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.


Jaggaer-Pool4Tool Merger Analysis: Customer Recommendations

manufacturing

Jaggaer announced earlier Monday it would merge with Pool4Tool, a Europe-based provider of direct materials procurement solutions. This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides customer recommendations, primarily for organizations already using or considering using Pool4Tool, especially in North America. It also provides insight into commercial, technology and deployment and support considerations surrounding the combination of the two providers, as well as select alternative providers in some of the markets in which Pool4Tool competes.

Jaggaer and Pool4Tool to Merge: The Start of a Trend in Direct Materials Solutions

Jaggaer and Pool4Tool announced Monday the two providers would merge, revealing what was probably one of the better known procurement and supply chain industry secrets in recent memory. The combination creates the only technology provider in the market with end-to-end indirect and direct materials procurement coverage, the companies said in a press release.

Catching Up with a Marketing Maven and Talking Vertical Procurement Solutions

Last week, I had the chance to sit down with Jaggaer’s Steve Lundin at our office in Chicago, to talk verticalization in regards to procurement solutions. As Steve said, “I've been dabbling around the supply chain space for years, and know that software companies have dipped their toes in an out of developing targeted products. What's happening now, with industry targeted vertical procurement solutions, reflects what we've seen in the consumer market, with B2C being the tail that wags a B2B dog."

A Guidebook to the Rise of Industry-Specific Procurement Technologies: Related Markets, the Why and the Where

By Spend Matters estimates, over 80% of dollars spent on procurement technology in recent years has been for standard source-to-pay products (e.g., spend analytics, sourcing, contract management, supplier management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay) that were not specifically designed or configured — prior to deployments — to support industry-specific requirements. Granted, there have been some notable deviations to the rule (which make up the 20%), such as healthcare-centric solutions, certain areas of public sector, supplier compliance in regulated industries, supporting specific collaboration requirements, manufacturing requirements and so forth. But these have been exceptions rather than the norm.

Something new is afoot, however. There are a number of signposts which point to the pending rise of industry-specific solutions more generally for procurement technology — i.e., those solutions which are either designed from the start or come pre-configured to meet the specific needs of a given market.

This Spend Matters PRO research series provides a guidebook for organizations that are interested in this change, the drivers behind it, and some trends and examples that we’re seeing in the field. It explores when industry specific procurement technologies are likely most appropriate (or not), what technologies are likely to be affected, lessons from related markets (e.g., finance/treasury, supply chain, supplier and third-party management) and provides a summary and analysis of recent news from Jaggaer, Ivalua and SAP Ariba detailing their emerging approaches to verticalization. It also provides recommendations to procurement organizations, solution providers and consultancies that are looking to take advantage of this shift (or not get left behind by it).

Wednesday, May 31. Downtown Chicago. Sourcing, AI and Optimization.

I rarely pimp things I'm participating in, but I'm really excited to go back to my FreeMarkets roots tomorrow (May 31) at this breakfast and morning session in Chicago on the future of strategic sourcing and e-sourcing. The event is free, and it’s open to procurement practitioners and consultants.

Keelvar is hosting the event and the topic is about the massive transformation (thanks to artificial intelligence [AI], robotics, optimization and more) starting to take shape in strategic sourcing and e-sourcing. Alan Holland (Keelvar) and Josh Brogan (A.T. Kearney) are speaking as well.

G2 Crowd’s Chicago Party: A $30 Million Funding and the ‘No Magic’ Man

I stopped by a party Wednesday that is all too uncommon in Chicago: a tech firm celebration. Specifically, I received an invitation from fellow Enterprise Irregular Michael Fauscette to attend a party celebrating G2 Crowd’s recently announced $30 million funding round, and I decided to take him up on it. G2 Crowd is Azul Partner’s (our parent company) downtown Chicago neighbor and one of the few research/analyst/tech shops in the Midwest. But unlike other tech analyst firms, G2 is taking an approach to tech research centered entirely on crowdsourcing reviews from users — and then analyzing, packaging and publishing the data in various formats.

Sievo: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive and Summary Analysis

spend analytics

Not only is the market for spend analysis solutions highly fragmented from a vendor “choice” perspective today, it is also characterized by solutions that are difficult to compare on an apples-to-apples basis between providers. Sievo is one such provider that makes cross-comparisons of vendors challenging because of some of the unique approaches it takes both to spend classification and, more important, to savings reporting and tracking. In fact, this latter element makes it one of the few spend analytics solutions that is as relevant for finance (and CFOs) as it is for procurement organizations.

This final installment of our multipart Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series covering Sievo offers a SWOT analysis, competitive assessment and comparison with other providers in the spend analytics market. It also includes a user selection guide and summary evaluation and selection considerations. Part 1 and Part 2 of this PRO research series provide a company and deep dive solution overview, product strengths and weaknesses and a recommended fit analysis for what types of organizations should consider Sievo.

ISM 2017: The Spend Slayer

At a big procurement conference, how do you get a procurement manager into your booth? The answer is simple (and somewhat sexist, I might add). Find an attractive female — maybe we’ll see a guy one of these years — and a gimmick. In the past, AECSoft, a former vendor in the space, was one that was successful in driving traffic by bringing a model — I think she was Miss Lebanon — to the conference and having her circulate around the floor and hang out at the booth. This year, Jaggaer continued this tradition with the “Spend Slayer,” an archer — or ”archerette,” if you will — who circulated around the exhibit hall with a bow.

ISM 2017: Technology Crosses the Curiosity Chasm

Aside from the provider/solutions expo, technology has always been something of an afterthought for attendees at ISM’s annual conference, at least as I’ve seen it. While a handful of sessions have addressed technology, it’s safe to say that for many of the delegates and ISM members over the years, it has been on the lower end of the priority spectrum, at least from what they plan to get out of the show. But this year something changed.

David Cameron at ISM: Heartfelt, Candid and Relevant

Earlier Tuesday, former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron gave the keynote address at ISM. I tried to live tweet some of his more memorable statements (see the highlights below or the full summary @jasondbusch). Cameron’s was a heartfelt, candid and relevant talk — his first since leaving office to such a crowd, apparently — by a still young politician with a deft rhetorical touch.

Coupa Unveils Services Maestro: Will the Student Become a Master of Services Procurement and Contingent Workforce Spend?

At its Inspire user conference in San Francisco last week, Coupa announced its “early access program” soft-launch of Services Maestro. The company’s first step into services procurement, Coupa presented Services Maestro in 2016 as a part of the product roadmap and has introduced the offering as part of Release 18.

“Customers will benefit from this application through automated contract compliance, improved supplier experiences and full visibility into spend — both goods and complex services — in one unified platform,” Coupa said in its press release.

It’s a commendable first step, but the sooner Coupa fully understands the complexity of the services Pandora’s box it has opened up by becoming an embedded and integral part of contingent workforce and services procurement programs, the better its ultimate solution(s) will be, should it decide to make services procurement and contingent workforce a core business pursuit. This Spend Matters PRO brief provides an introduction to Services Maestro and insight into what Coupa will need to add to truly compete in the contingent workforce and services procurement market if it decides to strategically pursue this market segment.

IBM Emptoris and SAP Ariba Partnership: First Take Customer Analysis

Spend Matters provided initial coverage Wednesday of the SAP Ariba and IBM Emptoris partnership. We also offered a personal essay, a eulogy to Emptoris. This Spend Matters PRO First Take provides an analysis and recommendations for IBM Emptoris customers, including how they should think about an overall migration to a third-party solution as well as the role of IBM and its professional services organization as an advisor in the transition.

This brief also provides insight into comparable SAP Ariba solutions to those that Emptoris delivers, as well as comprehensive shortlists of vendors in the spend analytics, sourcing, contract management and supplier management areas in a segmented frameworks for each, including SAP Ariba (e.g., suite based, best of breed, specialization, industry focus, etc.).

Finally, this PRO analysis offers insight into artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive applications that SAP Ariba and IBM Emptoris may develop together by combining the Leonardo (SAP) and Watson (IBM) AI engines, as well as Spend Matters insights and research into different AI use cases applied to different disciplines within procurement, including sourcing and contract management.