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.


Coupa: A Pre-IPO Primer for Investors & Procurement

stock prices

P2P provider Coupa filed preliminary paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Thursday to go public, a move many in the procurement technology space had anticipated this year. The San Mateo, California-based company plans to raise up to $75 million with its initial public offering and would be the second unicorn to be newly listed this year.

But what exactly is Coupa, and how does it stack up to competitors that offer similar software enabling procurement, accounts payable and other related business functions? This analysis provides an overview of Coupa and its solutions to help investors and procurement practitioners get up to speed on the provider. Included in this Spend Matters Plus+ brief are an overview of Coupa’s technology offerings, an evaluation of the sector it serves and a survey of the competitive landscape.

For an exhaustive report on Coupa and its prospects as a publicly traded company, complete with SWOT, functional support, user experience and competitive analyses, please see our Spend Matters PRO briefing document.

Coupa IPO: Company, Technology & Competitive Overview

NYSE

On Thursday, Coupa filed Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), putting to rest months of rumors about its intent to become a public company. We’ve previously written about why a Coupa IPO would be good for procurement, but is Coupa a good bet for investors?

This analysis provides a procurement-centric overview of Coupa and its solutions. It does not dissect (or even consider) financials, nor does it highlight the SEC registration documents in the least — or even refer to them, although the filing documents validate many of our estimates and other assumptions that we’ve written in previous Spend Matters and Spend Matters PRO analyses in the past. Rather, this research brief explains how Coupa fits into the market: where it’s strong, where it’s weak, who its true competitors are and how procurement organizations are looking at it — and what we, at Spend Matters, think as well.

This Spend Matters PRO briefing document includes a summary overview of Coupa, definitions of e-procurement and e-invoicing, a SWOT analysis, a comparative footprint and product analysis, a competitive alternatives analysis, functional coverage ratings in key modules and areas and a Coupa outlook. This comprehensive document is also available for individual download.

Vinimaya Launches Aquiire Platform: First Take

Amazon Business

Earlier this week, Vinimaya announced the official launch of Aquiire, a cloud-based, real-time e-procurement suite. The announcement may confuse some, as Vinimaya has always been in the e-procurement business. But in fact, this is an entirely new solution, albeit one that leverages Vinimaya’s federated search, shopping and marketplace product roots. It’s also the first time Vinimaya has delivered a bundled P2P solution versus individual piece parts.

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

cloud computing

Just when you thought that a single procure-to-pay (P2P) solution per company was enough to drive transactional compliance, reduce maverick spend and maximize savings, along comes a provider that challenges the notion of one, ubiquitous e-procurement tool within one organization. The technology vendor in question is Claritum (and as a side note, there’s actually more than one provider in this market, but we’ll get to that later in the series during our competitive analysis in the final installment in our review).

Claritum is a cloud-based P2P solution provider focused on helping procurement organizations address much of the lifecycle of categories that typically go unmanaged, sometimes in part, but often in whole. Founded in 2002 with the goal of helping companies streamline procurement for print and marketing services, Claritum now addresses a much broader range of complex services and tail spend categories. The multi-party solution addresses the needs of not just buyers and suppliers — often in ways different from standard P2P platforms — but also other intermediaries in the supply chain for complex services categories.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Claritum’s strengths and weaknesses across its procurement technology suite, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor as a potential procure-to-pay solution. Part 1 of our analysis comprised a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Claritum. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

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

digital

Procure-to-pay (P2P) technology providers do not always fit cleanly inside a single box or comparative two-by-two matrix. The solution requirements that support shopping, tactical sourcing, transactional buying, invoicing and related supplier management activities can vary materially based on the underlying type of organization and categories they are designed to support. Procurement organizations can extend generic P2P solutions like Ariba and Coupa to many industries and categories. But specialist vendors can still differentiate in certain areas, even building a business case to sit alongside big name P2P solutions for the same customer.

Claritum is one such specialist. The firm launched in 2002 with an initial focus on supporting transactional procurement needs for print and marketing services. Over time, it built from this foundation to focus its P2P solution efforts on supporting complex purchases and low-volume spend areas that fall directly in the center of a Kraljic matrix rather than fitting nicely into one of the four quadrants — not to mention enabling spend that traditionally goes “unmanaged,” at least from an end-to-end definitional perspective.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Claritum and its unique approach to transactional procurement, including strengths and weaknesses in the P2P technology market, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Claritum. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

Die Factoring, Die!

coal

My view of factoring is that it’s the equivalent of burning coal with turn of the early 20th century technology for power or heat when we could be splitting atoms or using wind or solar power instead. Like using coal for energy, factoring is wasteful, inefficient and generates unintended side effects. But what’s the solution, you ask? Easy.

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

SciQuest

While it is possible to label SciQuest as a procurement technology suite vendor (source-to-pay, source-to-contract and procure-to-pay), the reality is that SciQuest competes in multiple, infrequently overlapping segments of the procurement technology market. To date, SciQuest has generally had different sets of customers, prospects and different competitors for its core P2P product, primarily serving the higher education, research and public sector verticals through sourcing optimization, spend/supply analytics and contract lifecycle management solutions. This stands in contrast to many of its peers, which have generally chosen to focus on fewer market segments rather than more.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering SciQuest offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other procurement technology providers (suite and otherwise). 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 SciQuest.

Do Catalogs Serve Suppliers or Buyers More?

platform

Before concluding the last post in this series (see Should We Kill or Evolve the Catalog and Are Catalogs Fleecing Procurement of the Best Deal? Five Arguments in Favor and Against the P2P Catalog), I posed the question: Are current catalog approaches helping suppliers or procurement more? Today, I would argue that first-generation catalog approaches are more of a tool to make procurement a tool than anything else. But this point begs another question: Is there a better way to control (and minimize) expenditure in meeting the same business user buying requirements than using a catalog?

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

SciQuest

SciQuest is arguably the most challenging procurement technology suite vendor to compare directly to the competition. This perhaps explains why it tends to surface less in competitive procure-to-pay (P2P) or source-to-pay (S2P) suite opportunities outside of its traditional key vertical sectors for transactional procurement (e.g., higher education, laboratory/research, life sciences, public sector). From a comparative perspective, SciQuest causes us to scratch our heads, often with delight, but occasionally with frustration, given how far it has come from a suite and modular perspective and the potential it has in the market that it has yet to realize.

But what gets us most excited about SciQuest’s procurement technology capabilities and what are our quibbles? This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores SciQuest’s strengths and weaknesses across its procurement technology suite, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor as a potential S2P, P2P, source-to-contract (S2C) or modular, standalone solution provider. Part 1 of our analysis comprised a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider SciQuest. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

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

SciQuest

Three members of the Spend Matters team spent the start of last week at SciQuest’s customer conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The event, coming just shortly after Accel-KKR closed its acquisition of SciQuest, featured a mix of customers, prospects and partners from several different industries and market sectors. Many procurement organizations we spoke to at the event are currently using SciQuest in select areas rather than the full suite. Others, especially in SciQuest’s core historic markets of higher education and government, are using multiple modules and, in certain cases, the broader suite to support procurement requirements. We also had to a chance to spend a number of hours in the demonstration center looking at SciQuest’s latest 16.2 release in detail.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores SciQuest’s strengths and weaknesses in the source-to-pay (S2P) suite market, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider SciQuest. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.

Statess (State of Flux): Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive & Summary Analysis

supplier management

Statess, a supplier management technology solution developed and owned by State of Flux, a consultancy, competes in a sector that is confusing for providers, let alone procurement organizations. The fragmentation of the supplier management technology market can make it difficult for procurement organizations to create the right provider shortlist and select the optimal technology to meet their needs. Statess is an upstart competitor in this highly complicated sector, although one not as well known as perhaps it should be, owning to the limited sales and marketing investment of its parent company relative to peers.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Statess offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other supplier management 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 State of Flux and the Statess product line.

Statess (State of Flux): Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses

supplier network

There are comparatively few sourcing and supplier management technology providers that specialize in the management of strategic supplier relationships. Statess, a vendor based in the U.K. and wholly owned by State of Flux, a consultancy and services firm, is one of them. What State of Flux originally launched as a relatively simplistic toolset for supplier performance management and (corrective) action planning has grown into a full-fledged supplier relationship management (SRM) solution that ecompasses supplier information management, performance management, risk management, governance and relationship management, corporate social responsibility (CSR), contract management and innovation management.

This Spend Matters PRO vendor snapshot explores Statess’ strengths and weaknesses in the supplier management area, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor as a potential provider. Part 1 of our analysis comprised a company and detailed solution overview and a SWOT analysis, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Statess. The remaining parts of this multipart series will offer a user selection guide, user interface (UI/UX) analysis, competitive alternatives and evaluation and selection considerations.