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 supple 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.

Sourcing in Latin America (with Mexico Focus): A Primer for U.S. and Canada Procurement Organizations

- August 29, 2014 12:32 PM | Categories: Procurement Strategy & Planning, Sourcing, Technology

Earlier today, Jason Busch, Spend Matters’ founder and managing director, and Xavier Olivera, director of Spend Matters Mexico and Latin America, conducted an “Ask the Expert” webinar titled Spend Matters en Español: The State of Procurement in Mexico and Latin America. Given the interest among both practitioners and providers in the U.S. in understanding priorities and how to do business in Mexico and neighboring countries most effectively, we decided to write a quick primer to showcase those items that companies should be considering as they develop their efforts in the region. For U.S. and Canadian organizations, the total cost equation is increasingly adding up for Mexico sourcing – and the ease of doing business is rising as well (aside from new regulations and compliance requirements for e-invoicing, which we will be exploring in more detail in a separate analysis).

Considering rising U.S. interest in nearshore sourcing, the timing could not be more perfect to launch a new site focusing on Latin America procurement and supply chain (Spend Matters will be launching this site in conjunction with Xavier in Sept/Oct 2014). Awareness and interest is at an all-time high among Latin American companies. Mexican organizations, in particular, are prioritizing efforts to get smart on tech solutions including analytics, P2P, and sourcing. This Spend Matters PRO research brief begins to explore top procurement priorities in the region and the state of solution adoption – as well as how to do business effectively with local suppliers and procurement organizations.

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Purchases: Don’t Take Supplier Ethics Too Seriously, Let Them Buy You a Cup of Coffee

- August 29, 2014 2:00 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Supplier Collaboration

In my years of researching and assessing sourcing sophistication and approaches inside procurement organizations from around the globe, I’ve noticed there’s a universal bent – except perhaps in the most corrupt developing markets – to begin to discourage biases to/for one supplier or another in the sourcing process at the early stages of procurement maturity (after, let’s say, a base “stage zero”).

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Beeline, OnForce and the Future of Services Procurement and the Extended Workforce

Earlier this month, Beeline announced it had acquired OnForce, one of the original providers to offer a targeted, web-based platform to help companies manage freelance labor, especially – at least in OnForce’s case – regarding IT. The extended workforce market and related technologies such as OnForce that support it emphasize different areas and capabilities than other purchasing and services procurement technology. Moreover, OnForce and competitors such as WorkMarket actually have their own three-letter acronym (TLA) that is different from vendor management systems (VMS) or purchase-to-pay (P2P) solutions. Rather, they are often called freelancer management systems (FMS).

This two-part Spend Matters PRO brief provides a succinct competitive and market analysis of Beeline’s acquisition of OnForce. Authored by Jason Busch, managing director and founder of Spend Matters, and Thomas Kase, vice president, research, the series begins today by exploring the potential for companies to adopt FMS solutions. The second installment will explore how the acquisition may change the competitive landscape for other procurement and VMS providers and accelerate potential interest within Fieldglass and SAP about advancing their own entrance into this area – either through acquisition or organic development (both of which could also eventually take advantage of the capabilities of SuccessFactors). It also discusses how Oracle continues to “sit out” of the current services procurement marketplace evolution, offering only basic internal solutions tied to eProcurement capability within its existing product lines – and how and when Oracle customers should consider augmenting what they may already have purchased as standard procurement extensions.

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Accenture Spend Trends Report: Category Intelligence For Marketing and Spanish Speakers

For far too many companies, marketing is a category that is actively managed by key suppliers (e.g., agencies of record) rather than the organization itself. It’s one of the last “hold out” areas in which vendors typically have access to far better insight on performance and ROI than the organization spending money in the area. This is already changing, however, in larger companies, especially in CPG, retail and high-tech, as procurement leads and more analytical CMOs regain control and influence from the creative types that previously ran the show on what was all too often a solo basis.

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Accenture Spend Trends Report: Logistics Market Intelligence – “Get Local” and More

Accenture's Spend Trends Report from Q2 (published in October) covers a number of macroeconomic areas impacting procurement and supply chain costs while also diving into a number of category-specific trends. One area the research brief explores is the logistics market, offering a global perspective on it and opportunities for savings and procurement improvement.

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Millennials and Procurement: Changes Ahoy for Recruiting, Management, and Talent Development

A recent Procurement Leaders blog post, Millennials To Shake-Up Procurement, authored by my old friend Paul Teague, began to peck around at a topic that’s been on my mind for quite sometime: how to think about the future of delivering procurement capability in an environment where a new generation of workers, many of which have quite a different set of motivations and values from older generations, make up the majority, not the minority. It’s a topic of keen interest to me as my own broader organization grows (now 23 people) because the bulk of our new hires also come from the “millennial” generation as well. For those on a different planet, millennials range in age today from young teenagers to their young thirties.

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Air Canada Rouge — A Pictorial Guide to An Airline That Needs Some Deep Cleaning

- August 25, 2014 10:27 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Travel

Last week, I provided a business and personal travel review about a recent transatlantic trip on Air Canada Rouge — Air Canada’s “discount” airline-within-an-airline. After hearing from a number of people who have also “been rouged” — a new verb which I might define as “thinking that you are flying Air Canada when you are really flying a completely different airline that looks for the oldest, most inexpensive planes to fly and then only partially updates them" — I thought I’d shared some pictures from my recent trip. Enjoy the visual tour.

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Accenture Spend Trends Report: Energy Prices and Upward Cost Pressure

- August 25, 2014 6:23 AM | Categories: Category Management, Spend Management

As we continue our coverage of Accenture's Spend Trends Report, we turn our attention to the topic of energy prices and cost pressure. A number of Accenture’s findings are actually quite similar to a longer-term perspective we presented in a recent Spend Matters PRO research brief titled "Will the Cost of Energy Increase? On Statistics from the US Energy Information Administration." As Accenture notes in their analysis, energy prices are continuing on a long-term up-trend with short-term pullback and volatility along the way, albeit with a underlying long-term inflationary undertone.

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A Review of Air Canada Rouge – Just Say No for Business and Personal Travel

- August 22, 2014 2:20 AM | Categories: Friday Rant, Travel

air canada rouge I think I’ve found the bottom of the barrel of Star Alliance. While it may be painted “Rouge” on the outside, Air Canada’s new discount service made my family red with anger on the inside. Earlier this month, we took a family vacation to Europe returned from Rome to the U.S. through Canada. The routing that made the most sense – and what first seemed like a great deal in cashing in Citi points – involved an airline-within-an-airline that I had never heard of: Air Canada Rouge. Air Canada Rouge is supposedly a discount airline, but the prices were similar for the transatlantic routes to standard airlines.

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Lower-End Sourcing Tools: When to Just Say No (Part 3)

- August 19, 2014 10:42 AM | Categories: Sourcing, Technology

So far in this series, I have written about both the strengths and some of the limitations of basic sourcing tools – and when organizations should consider using them as opposed working with those that really do specialize in supporting more advanced sourcing organizations and sourcing requirements. Another key area that I’ve observed again and again in my research (including both public and private sector) in the case of more advanced tools is when organizations must have sourcing applications reflect heavy levels of governance and process based on regulatory or other requirements.

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Lessons From Beeline – Areas to Prioritize in Global Services Procurement (Part 2)

In our discussions with Beeline and their customers earlier this summer, we learned about and explored a number of emerging priorities in global services procurement. A number of these customer requirements are already being partially or fully supported by Beeline and other leading VMS providers – other requirements are still on the roadmap or in their early days on the product release schedule. In the first installment in this series, we considered the increased scrutiny that companies are giving to specific geographies where they will or will not host technology, as well as related access permission issues. In the second installment of this Spend Matters PRO series, Jason Busch, Spend Matters founder and managing director, and Thomas Kase, VP of research, turn their attention to the following areas of emerging interest in global services procurement efforts: deeper technical integration between VMS and others systems; security in a mobile world; emerging audited processes and control mechanisms; regional requirements; and cultural observations.

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Accenture Spend Trends Report: The Drivers of Category Trends Start with Economics

Who says that former sell-side analysts on Wall Street can’t do something better with their lives – like helping millions of procurement and supply chain managers make more informed decisions? My old friend and colleague Mark Hillman has shown there is hope for former financial minds that want to make a difference to industry. Mark recently joined Accenture after his former employer, Procurian, was acquired, and is leading up market intelligence efforts. One of this first public reports was released in early August. The Q2 edition of Accenture’s “Spend Trends” is a great piece of research that stands far above the type of analyses that knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) firms would charge clients a fee to deliver.

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