurement sector as well as a quick comparative glance at its spend analysis and contract management and products, including how the company stacks up in the market.

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Supplier Enablement For Trade Financing: Starting to Transact

- March 2, 2015 8:57 AM | Categories: Analysis, Invoicing, Supplier Management, Trade Financing

Networking-102013329E0194F8 copy Supplier enablement for trade financing is not just a question of initial onboarding efforts and data collection. It also requires thinking through all the elements of how one will gather the necessary information on a transactional level to provide visibility and triggers for early payment. A range of e-invoicing and supplier/business network technologies can enable these steps.

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What Procurement Needs for the Circular Economy

calendar-checklist-list-3243-830x550 I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought recently to the impact of the circular economy on procurement. I also recently traded ideas with Tradeshift’s Christian Lanng on a Spend Matters webinar. Christian shared his take on the topic recently on Procurement Leaders blog, as well, which included a number of steps organizations must make from a procurement and A/P perspective as they march down the circular economy path. I’ll share a few of these below as well as my own commentary on them.

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Deem: A B2B Phoenix Rises Once Again

1A0499C042 Deem is a B2B phoenix. Leveraging a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) strategy a decade before anyone knew what PaaS was, Deem rose to fame but succumbed to the lures of custom development – in part by accident, as its customers and board members coerced it in this direction – on its platform along with unexpected legal nastiness following an acquisition (Ketera). Having risen from the ashes and refocusing on the end user with a proven corporate travel product increasing P2P capability and a broader set of procurement technology assets that tie back to the original PaaS vision, Deem is poised to inject both new competition and ideas into the SMB, mid-market and enterprise markets in 2015 for managing, directing and controlling corporate spending. This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides history and context behind Deem’s challenges in the market and how it tackled them to bring its current suite of spend and expense management products to market – including the evolution of the acquired Ketera product set.

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Which Procurement Conferences Should You Attend? Start With Procurement Leaders

- February 27, 2015 8:57 AM | Categories: Conferences, Friday Rant

1CA9B8B930 (1) It’s almost that time of the year again (at least we hope), when the freezing winter thaws into spring and the many feet of accumulated ice and snow in Chicago and the East Coast is replaced by, well, mud. Once this transformation starts, you know procurement conference season is right around the corner. That and the Chicago Cubs starting to once again migrate their way into last place (which usually happens around the end of April). Indeed, spring is nearly here, along with the dozens of procurement shows that kick off the warmer months. I am often asked by just about everyone in the market: Which procurement events should I attend?

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The Circular Economy – Sustainability Is One Element at the Core

- February 27, 2015 6:17 AM | Categories: Learning / Research, Sustainability

UJVJGGIY24 Last week, I debated Tradeshift’s Christian Lanng in a live Spend Matters webinar as we jointly explored the topic of the circular economy. In our discussion, we spoke at length both about what the circular economy is as well as what it will mean for procurement organizations of the future. One key element of the circular economy is encouraging sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) through having companies take greater ownership of the end-to-end product lifecycle.

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