Author Archives: Jason Busch



About Jason Busch

Jason is the founder of Azul Partners, a B2B research and digital media firm. He currently serves as Managing Director, Spend Matters Nexus, a membership program, providing market intelligence, strategy and due diligence advisory for private equity firms and investors. It also provides insight for CEOs, boards and leadership teams covering strategy, corporate development and business development/partnership areas. For all members, Spend Matters Nexus offers invitation-only networking opportunities. 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., Knnected Inc. (DBA SupplyHive), Public Spend Forum, LLC, Price Dynamics LLC (DBA MetalMiner Metal Price Benchmarking), Sigaria Ltd. (DBA Procurement Leaders)., Simfoni Group Ltd., Spendata LLC and Spend Matters Europe Ltd.


If Ivalua is now a yardstick, how do competitors like Coupa, SAP Ariba, Oracle measure up to it?

At Spend Matters, most of our time is spent actually looking at solutions and evaluating and validating detailed RFI responses. So when a procurement organization asks us, for example, “how does SAP Ariba compare to Coupa for source-to-pay,” we can provide a detailed explanation across hundreds of different functional specifications and customer satisfaction benchmarks about how the two precisely compare and differentiate. We get questions on these two providers a lot.

Technology vendors reach a milestone when other providers (as well as practitioner and consultants) start using them as a yardstick to measure and compare capabilities. And now with Ivalua reaching unicorn status and sharing current growth metrics that generally dwarf that of its larger peers — based on organic product growth — we expect to hear more and more procurement organizations ask about Ivalua in the same way they ask about SAP Ariba and Coupa. And of course from a SolutionMap perspective when it comes to technology selection, we can answer that question with hard, objective data on a capability-by-capability basis (now mapped to procurement business requirements).

But off-the-cuff, how does Ivalua and its unified suite compare to others?

I asked my colleagues on the Spend Matters analyst team who know different areas of Ivalua (and its peers) to comment not using the SolutionMap benchmark, but their own opinion.

So without further adieu, let’s read the Spend Matters analyst team’s candid take of how Ivalua’s source-to-pay competitors measure up to it (including positives and negatives comparisons for each). Our analysis explores, on an overall company basis, subjective views about how the following vendors compare to Ivalua: Coupa, Determine (now part of Corcentric), GEP, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, Oracle, SynerTrade and Zycus.

Do you want the objective, hard comparative data on a functional and product basis to understand how Ivalua stacks up to peers? Check out SolutionMap Insider.

UPDATE: With Barry Padgett leaving SAP, what’s next for new Intelligent Spend Group?

Barry Padgett has left SAP only weeks after being named president of the newly created SAP Intelligent Spend Group (ISG), a combination of SAP Ariba, SAP Concur and SAP Fieldglass.

Padgett had previously served as president of SAP Ariba, before being promoted to the new role as leader of the combined group. Spend Matters sources suggest he has accepted a new role as chief revenue officer for Stripe, a payments company, although this is unconfirmed at this time.

SAP’s Intelligent Spend Group told Spend Matters that Mike Eberhard, formerly president of SAP Concur, will take over for Padgett, at least as an interim leadership move. Eberhard had previously planned to “step back” from a daily role at SAP in Q3 to serve as an adviser. While on the surface, the move to promote Eberhard on a temporary basis may seem like a GE “moving around the management chess pieces,” type of maneuver, Eberhard has a unique foundation from which to sit on top of the combined organization at a pivotal time.

Not only has Eberhard had sales leadership experience and significant growing, global commercial responsibilities within Concur in the past decade, he brings leadership depth from other areas of procurement, payables and supplier management solutions earlier in his career. This includes holding previous P&L responsibilities for SAP Ariba, Xign, Peoplesoft and D&B.

Based in part on his diverse set of experiences in the “spend” universe, including P&L leadership within a number of different business cultures that sold to different economic buyers, we are enthusiastic about the selection of Eberhard as at least a temporary leader of the SAP Intelligent Spend Group.

But as Eberhard perhaps channels Constantine the Great, one of the great “uniters” of different factions in Roman history, he will nonetheless face a range of challenges on multiple fronts — internal and external — as SAP plans for simultaneous battles at the same time as it brings together three best-of-breed solutions under one roof, one that ideally represents more than just a united fighting commercial front.

Leadership Required on Simultaneous Fronts

The remainder of this research brief introduces some of the campaigns that SAP’s Intelligent Spend Business group will need to simultaneously embark upon if it is to align what is in the interests of customers and shareholders over the long term. We see three main fronts that SAP must target at the same time.

Before exploring these, we should note that Padgett left the SAP Intelligent Spend Group before having a chance to substantively make a mark on this newly created business unit. His departure at a formative, pivotal moment gives the opportunity to Eberhard (and/or a future leader) to chart a course for the future of a common SAP Ariba, SAP Concur and SAP Fieldglass at a time in which all three former independent operating units face new dynamics.

PRO subscribers can read more about the three fronts that SAP faces.

Exploring Basware’s Recent Product Enhancements: Something for AP and Procurement (Part 2)

At its recent Basware Connect 2019 customer event in Chicago, Basware brought together both finance and procurement organizations for two days of learning and in-depth product discussions. During the event last month, Basware spent numerous sessions sharing recent product enhancements, as well as highlighting its own product roadmap path forward.

This Spend Matters PRO brief, the second installment in a three-part series, explores Basware’s roadmap for the following products:

— Data, Analytics and Supplier Management
— Networked Sourcing and Procurement
— Networked Accounts Payable and Payments
— IT Integrations and E-Invoice Sending
— Dynamic Discounting and Financing


And our analysts’ give the key takeaways on each of these areas.

An Interview with SAP Intelligent Spend Group’s Marcell Vollmer: From CPO to CDO

SAP recently has consolidated its separate business units SAP Ariba, SAP Fieldglass and SAP Concur under its new SAP Intelligent Spend Group division. So it seemed like a good time for me to catch up with an industry insider to shed light on the issues.

Dr. Marcell Vollmer is now the chief digital officer of the Intelligent Spend Group, after filling the CDO role for SAP Ariba since 2017, when I talked to him in a series of Spend Matters interviews about digital transformations and about his stint as the chief procurement officer for SAP.

Recently, he said one area of opportunity that he sees is in procurement, where CDOs should spend more time.

Go Deep or Go Home: A personal essay on my favorite SolutionMap persona

I make no apologies for my choice of favorite Spend Matters’ SolutionMap persona: Deep.

Although my colleagues might need to defend their selection as we begin a series of personal essays on personas (Nimble, Deep, Turn-Key, Configurator, CIO Friendly as well as Optimizer for sourcing providers and Global for CWS vendors) my confidence is brimming because even though I know that my views represent a dying breed — those who pursue wisdom for the sake of learning and continuous improvement — the results of my favorite persona speak for themselves.

I am Deep. Without hesitation.

Exploring Basware’s Recent Product Enhancements: Something for AP and Procurement (Part 1)

In April, Basware held its Customer Connect user event in Chicago. During a mainstage talk and break-out sessions, the procure-to-pay provider highlighted a number of recent enhancements and product roadmap areas, including the continued incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) throughout its product line. Based on these presentations and recent Spend Matters SolutionMap RFI analysis, this three-part Spend Matters PRO brief highlights selected recent product enhancements as well as what Basware has in store for AP and procurement customers in the quarters to come based on its product roadmap. It also provides deeper insight into how Basware is embedding AI across its procure-to-pay solutions.

The following enhancements are covered and analyzed (with key takeaways included) in this research brief:

— Approval Confidence Scoring/Index
— Committed Spend
— SmartPDF (Basware’s version of InvoiceSmash/Cloudscan)
— Payment Plan Compliance
— Intelligent Order Aggregation

SAP Ariba Sourcing: How Does it Compare Today and What is Coming Tomorrow (Part 2: Playing the Scout Card)

Procurement organizations previously embraced complexity in tools to enable both event sourcing and category management processes. Now, the tide has turned. Solutions that are best-in-class from a user-experience perspective, but may lack advanced features (e.g., sourcing optimization, the most capability/depth for RFP/RFI/auction support, full opportunity analysis like should-cost modeling, full project management, comprehensive integrated supplier and risk management, etc.) are increasingly winning the day — sometimes even replacing solutions that offer deeper functional capability.

Simply put, this is what I term the Scout phenomena (but in all fairness to Scout, the provider, is aggressively building out capabilities in areas that it has lagged in for our SolutionMap benchmarking tool).

In the forthcoming new releases of its sourcing product, SAP Ariba has not just co-opted Scout’s playbook. It has built on it. By masking complexity and prioritizing usability not just as a primary, but the top objective, forthcoming “SAP Ariba Sourcing” releases represent a fundamental replatforming that will put casual, business and procurement users at the center of a vastly improved and consumerized UX.

In Part 2 of the Spend Matters PRO research series providing analysis of the SAP Ariba Sourcing solution, we offer insight into the new user experience as well as analysis, commentary and customer recommendations based on SAP Ariba’s planned release schedule featuring the new UI/UX. Part 1 provided insight into SAP’s relative strengths and weaknesses today (based on the Q1 2019 SolutionMap release) and shared what we learned last month at the SAP Ariba Live event on an overall roadmap basis for the sourcing product line.

Defining AP Automation Functional Requirements (Part 1): Core Invoicing (Set-Up, Creation, Submission and Receiving)

AP Automation is getting a lot of attention recently from multiple angles. This includes both finance/procurement organizations considering these solutions independently or as a component of broader invoice-to-pay or procure-to-pay investments. And it also counts the investment community, which continues to throw support behind a broad range of providers (just recently MineralTree raising $50 million).

As we’ve noted before, from a breadth perspective, AP automation technology can encompass the following functional areas on the highest level, which include electronic invoice capture, paper/PDF invoice capture (scan/capture), core invoice processing, invoice validations/matching (e.g., match to a PO or goods receipt), invoice approvals, supplier portal, supplier enablement services, systems integration, pre-onboarded suppliers payment integration and payment.

As part of our continuing coverage of AP automation, this Spend Matters PRO series will explore the functional requirements that finance and procurement organizations should look for in a solution with “foundational” and “advanced” capabilities.

Part 1 takes our first look at the core invoicing requirements for AP automation and some of the criteria that Global 2000 and middle market organizations should consider when selecting solutions (i.e., invoicing set-up, paper scan/capture support and e-invoicing). Subsequent briefs in this series will analyze other AP automation requirements that customers should look for in a solution.

Coupa to Acquire Exari: What Type of CLM Solution Is Coupa Getting? (Part 1)

Coupa just announced that it intends to acquire Exari, a leading provider of contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions. Terms of the deal were not provided, but with Exari having almost 150 employees, it’s not unreasonable that the private firm would have over $30 million in revenues and a deal size valued at just over nine figures. Contract management is a red-hot space right now, and Coupa has a very strategic need for this product. Spend Matters believes that this acquisition is a very smart hand-in-glove acquisition even though it’ll require some alterations to truly fit properly.

Coupa currently has a basic contracting module as part of its “Business Spend Management” application suite within the source-to-pay market, but it was missing two critical aspects of modern CLM that are major strengths for Exari. On a product functionality basis, Exari is one of the very top performers in Spend Matters’ CLM rankings on SolutionMap, and it “ticks all the right boxes” for a best-of-breed CLM performer. It’s also unique in its knowledge-based approach to deep contract modeling rather than just straight AI and machine learning based on contract text analytics.

CLM is also not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and the market landscape depends heavily on many factors. Some providers are much more oriented toward the sell-side — e.g., CPQ-oriented providers such as Apttus or SpringCLM (recently acquired by DocuSign). Some are focused on the mass market with usability being a key focus (e.g., Concord, Outlaw, PandaDoc, etc.). And even within large enterprises looking at firms like Exari, Icertis, Agiloft, SirionLabs, and others, they differ in their requirements as to whether they want “deep” functionality, maximum configurability, ease-of-integration, attractiveness to many functions (e.g., the legal department), and/or being part of a larger application suite.

So, what is Coupa getting with Exari? What types of organizations are the best fit for this solution and the combined solution of Coupa and Exari? Is Exari a solution optimized for legal, procurement or both? And what will Coupa need to do to integrate Exari since this acquisition is not some simple bolt-on, but rather, a core platform component? Finally, what is the impact of this acquisition on the S2P and CLM markets?

This Spend Matters PRO quick take analysis provides insight for Coupa customers and the broader market on specifically what the provider is acquiring. Unlike past acquisitions, we believe Exari represents the greatest stretch away from its core economic buyer (at least historically). Find out why.

For an introduction to Exari, we encourage you to read our Spend Matters PRO review: Introduction & Solution Overview, Strengths/Weakness and Market/Competitive Analysis.

SAP Ariba Sourcing: How It Compares Today and What’s Coming Tomorrow (Part 1: Benchmark Performance, Product Roadmap)

future

The strategic sourcing or e-sourcing technology market — we simply call it “Sourcing” in SolutionMap — has undergone significant transformation and bifurcation in recent years. On the one hand, disruption has come from simplicity and ease of use (e.g., Bonfire, Keelvar, Market Dojo, Scout RFP, etc.). And on the other hand, it has come from significant advances in functional capabilities in various areas (e.g., Coupa, GEP, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SynerTrade and Wax Digital, among others).

SAP Ariba, one of the stalwarts of the Sourcing world for over two decades (if you count the acquisition of FreeMarkets), remains a frequent competitor on a global basis today. But how does SAP Ariba compare to others in the market on a functional basis based on its current offering? And what is coming for SAP Ariba Sourcing tomorrow?

Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO analysis provides insight into SAP’s relative strengths and weaknesses today (based on our Q1 2019 SolutionMap release) and shares what we learned from the SAP Ariba Live event this month on an overall roadmap basis. Part 2 will provide additional insight into the new SAP Ariba Sourcing user experience as well as analysis, commentary and customer recommendations based on SAP Ariba’s Sourcing roadmap overall.

SAP Fieldglass Takes Center Stage at SAP Ariba Live (Part 2) — Product Roadmap Insight + Procurement & HR Recommendations

At SAP Ariba Live last week, SAP Fieldglass played a key role not only on the main stage, but in over a dozen breakout sessions. From our research at the event, it is clear that SAP intends to bring these two offerings much closer together in the quarters and years to come.

This Spend Matters PRO brief provides insight into what we learned around the combined product roadmap, including the persona-driven approaches SAP Fieldglass and SAP Ariba are taking to integration scenarios.

Finally, we provide concrete recommendations to two stakeholder groups (Procurement and Human Capital Management executives) in terms of how they should think about the combination of SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass and the role they should take in selecting the best fit solutions for their current and emerging needs. 

Artificial Intelligence Meets Payables and Dynamic Discounting: Oracle Cloud Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 3)

In recent years, Oracle has transformed itself from the inside out, from a procurement solutions perspective, putting its full force behind building a suite of applications designed for the cloud — rather than behind the firewall.

It has reinforced this product development and go-to-market effort with strong incentives to existing customers to migrate from E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards to its Cloud solutions line. And it has successfully been targeting new procurement customers — some of which do not have an Oracle back-end.

This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides a recap and summary of Oracle’s Cloud procurement applications, shares insight into roadmap direction for the suite and explores recent investments in artificial intelligence and other enabling technologies. Organizations wanting a primer on Oracle Procurement Cloud can read our Vendor Snapshot series: Background/Solution Overview, Strengths/Weaknesses and Summary, and Competitive Overview/Recommendations.