Author Archives: Jason Busch



About Jason Busch

Jason is the founder of Azul Partners and co-founder of Spend Matters. He spends most of his time contributing to building Spend Matters SolutionMap. But he divides the rest of his waking hours between research, writing, due diligence analysis, corporate finance advisory and mentoring dozens of firms and procurement organizations in the industry. Prior to Azul Partners, Jason got his on-the-job education in procurement technology working at FreeMarkets for five years in a variety of roles. Before that, he started his career in consulting and merchant banking. Jason holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Current investment disclosures: Azul Partners, Inc., Koble, Inc., Public Spend Forum, LLC, RJSL Group LLC, Sigaria Ltd., Spendata LLC, and Spend Matters Europe Ltd.


Aquiire: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

Despite what Coupa and SAP Ariba would like companies to believe, the e-procurement market is far from consolidated. Moreover, some of the lesser-known vendors in the sector are not only driving some of the more unique areas of spend management innovation, but can also be the most adaptable to unique requirements that fall outside of the standard e-procurement box (which might include a single “buyer” or even a broader consortia of organizations coming together to buy in a “marketplace”). Aquiire is one such provider.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Aquiire’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the vendor. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Aquiire. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Aquiire: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

In September 2016, Vinimaya announced the launch of Aquiire, a cloud-based, real-time procure-to-pay (P2P) software suite. While Vinimaya had always been in the e-procurement business, Aquiire was an entirely new solution, built from the ground up, albeit one that took advantage of the company’s federated search, shopping and marketplace product roots.

Fast-forward to today, and that new product has become the future of Vinimaya. In fact, the company officially changed its corporate name in February 2017 to Aquiire Inc., extending both the brand and the philosophy behind its e-procurement solution across the entire company. Today, Aquiire competes primarily against a select group of e-procurement specialists (e.g., BuyerQuest and Vroozi) and is winning business against top-tier suite providers (e.g., Coupa, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba).

But it can also serve as a broader buy-side marketplace as well (when requirements extend outside the standard e-procurement box). In fact, many of Aquiire's customers integrate its real-time B2B marketplace and catalog management functionality into competitor’s platforms (e.g. SAP Ariba) to complement and extend indirect purchasing and catalog management capabilities.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot uses facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about Aquiire’s e-procurement and P2P software solutions. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as suggestions for when organizations should consider Aquiire. The remainder of this multipart research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Coupa’s DCR Acquisition: Analyzing the Move (Part 2) — Strategic Context and Differences Between Labor and Goods Ecosystems

Even discounting the technological capabilities DCR Workforce brings customers, Coupa’s recent acquisition of the VMS provider is a watershed event for the procurement software market. Specifically, it signals to the market a coming together of technology offerings for services procurement and indirect source-to-pay solutions.

As we observed in our previous brief in this series, SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass did not have a compelling reason in the immediate years following SAP’s acquisition of both companies to “work as one” in developing, positioning and selling the joint value proposition of one source-to-pay portal for buyers and suppliers that spanned indirect and services spend in a single go-to-market effort. In contrast, Coupa is on a different track — one that SAP is now starting to follow, as well — in uniting these two disparate solution areas and business functions inside companies.

But humans are not SKUs, which is one topic among many that we’ll discuss as we explore the context of Coupa’s strategic acquisition in this research brief. We’ll also explain the key sector differences between the services procurement/VMS market and indirect-centric procure-to-pay and source-to-pay solutions.

Just coming up to speed? In the first two components of this series covering Coupa’s recent acquisition of DCR Workforce, we provided an overview of the acquisition itself and a review of the DCR solution set.

We also shared our view on some of the strengths and weaknesses of the DCR solution prior to the acquisition, along with an overview of the broader competitive landscape that will be relevant as DCR now becomes “Coupa Contingent Workforce.”

In this section of the series, Part 1 explored the history and context of services procurement and indirect procurement from the perspective of both Coupa and the broader market. It also provided context based on the differences between how SAP pursued the market initially with Ariba and Fieldglass following its acquisition of both vendors.

Coupa’s Acquisition of DCR Workforce: Analyzing the Move (Part 1) — History, Context and SAP

In the first two briefs in this ongoing series covering Coupa’s recent acquisition of DCR Workforce, we provided an overview of the acquisition itself along with a review of the DCR solution set. We also shared our view on some of the strengths and weaknesses of the DCR solution prior to the acquisition, as well as an overview of the broader competitive landscape that will be relevant as DCR now becomes “Coupa Contingent Workforce.”

As our analysis continues, we turn our attention to what the DCR Workforce acquisition could mean for Coupa as a developer of technology solutions and as a business in the indirect procurement software sector. Spend Matters believes the deal is the most significant strategic bet Coupa has made since the vendor shifted its strategy from providing open source e-procurement to what it is today. But is Coupa (and the market) ready for such a shift?

Coupa Acquires DCR Workforce (Part 2): DCR Product Strengths and Weaknesses

The contingent workforce (CW/S) technology sector could benefit from daylight when it comes to visibility into how “good” solutions actually are. Within the vendor management system (VMS) market specifically, there are various market dynamics that have led to an opaque situation in the past, in which limited information transparency exists. And when it does, this information can be often “overlooked” for various reasons when organizations are making technology-buying decisions.

Pardon the baseball analogy, but we’re still on the first at-bat in the first inning in trying to create a degree of transparency ourselves with Spend Matters CW/S SolutionMap, which launched last week, albeit with only a subset of the market’s top vendors participating in the first round launch — something we suspect will change in the coming quarters. If you’re curious to take a look, you can skim the free ranking charts for Q3 2018 (Independent Contract Workers, Temporary Staffing and Contract Services/Statement of Work). And if you want to review the true, transparent details yourself, see our SolutionMap Insider reports and ratings, as well.

While in our view the CW/S technology market trends more to capability/technology obfuscation than enlightened cloud transparency among procurement and HR organizations, DCR Workforce stands out as one of the few providers driving innovation at multiple levels, including its embrace of artificial intelligence (AI).

But how good is it really? This Spend Matters PRO research brief (Part 2 in our series covering the Coupa acquisition of DCR; see Part 1: Acquisition Analysis and Competitive Landscape Segmentation) provides a primer for those that want to answer that question. It is based on prior Spend Matters PRO research content, with new updates and insights included. (Granted, we cover the strengths and weaknesses on what we would consider a summary level by our standards, given that we consider more than 400 individual CW/S functional requirements as part of our SolutionMap analysis. But you’ve got to start somewhere.)

Coupa Acquires DCR Workforce: First Take Analysis and Competitive Landscape Segmentation

Coupa recently announced it had acquired the technology assets of DCR Workforce, a leading provider of contingent workforce/services (CW/S) procurement software. By so doing, Coupa has taken a giant leap forward in providing its clients a comprehensive platform that will now include the option of industrial-strength CW/S sourcing and management capabilities.

For many organizations, CW/S spend (including temporary staffing, independent contract workers and a broad range of categories of services provided by external suppliers) represents a considerable portion of external spend (including good and materials). And much of this spend — particularly outside of temporary staffing — is unmanaged today, in terms of procurement or HR’s ability to fully influence and orchestrate it.

In this Spend Matters PRO series, we take an in-depth look at what the acquisition of DCR means for Coupa and DCR, as well as to their customers. In Part 1 of this series, we look at what Coupa is getting by acquiring DCR, in terms of both business strategy and DCR’s specific capabilities. Based on DCR’s footprint, we also segment the competitive landscape into six primary competitor types.

Part 2 will consider DCR’s strengths and weaknesses within the competitive CW/S market. Subsequent PRO briefs will examine customer recommendations, competitive landscape implications and related considerations.

Coupa Acquires DCR Workforce, Giving its Services Maestro a Full Symphony Orchestra

Coupa announced Tuesday it had acquired the technology assets of DCR Workforce, a Boca Raton, Florida-based vendor management system (VMS) provider, according to a press release. Coming on the heels of Labor Day, Coupa could not have picked a more appropriate holiday week to expand its services procurement and labor footprint. DCR’s software enables businesses to source and manage contingent workforce and services. The DCR solution will now be marketed as Coupa Contingent Workforce, part of Coupa’s broader platform.

Ultimate E-Procurement Ninja Warrior: Coupa vs. Ivalua vs. SAP Ariba (Q3 2018 E-Procurement SolutionMap ‘Battle of the Best’)

Our ongoing Head-to-Head comparison series has been immensely popular with members of our new SolutionMap Insider subscription service. But for Q3 2018 SolutionMap results, which have not yet published, we thought it would be fun to shake things up a bit. With functional scoring for e-procurement software vendors now finalized for the quarter (and due out in September), the Spend Matters analyst team thought we’d tweak the Head-to-Head format to create a “Battle of the Best,” pitting the highest-ranked vendors in a given procurement software category against each other.

But unlike last week, when SAP Ariba and Ivalua faced off in the supplier management ring, we’re not talking about just two vendors. Today we’re adding a third company to the mix. In this SolutionMap Insider research brief, we pit against each other the three top-ranked e-procurement functional providers for Q3 2018: Coupa, Ivalua and SAP Ariba.

That’s right. Ivalua is the new sheriff in town, and it ties at least one of the other two in the functional rankings. But how does Ivalua stack up overall in this new e-procurement company?

In certain categories within our functional requirements for e-procurement — including catalog management, shopping and requisitioning, ordering, receiving, supplier network, configurability, technology, general services and overall average score — Coupa or SAP Ariba either come out on top or tie each other. But in two areas, Ivalua sneaks in a stealthy blow, besting the better-known e-procurement leaders.

And overall, it’s incredibly close. But one vendor gets the nod, taking the prize as the last procurement software company standing in this three-vendor ultimate ninja battle. Take note, however, that the right solution will vary based on different initiative and organizational requirements, as well as how much “heavy lifting” a procurement or finance organization wants to take on to enable different e-procurement scenarios.

Still, there’s no debate that e-procurement selection processes will reward procurement organizations that tailor vendor selection to their specific needs and even specific initiative requirements in cases where e-procurement will not be at the core of a suite-based selection.

Yooz: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses

improper payments

Yooz is a specialized middle-market software provider in the accounts payable automation sector with particular expertise in rapid deployment and broad-based support for payables processes. Its capabilities include invoice capture, ERP integration, AP workflow and payment integrations. (Given its focus on the middle market, areas such as supplier portal, global compliance and supplier financing are not yet a focus.)

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Yooz’s strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide whether they should consider the provider. Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and detailed solution overview and a recommended fit list of criteria for firms considering Yooz. The third part of this series will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives, and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Yooz: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background and Solution Overview

e-invoicing

Primarily targeting the middle market, Yooz is a specialized accounts payable automation software provider that also offers adjacent capabilities in e-invoicing. It supports 2,000 customers in a subset of the broad-based procurement software category Spend Matters describes as invoice-to-pay (I2P). Yooz competes in the diverse, sometimes confusing and overlapping procure-to-pay (P2P), e-invoicing and accounts payable automation ecosystems — with an emphasis on the latter.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot offers an introduction to Yooz, providing facts and expert analysis to help accounts payable and procurement organizations make informed decisions about whether they should explore this software provider within these ecosystems. Part 1 of our analysis offers a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Yooz as a complement to other procurement and finance solutions. The remaining parts of this research brief will cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Ivalua vs. SAP Ariba: A Supplier Management ‘Battle of the Best’ for Q3 2018 SolutionMap

Our ongoing Head-to-Head comparison series has been immensely popular with members of our new SolutionMap Insider subscription service. But for Q3 2018 SolutionMap results, which have not yet published, we thought it would be fun to shake things up a bit. With functional scoring for supplier management solutions now finalized for the quarter (and due out in September), the Spend Matters analyst team thought we’d tweak the Head-to-Head format to create a “Battle of the Best,” pitting the two highest-ranked vendors in a given procurement software category against each other.

This week, using the latest SolutionMap data, we pit the two top-ranked supplier management solutions for Q3 2018 against each other: Ivalua and SAP Ariba. That’s right — two suite vendors are now officially eating the feature/function lunch of best-of-breed solutions for supplier management, at least on an aggregate scoring basis. (Aggregate is the operative term here. In specific functional areas, best-of-breed providers may still be stronger and, for specific buying personas, may be a better fit.)

To be sure, several best-of-breed solutions still come out on top for groupings of scored fields when it comes to targeted ratings in support of such areas as third-party management, supplier diversity and master data management. But even the third-ranked provider for Q3 supplier management functional scoring, Jaggaer Advantage, which is just a hair under Ivalua and SAP Ariba in terms of overall scoring, is also a suite provider.

When it comes to the Supplier Management SolutionMap overall — which includes both aggregate and atomic scoring for supplier enablement, performance management, risk management, collaboration, innovation, diversity, technology, configurability and services, among other areas — the suites are convincingly winning the Spend Matters analyst ratings battle for broad-based supplier management enablement.

Still, SolutionMap data suggest that the right solution will vary based on different initiative and organizational requirements — and how much “heavy lifting” a procurement, supply chain or finance organization wants to take on to enable different supplier management scenarios compared with choosing a partner that is expert in a single or handful of areas. But there’s no debate that supplier management processes will reward procurement organizations that tailor provider selection to their specific needs, even specific supplier management initiative requirements in cases where supplier management will not be at the core of a suite-based selection.

Not yet an Insider member? Contact Spend Matters to gain access to SolutionMap reports, ratings and associated content. Organizations in the midst of software selection that can’t wait for broader Q3 2018 data to be published can access the full Q2 2018 Supplier Management SolutionMap on demand or contact Spend Matters to access the Q3 2018 data in advance of release.  

Veraction Merges With Trax Technologies: A Q&A with CEO Chris Connell (Part 2)

webinar

The transportation management industry is big, fragmented and ripe for disruption. In Part 1 of this interview with Chris Connell, CEO of Trax Group and former CEO of Veraction, we discussed the June merger of the two companies into a combined transportation spend management, freight audit and payments solution. Today, in Part 2, we conclude the conversation with a forecast of where the transportation and logistics markets are going, the potential asteroid that could disturb the whole ecosystem (hint: it involves Amazon) and how Trax fits into that future.