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.


Artificial Intelligence Meets Payables and Dynamic Discounting: Oracle Cloud Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 2)

digital business transformation

With its new Intelligent Payment Discounts solution, Oracle is bridging the worlds of procurement and finance together in a unique way that unifies procurement, accounts payable and core financials.

In Part 1 of this research brief, we offered a detailed overview of this new, AI-based solution, providing an introduction to its different components for organizations that might consider it.

In today’s installment, we will conclude our analysis, exploring Oracle Intelligent Payment Discounts’ strengths and weaknesses related to other early payment solutions, either as an extension of invoice-to-pay or on a standalone trade-financing basis — and provide a user requirements checklist to help companies prioritize if the solution is the right fit for them.

Our analysis includes a perspective on the advantage that Oracle has in selling this solution compared to other early payment and financing solutions (e.g., C2FO, Prime Revenue, Taulia, etc.) and procure-to-pay/invoice-to-pay (e.g., Basware, Coupa, Ivalua, SAP Ariba, etc.) outside of feature/function capability alone based on its unified architecture with Oracle Cloud Financials. That is, for companies migrating, upgrading or switching to Oracle Cloud — not those on legacy E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft or JD Edwards solutions.

SAP Ariba Live (Part 1): SAP Fieldglass Integration, the Ariba Network and Other Topics & Analysis

Accenture

For the industry analysts in attendance, SAP Ariba Live 2019 kicked off Monday in Austin, Texas, with a candid Q&A session with Barry Padgett, president of SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass; Darren Koch, chief product officer of SAP Ariba; and Vish Baliga, chief technology officer of SAP Fieldglass. During the session, Padgett, Koch and Baliga shared the latest from SAP in terms of numbers growth and SAP Fieldglass’ integration into a common business unit with SAP Ariba, among other topics.

Many of these themes were echoed throughout the 100-plus breakout (and mainstage) sessions that took place Tuesday and Wednesday, including multiple sessions on the SAP Fieldglass integration as well as the Ariba network, among other topics.

This Spend Matters PRO live report provides insight into these updates from the public sessions and what’s driving them. It also includes an analysis and key takeaways from our first 24 hours at SAP Ariba Live. In subsequent briefs, we will explore these and other topics in more detail.

Artificial Intelligence Meets Payables and Dynamic Discounting: Oracle Cloud Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 1)

At the recent Oracle Modern Business Experience event, artificial intelligence figured prominently in many of the mainstage and breakout sessions. Not surprisingly, AI is working its way into Oracle’s procurement suite of cloud capabilities.

Oracle’s investments in AI are centered across several areas leveraging a range of underlying algorithmic approaches (e.g., semantic analysis, neural nets, deep learning, etc.) that individually or collectively serve to enable different business use cases centered on what Oracle calls pattern recognition, smart recognition and smart prediction.

Within its procurement suite of cloud solutions, Oracle has released two AI-driven applications: intelligent supplier categorization (think spend classification) and intelligent payment discounts.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an introduction to the intelligent payment discounting module. For an introduction to the Oracle Procurement Cloud, see our previous Vendor Snapshot coverage (Overview and Introduction, Strengths / Weaknesses and Recommendations/Competitive Alternatives) and Comparative SolutionMap ratings as part of SolutionMap for Q1 2019 for E-Procurement, Invoice-to-Pay and Procure-to-Pay.

Part 1 of this research brief provides a description of capabilities and review of the solution itself — what it does, how it works and how AI makes it effective. Part 2 explores the strengths and weaknesses of the solution and provides customer recommendations.

The Killer Procurement Technology Application: Stupid Simple

Like a lot of my colleagues on the analyst team at Azul Partners, I’m prone to overcomplicate things rather than take the easy way out. Big, hairy, audacious concepts (and technologies) fascinate me far more than what I’ve come to call the “Stupid Simple” ones. But it is this latter group that has far greater appeal in the mass markets and, from a technology purchasing and adoption standpoint, the Stupid Simples tend to be the rocket ships from an initial growth perspective. What do Stupid Simple concepts and companies have in common? I’ve created a running list.

Why ERP Does Not Suck Anymore for Procurement Technology*

It’s time to truly write off the ERP past with two of the top ERP providers.

SAP Ariba has doubled-down not only on core capability packaged approaches to accelerate adoption — and in the case of SAP Ariba, performs at the top of many of the SolutionMap functional rankings — but also next generation technology. For example, artificial intelligence to guide users down specific paths. Moreover, SAP Ariba is one of the top performing procurement technology suite vendors overall in SolutionMap.

And Oracle, with its investments in Cloud/Fusion, provides one of the best Deep-persona Procure-to-Pay (E-Procurement + Invoice-to-Pay) functional solutions in the market based on the latest SolutionMap benchmark — at least for companies also migrating their Oracle back-end to Cloud financials. Its platform-level investments in AI, blockchain and other areas are real — and are showing up in use cases that cascade across supply chain, finance and purchasing. The solution has capabilities for geeks and pragmatists alike.

After EcoVadis’ Sustain 2019: Product Strategy, Roadmap and Prospect/Customer Analysis (Part 3)

EcoVadis, which provides vendor ratings and scorecarding for sustainability and broader CSR metrics as a component of an integrated “many-to-many” supplier network and platform, has an aggressive product roadmap to expand how users interact with and leverage the supplier intelligence, which is at the very core of its value proposition.

Today, in this final installment in this Spend Matters’ PRO series based on our analysis from the EcoVadis Sustain 2019 customer event, we turn our attention to the future direction of where EcoVadis is expanding its capabilities. We also include customer/prospect recommendations.

In previous Spend Matters PRO coverage on EcoVadis, we offered a recap and update on the provider’s most recent capabilities and solution footprint — and an analysis of where EcoVadis fits in the broader supplier management and supply chain risk management landscape.

After EcoVadis’ Sustain 2019: How Its Offering Fits With Supplier Management, Risk Management Solutions (Part 2)

supply risk

Last week, I represented the Spend Matters analyst team at EcoVadis’ Sustain 2019 customer event in Paris. In between lessons on sustainable supply chains, vendor CSR ratings and French labor unions I never knew existed — thank goodness for British Airways when the Eurostar shuts down because a handful of customs workers at Gare du Nord decided to protest Brexit by striking — I had the chance to learn about the latest enhancements to the EcoVadis platform.

In Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO research series, we shared some of the most recent capabilities that EcoVadis has embedded in its sustainability and ratings supplier management platform. Today, we turn our attention to explaining how EcoVadis fits in the broader supplier management and risk solutions landscape. (Hint: It is a complement to other solutions, but not a replacement for them, at least not yet.)

We will conclude our series with a look at the EcoVadis solutions roadmap and landscape in the coming weeks with specific recommendations on what it means for current and future customers who are likely to also make investments in adjacent solution areas and need to think about the architectural “fit” of all these components together. But to answer that question, we first need to explore where EcoVadis sits today in the broader supplier management and supply/supply chain risk management technology and solutions universe?

This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides insight into all of the components that comprise the supplier management and supplier/supply chain risk management sectors. It then attempts to place EcoVadis, a sustainability and CSR specialist in vendor ratings and management, in the context of these two highly complex solutions markets. Our analysis includes detailed functional and requirements for each of these solution types.

Oracle’s Modern Business Experience Event: What’s On Our Mind This Week

Spend Matters analyst Xavier Olivera and I are attending Oracle’s Modern Business Experience event this week in Las Vegas. Procurement is well represented as a component of supply chain, with over 30 breakout sessions and other activities catering to purchasing, supply management and spend management-related areas. In addition, there are numerous sessions on blockchain, the internet of things (IoT) and related subjects that overlap with procurement.

We’ll attempt to cover as much as we can from the event this week and next. But here are some questions that we have on our mind as the festivities kick into high gear:

What the Heck are Companies Buying When They Purchase Accounts Payable Technology?

Spend Matters recently ran two surveys (one to procurement/finance practitioners and one to technology providers) in preparation for the launch of the Spend Matters Accounts Payable Automation SolutionMap later in 2019. Many of our questions focused on how users and providers define the bounds of AP automation solutions since there is often a disconnect even within the vendor community — let alone the user community. Accounts payable technology covers many business areas, so the market for the solutions is confusing. It's hard to compare them apples to apples.

Another Payment Provider Gets Acquired: Fleetcor to Buy Nvoicepay (Rapid Analysis)

invoice

The intersection between procurement, accounts payable automation, payment technologies and card providers continued to converge today as Fleetcor announced it was acquiring Nvoicepay. The transaction marks yet another example of card-based payment providers getting closer to the world of buyer-driven procure-to-pay — and of course, the vendor corollary, accounts receivable — given the opportunity for supplier-driven payment acceleration.

Coupa, Services and Coupa Contingent Workforce: A Progress Report (Part 2)

In this two-part PRO series, Spend Matters provides a review and analysis of Coupa’s recent evolution in addressing the category of services spend, including Coupa Contingent Workforce. In Part 1, we provided an overview of where Coupa is at with the integration and leveraging of DCR Workforce.

First, we revisited the Coupa “services procurement” background/context leading up to the DCR acquisition last year. We also recounted our September 2018 briefing, in which Coupa discussed the acquisition and what to expect as far as integration (or “unification”) of the acquisition over the coming months. Additionally, we discussed what we learned from our most recent January 2019 briefing by Coupa on the current state of the integration.

Based on this analysis, we concluded that, six months in after the acquisition, Coupa’s integration at the organizational and product levels appeared to be on course. The priorities seemed reasonable even given the unique dynamics of the VMS market — and the plan, based on Coupa’s history of stamping out post-merger integrations, seemed on track.

But beyond this, what has happened to the DCR product under the Coupa umbrella? And how is it fitting into the changing world of services procurement — and potentially even help to shape it? In Part 2 of this research series, we will provide our own observations on where Coupa seems to be going, in terms of the contingent workforce technology solution segment and its increasing overlap with other procurement technology solutions.

Five Scenarios for VMS 2025 — An Introduction

gig economy

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the future of the vendor management system (VMS) in the services procurement world — including the potential for growing overlap with source-to-pay technologies. My thinking is in part shaped from a result of increasing integrations between SAP Fieldglass and SAP Ariba, Coupa’s absorption and integration of DCR Workforce and increasing “fringe” services procurement capabilities offered by source-to-pay suite providers (e.g., Ivalua).

Why does this matter? This future state, VMS 2025, is critical for procurement organizations as they have the power to define how these technologies serve them rather than the other way around (which is the dominate scenario today).

But before we explore what the future might hold for procurement, let’s define what a VMS is or at least has been in the past (we know the concept of a VMS is evolving).