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.


BravoSolution Customer Conference Dispatch: All About the Data

data analytics

BravoSolution is one of dozens of providers that offer spend analysis today. But where it stands out from everyone else is on the front end (i.e., the analytics), not the back end (data classification and management) — and this is actually where procurement organizations usually get the most excited. Following the provider's customer event Friday, I sat down with two members of the BravoSolution analytics team to learn more about where they were headed — and also where they’ve been — in their analytics journey. They shared that BravoAdvantage 17 was really the “starting point” in BravoSolution’s latest analytics journey.

Technology Analysts and NDAs

Yesterday Coupa published a press release announcing that Thomas Kase, a former Spend Matters analyst, joined the cloud spend management vendor. I had the great pleasure of working with Thomas for many years and wish him the very best of luck in his new endeavor. In light of the news, I wanted to take a moment to highlight the confidentiality clauses that a technology analyst must adhere to, a requirement here at Spend Matters and Azul Partners as well as at other firms.

Getting the Most from Sourcing Optimization (Part 1): Lessons From Leaders

Global Risk Management Solutions (GRMS)

The combination of Trade Extensions and Coupa may seem a curious one for those unfamiliar with either organization, and may even raise questions for those who know both. As Trade Extensions’ recent customer event showed (see our live coverage here, here and here), the sourcing optimization specialist and its customers continue to push the limits of what is possible with e-sourcing. In contrast, procurement organizations that gravitate to Coupa — even highly sophisticated ones — tend to do so because they want to avoid complexity for their users and make the transactional buying process as simple as possible, all the while guiding users to make the best decisions for the business.

This two-part PRO research note provides additional perspective from Trade Extensions’ customer event on how this spectrum of complexity and simplicity may not be incongruous in the future; rather, sourcing optimization could serve as a better mousetrap to identify complexity, deconstruct it and ultimately redefine procurement’s role in the business by changing how the function is conceived. But before that can happen, there’s a more important topic address: the fact that most firms using Trade Extensions (and other sourcing optimization technologies) have only begun to scratch the surface of embracing complexity — let alone containing, controlling, distilling and simplifying it.

Part 1 of this series explores how an organization can get the most from sourcing optimization once it has signed up for it, which is easier said than done. We explore three areas: selecting the right users and training them effectively to use optimization, leveraging a center of excellence (CoE) to scale efforts and thinking big (i.e., beyond category-driven events alone). Spend Matters would like to thank all of the conference attendees and Trade Extensions for sharing these ideas.

Trade Extensions Dispatch: Templates on Sourcing Steroids or Just An “App” By Another Name?

Trade Extensions co-founder Dr. Arne Andersson just previewed the next release of the Trade Extensions platform (TESS 6.0) this afternoon at the Trade Extensions U.S. customer event in Atlanta. TESS 6.0 (coming this spring or early summer) marks a giant step forward. The entire user experience is transformed. More on this from us later, but one aspect of the new release is “apps.” These are essentially templates on steroids. Yet they’re simple and powerful at the same time.

Trade Extensions Dispatch: Is The Supply Chain Ready to Be Defined by Sourcing?

trade

Trade Extensions sells the most advanced sourcing optimization technology that Spend Matters has encountered on the market today (read our research, linked below, if you want to understand why). It’s capable of tackling extremely complex multitier sourcing challenges. This is one of the reasons Coupa is buying it. Yet today, most customers are just scratching the surface of what the tool can enable in the majority of their sourcing events (if not all).

Trade Extensions: Redefining E-Sourcing (Coupa and Beyond)

There are only a few events left that focus primarily on strategic sourcing over broader procurement topics. And there are fewer still at which you can learn something new in every presentation. Trade Extensions customer events have always done just that. The Spend Matters team has attended half a dozen or more of these events over the years. Earlier today I continued the tradition, touching down in Atlanta to attend “Redefining E-Sourcing,” Trade Extensions’ U.S. customer event, which so far has lived up to its name, albeit with a current chapter in the history of the provider's story coming to an end with its acquisition by Coupa -- and a new one about to begin.

Ivalua Raises $70 Million from KKR: First Take Analysis

Ivalua, a procurement technology suite vendor, announced Wednesday it had raised $70 million in a minority investment round from private equity firm KKR. Originally a France-based firm, Ivalua moved its headquarters to the U.S. in recent years and has continued to expand globally. While terms of the investment — nor Ivalua’s revenue — were not disclosed, Spend Matters estimates the transaction values the firm at less than the price/revenue multiple of Coupa and more than what Accel-KKR paid for Jaggaer (when it took SciQuest private).

What is Your Procure-to-Pay Persona? Understand Your Requirements and Mass Customize Your Vendor Shortlist

No two procurement or finance organizations are alike. Each has its own persona that reflects not only its own value proposition and engagement approach but also the stakeholders it serves — and its supply base. The same principle holds true of procure-to-pay (P2P) application providers. Each has a persona (or more than persona) that reflects its value proposition, solution strategy and targeted customer segments. Therefore, companies should seek providers whose personas best align to theirs. In other words, there is no “magic” solution provider, and finding the right fit is critical, because a P2P application represents the main interface for most of procurement’s internal customers — and a common face to suppliers, as well.

To that end, we are excited to break down our approach to Spend Matters SolutionMapTM, a comparative analytical framework for practitioners to evaluate relevant solutions to meet their procurement needs. Our SolutionMap initiative depicts vendor rankings based on specific buyer personas to reflect the unique value proposition, solution strategy and customer segments served by a vendor. Participating vendors are scored both on their solution as well as on customer value, based on in-depth tech reviews (including live demos) by the Spend Matters analyst team and aggregated direct customer input from surveys. Each SolutionMap is updated quarterly rather than in 12-month (or longer) cycles, to accurately reflect the pace of market developments.

As part of our Spend Matters SolutionMap vendor comparison ranking, for procure-to-pay solutions (publishing in the coming days, with subsequent quarterly updates), the Spend Matters analyst team has dedicated considerable time to developing the unique organizational “personas” that we’ve most often seen in our decades of experience working with procurement organizations. We have used these personas to weight the requirements that we used in solution scoring, which includes customer satisfaction scoring by solution customers.

AnyData Solutions: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary & Competitive Analysis

spend analytics

AnyData Solutions competes in a fragmented market for spend analytics. Yet unlike many of its peers, it is not a common procurement vendor name. But with better awareness, it could be a strong analytics competitor globally, especially considering how the solution packs a powerful one-two functional and pricing punch.

From a functional standpoint, AnyData’s rapid visual development framework can enable customers to go beyond spend analysis use cases to create custom, domain-specific analytics solutions (e.g., analytics centric contract lifecycle management and supplier performance management reporting and capability). Combined with AnyData’s low-cost pricing models (a fraction of the cost of other solutions under most scenarios), it should make the solution a shortlist candidate for just about any size organization needing a spend analytics platform that wants the option to move beyond the basics.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering AnyData Solutions provides an objective SWOT analysis of AnyData and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to AnyData, and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering AnyData. Previous installments provide an in-depth look at AnyData as a firm and its specific solution capability (Part 1) and a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience (Part 2).

AnyData Solutions: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses

Analytics

AnyData Solutions is not just a standalone spend analytics toolset that includes “the basics.” Rather, it is a standalone platform for capturing, managing, sharing and collaborating on structured datasets of any type.

As an end-to-end analytics platform, AnyData is quite different from other approaches to spend analytics on the market today. On many levels, AnyData is closer to the data-centric heritage of BIQ, as it is fundamentally a self-service analytics solution, compared with the vast majority of spend analytics providers, which prefer to handle cleansing and classification activities “as a service,” even if they offer to sell the classification engine separately (which rarely happens).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores AnyData’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations and other customers decide whether AnyData is the right fit for their need. The first installment provided a company and solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering AnyData. Part 3 will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

AnyData Solutions: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

There must be something in the procurement climate in the United Kingdom that encourages procurement technology entrepreneurs to start spend analytics businesses. Coming on the heels of Spikes Cavell (acquired by Xchanging), Spend360 (acquired by Coupa), Simfoni and Rosslyn Analytics is the newest upstart, AnyData Solutions, which was founded in May of 2013. AnyData is yet another spend analytics vendor with strong capabilities, even some unique ones. But like many of its peers, it has been undercapitalized from the start and as a result has not invested in the type of sales and marketing efforts necessary to make it a household name. It has also lacked the channel and business development prowess of Spikes and Spend360, which helped drive significant, yet behind the scenes, growth.

Perhaps most important, as chronicled by Spend Matters previously (see: Exploring the Customer Experience of a Spend Analytics Provider that Should be On Your Shortlist), AnyData’s broad claim around the delivery of broad, powerful analytics is not the typical smoke and mirrors marketing that many vendors put forth. Our analysis suggests it delivers a true end-to-end analytics platform (unlike just about every other spend analysis solution) that is extensible across functions, industries and different use cases both inside and outside of procurement.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about AnyData Solutions and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and a detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider AnyData in the procurement technology and solutions area. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Jaggaer Beyond the Rebrand: Building an Integrated Procurement Suite and Industry-Specific Capabilities

Earlier in the year, Jaggaer (formerly SciQuest) announced a new release Gazelle (17.1), which marked the largest set of enhancements to the solution set since Accel KKR’s acquisition of the company and the subsequent changing of the product development and management guard at the vendor. While the Spend Matters team is looking forward to getting a full deep dive of the latest product releases as part of our SolutionMapSM efforts in the coming weeks, we recently spent time with Jaggaer to understand some of the product philosophies and investments the new team is embracing, as well as to take a cursory look at some of the suite's new capabilities and new stack-level investments