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.


SAP’s Procurement Transformation and Next Steps for a CPO on a Mission: An Interview with Dr. Marcell Vollmer (Part 3)

After the three-month Ariba e-procurement implementation, Marcell and his team would transition the rest of his global organization entirely onto Ariba for source-to-pay (S2P) by 2014, using the entire suite: Purchase Order and Invoice Automation, Discount Pro, Spend Visibility, E-Sourcing and E-Auctions, Contract Management, Supplier Management and Ariba Catalogs and Spot Buy. The same year would also see the implementation of Fieldglass to support temporary labor and statement of work (SOW) procurement. And in 2015, Marcell’s organization implemented Concur for travel booking and reimbursement.

Scarfing Down Your Own E-Procurement Dog Food: Going Live Globally With SAP Ariba in 3 Months — An Interview with Dr. Marcell Vollmer (Part 2)

dog food

After taking over as CPO within SAP, Marcell quickly moved to address the e-procurement issue, owing to his previous laptop shopping experience. In 2011, he started an upgrade process to leverage SAP SRM 7. This upgrade initiative would ultimately become sidetracked (although 7.02 workflows into SAP ERP on HANA for vendor invoice management would be deployed) with the acquisition of Ariba. At the same time of this initial technology initiative, Marcell would also begin to put in place a combination of global category frameworks (and support) with local buying centers designed to optimize strategic program elements (e.g., sourcing/negotiation) and minimize transactional costs.

On Becoming a CPO and Procurement Transformation at SAP: An Interview with Dr. Marcell Vollmer (Part 1)

At SAP Ariba LIVE last week, I had the chance to catch up with Dr. Marcell Vollmer, who, despite his degree, comes off as anything but an academic. The discussion quickly turned into an interview because I was most curious about his past role as an almost “accidental CPO” at SAP before he became the chief digital officer for SAP Ariba. I’ll share my notes and commentary from the interview below in this three-part series, and also invite others (including Marcell) to chime in with anything else to add in the comments section — or if I missed anything important to note.

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

purchasing

There are those who believe the market for targeted (i.e., “point”) solutions in the broader source-to-pay area is becoming less important than an integrated suite approach. This observation is becoming even more important in typical customer buying decisions in cases of strategic procurement technology, such as analytics, supplier management and strategic sourcing, where more and more customers at least want the “option” to purchase an integrated suite. Yet for transactional procurement (e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) solutions today, the notion of selecting a vendor with a broader suite may or may not matter depending on what a procurement organization values most.

BuyerQuest is an upstart procurement software and solutions provider without a broader suite offering (outside of an expanding invoice-to-pay capability), albeit one that is building worldwide adoption and reach in the core areas on which it focuses. Its entire focus is on developing specialized technology that it believes delivers a best-in-class procure-to-pay (P2P) experience for users and procurement organizations, based on a unique underlying architecture built entirely with supporting a B2C user experience in mind.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about BuyerQuest and whether its capabilities are a fit for their needs. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider BuyerQuest 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.

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

While not as well known in the spend analytics and supplier management markets as most of its peers, PRGX has built up a small arsenal of solutions through acquisition and organic development that are likely to surprise potential customers — including those that are PRGX audit recovery clients but that may not be aware of PRGX’s emerging technology and solutions outside its traditional services business. In particular, with its OPTIX and Lavante product lines, PRGX brings a particular competency in delivering a “data as a service” model and supplier information management (SIM) solution capability.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering PRGX offers a competitive analysis and comparison with other procurement technology providers in the spend analytics and supplier management areas. 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 PRGX.

SAP Ariba LIVE Dispatch: The Ariba Network Today and Tomorrow (Part 2) — 2017 Network Roadmap

road

At SAP Ariba LIVE Wednesday, the main stage presentation featured an overview of the 2017 Ariba Network roadmap, during which the SAP Ariba team surveyed multiple areas it is investing in that will be delivered throughout 2017. Certainly more so than before, the Ariba Network really is at the core of SAP Ariba’s functional and enablement strategy going forward, including applications and partner apps that will eventually begin to blur the line with functionally-oriented modules that SAP Ariba also sells.

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

PRGX, a recovery audit specialist and a firm in the broader procurement services market, is the midst of transforming itself from a services orientation to a solution one, embedding both technology and expertise in productized capabilities. Although it has yet to invest in externalizing its core technology and data capabilities for recovery audit in retail and other industries, it continues to expand its data-centric capability in spend analytics and, more recently, supplier information management through its acquisition of Lavante.

Whether these or related technologies ultimately automate and digitize core aspects of recovery audit for PRGX in retail (the recovery audit sector where it has dominant market position) is a question for the future. Today, PRGX sells core technology and solutions — including “data as a service” to fuel the back-end of spend analytics — in addition to its auditing service. It is these technologies and related solutions that are the focus of this analysis.

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

SAP Ariba LIVE Dispatch: The Ariba Network Today and Tomorrow (Part 1) — Past and Present

The future of the Ariba Network is arguably the future of SAP Ariba. As more content, intelligence and capability shifts into not just the cloud but the space between companies, network and platform-based connectivity will become increasingly important for procurement and suppliers alike. Connectivity is even now forming the basis of competition in the procure-to-pay market, with SAP Ariba competitors like Tradeshift making the argument to potential customers that the platform matters as much — or more — than application capability alone. In a series of posts this week, we’ll tackle the past, present and future of the Ariba Network, as well as the SAP Ariba platform.

SAP Ariba LIVE Dispatch: Does Supplier Diversity Have a New Visionary?

supplier diversity

SAP Ariba and ConnXus announced a new partnership Tuesday at SAP Ariba LIVE. ConnXus is one of the last remaining independent supplier diversity vendors with any scale, although still a small firm itself. There are only a few hundred people in the procurement industry who have tracked the market for supplier diversity databases and software solutions over the years and know it well. Those familiar with this area know that the road to tapping supplier innovation and managing diversity spend through these tools has been paved with the great intentions of vendors that somehow got sidetracked along the way.

PRGX: Vendor Snapshot Part 1 — Background & Solution Overview

For those that do not know it, PRGX would appear to be one of a select number of dominant services provider in the niche market for recovery audit services — a market that unlike other procurement services faces tremendous price pressure for its core recovery, statement and related auditing and profit recovery services. But PRGX has started to remake itself quietly from within — out of necessity, given these broader market trends — building and acquiring technology capabilities in the spend analytics and supplier management areas, both to expand its relevance and to start driving automation and scale in its core business.

Its recent acquisition of Lavante, a supplier management provider with best-in-class supplier information management (SIM) and master data management (MDM) capabilities, showcases the direction PRGX is taking as it migrates from an audit-driven services firm to a new type of savings and recovery “as-a-service” solutions provider. It brings particular competence in extending core spend analytics to payment and product (SKU) analyses, the latter of which is particularly relevant to its core retail client base (from its recovery audit business).

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about PRGX and whether its technology and solution capabilities are a fit for their needs (it does not provide a review of PRGX’s core recovery audit services capability). Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider PRGX 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.

SAP Ariba LIVE Dispatch: First Day Main Stage (Part 2) — BASF and Supplier Management

Earlier Tuesday at SAP Ariba LIVE, Dr. Matthias Dohrn, CPO at BASF, outlined his organization’s approach to supplier management using SAP Ariba. He began his talk by sharing one of the best equations we’ve ever heard to refute the notion that technology alone benefits procurement: PP + NT = EPP. Specifically, poor processes (PP) + new tech (NT) = expensive poor processes (EPP)! Dohrn noted during his talk that BASF partnered with SAP Ariba to develop a supplier management capability suited to its needs and processes — which, you guessed it, came before the technology.