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.


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

Per Angusta is the only technology solution Spend Matters has reviewed that is entirely focused on program management in support of category, sourcing and supplier and broader procurement activities. Moreover, the provider represents a unique case in which it is increasingly focused on developing tight, platform-based integrations with leading source-to-pay suite and module providers, embedding its capabilities out-of-the-box on an integrated basis with third-party technologies.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about whether Per Angusta, as a standalone or integrated program management solution, should be looked at as a “nice to have” or a mandatory extension of their current capabilities and solutions. 

Part 1 of this series provided key facts on Per Angusta, a detailed solution overview and shortlist criteria for organization that should prioritize the provider. Part 2 provides an analysis of Per Angusta’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as summary recommendations on when to consider Per Angusta as a technology to support program management requirements.

Catalog Management: Technical and Functional Component Requirements (Part 3) — Maintenance, Workflow and Analytics

If there were ever an esoteric yet critical insider series on technology aimed at procure-to-pay process owners, this is it. In the past year, the Spend Matters analyst team has spent hundreds of hours tearing into the catalog management capabilities of all the leading e-procurement vendors as part of our SolutionMap analysis, as well as in the course of vendor selection work for clients. Our main finding: No catalog management solution we’ve seen is interchangeable with another — and most leave a lot to be desired.

As our catalog management series continues, we turn our attention to the technical and functional components of the maintenance, approval/workflow and analytics components of catalog management, whether used on a standalone basis with ERP procurement or when integrated as a component of e-procurement. So far in this series (see Part 1 and Part 2), we’ve defined the specific components of catalog management and explored supplier network intersections and tie-ins based on the Spend Matters SolutionMap RFI requirements. We’ve also gone into the weeds, delving into the functional definitions and technical components of catalog creation, supplier onboarding and data quality control components.

GEP vs. SAP Ariba: E-Procurement Technology Evaluation and Head-to-Head Comparison

GEP and SAP Ariba could not have more different e-procurement DNA. GEP, as we like to say, is the Swiss Army knife of procurement, combining business process outsourcing (BPO), consulting, managed services, market intelligence and procurement technology under one roof. SAP Ariba is the opposite: it has a legacy as a purely enterprise software company that had two major pivots, first to SaaS and later to the combination of cloud applications tied to a networked business model and value proposition.

This begs the question: How the heck can GEP compete against SAP Ariba — including winning on SAP’s home turf — when its ambitions are less focused than that of its competitor? The comparison between GEP and SAP Aiba in Spend Matters Q1 2018 E-Procurement SolutionMap on a functional scoring basis must not be cut and dried. Or is it?

Join us in this unfiltered SolutionMap results analysis from our Q1 2018 dataset, supplemented by commentary from Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch. These recurring Head-to-Head columns share insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, providing unique comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data, along with the trademark quips that have defined Spend Matters analysis since its inception.

So prepare for some real data and expect at least a modicum salty opinion as we pit GEP and SAP Ariba against each other in the Spend Matters evaluation ring. Not yet an Insider member? Here’s a preview: In the majority of e-procurement categories — which overall span catalog management, shopping/requisitioning, ordering, receiving, supplier network, configurability, technology (overall), general services and an overall summary e-procurement average — SAP Ariba disarms the GEP Swiss Army knife. But in at least one area, GEP takes the prize — which might be the secret to how it wins its share of customer battles.

The Q1 2018 E-Procurement SolutionMap benchmark is now based on an underlying dataset featuring 19 separate providers, including nearly all of the must-shortlist invoice-to-pay technology providers procurement organizations can expect to consider in a typical selection process (as well as those they should consider but might overlook). Whether you’re in the market for a new invoice-to-pay product or just want to know if you made the right decision for your organization, our SolutionMap analysis and benchmark data can tell you the answer. Curious to learn more? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

‘Oh’ Shift: Tradeshift Raises a New $250 Million Warchest

funding

Before I left the office today, I wanted to call out a big event in the the procure-to-pay, marketplace and platform technology sectors. Tradeshift announced earlier this week it had raised $250 million in a funding round led by Goldman Sachs. Let me put that number in perspective: $250 million is a larger warchest than most mid-size tech companies come away with in a typical initial public offering (IPO). Tradeshift has come a long way.

The Evidence: How the Staffing and Contingent Market is Failing Procurement

There’s an incumbent ecosystem in the services procurement universe that has made a business out of delivering the bare minimum to keep customers satisfied and maintain the status quo. No, we’re not referring to the “tools” providers but rather the sad fact is that within the more capable vendor management system (VMS) tool sets today, much of the more advanced capability in these solutions goes untapped or is only partially used.

Who is to blame? It’s easy to shoot the messenger (i.e., staffing firms and the incumbent MSPs). But the blame rests with numerous other parties, as well, including consultancies, outsourcing firms, staffing researchers and, perhaps most serious of all, procurement itself.

In this two-part Spend Matters Plus analysis, a refresh of our original 2014 series, we highlight the contributing factors to how and why the staffing and contingent market is failing procurement, concluding with a prescription to start addressing the challenge. In Part 1, we present the evidence of how the staffing and contingent market is failing procurement.

Corcentric Acquires Source One: Transaction Analysis (Part 2) — Customer Recommendations, Selection Checklist and Procurement Consulting Market Update

Procurement consulting sector insiders might look at Corcentric’s acquisition of Source One as a rounding error representing what is most likely materially less than the revenue — both in terms of revenue contribution and valuation — that a single large client can bring to a Big Five strategy or operations firms over the course of a calendar year.

There’s likely some truth to this statement. But to dismiss the transaction along these lines would be to ignore the acquisition of one of the few remaining non-system integration procurement consultancies in North America of any scale. And perhaps more important, it would also require turning one’s back on a number of macro trends that are fundamentally shifting the dynamics of the procurement consulting, managed services and business process outsourcing sectors.

These trends matter for both for not only those interested in playing a part in sector consolidation (sellers and buyers) but also customers. This two-part Spend Matters PRO research brief provides insight into the transaction. Part 1 provided an overview of the acquisition and background on Source One. In Part 2, we explore Corcentric and Source One customer recommendations, provide a selection checklist for potential Source One customers to evaluate if the firm is the right "fit" and offer our analysis of what the transaction means for the broader procurement consulting and solutions market.

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

tech

You might infer from our research on program management solution capabilities that we view this component of procurement technology solutions as a “missing link” (see Part 1: Design Building Blocks and Part 2: Functional Building Blocks). Simply put, program management technology components — mirroring or in fact driving process requirements when an organization has not yet defined them — is quickly becoming a key requirement for strategic sourcing and broader procurement success, especially in more advanced organizations.

Few source-to-pay technology suites and modules, however, bring program management components that deliver sufficient capabilities to support procurement requirements. This is where Per Angusta comes in. Per Angusta is a technology solution designed solely for category, sourcing, supplier and supply management program management. It’s also a platform in the definitional sense — think “PaaS” — as it supports open, deep and application-specific integrations with third-party procurement technologies that organizations might have in place already or are in the process of selecting and implementing.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations make informed decisions about whether Per Angusta should be considered alongside other source-to-pay technologies (or as an embedded solution to extend them). Part 1 provides key facts on Per Angusta, a detailed solution overview and shortlists criteria for organization that should prioritize the provider. Part 2 provides an analysis of Per Angusta’s detailed strengths and weaknesses and summary recommendations on when to consider Per Angusta.

Coupa vs. SAP Ariba: E-Invoicing and Supplier Network Evaluation and Head-to-Head Comparison

Coupa and SAP Ariba are among the two strongest invoice-to-pay providers in the Spend Matters Q1 2018 Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap on a functional scoring basis. But how do they stack up against each other in a head-to-head bout, especially when considering core e-invoicing and supplier network capabilities as part of the invoice-to-pay solution area?

Join us in this unfiltered SolutionMap results analysis from our Q1 2018 dataset, supplemented by commentary from Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch. These recurring Head-to-Head columns share insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, providing unique comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data, along with the trademark quips that have defined Spend Matters analysis since its inception.

So prepare for some real data and expect at least a modicum of salty opinion as we pit Coupa vs. SAP Ariba against each other. Not yet an Insider member? Here’s a preview: in certain invoice-to-pay categories – which include supplier network, configurability, technology (overall), general services, invoicing setup, invoicing creation/capturing/submission, services invoicing & contract invoicing, invoicing collaboration, invoice validations/approvals, invoice integrations, invoicing compliance, invoice mobility, invoicing analytics, payment/financing and overall invoice-to-pay scoring — SAP Ariba sneaks in a knock-out blow.

But in others, Coupa jabs and beats its foe into the corner, delivering punch after punch until the round ends (and even tosses in a few jabs after the bell). Overall, the results suggest that it is essential to evaluate each provider’s capability in the context of specific deployment considerations (e.g., global compliance, supplier network consideration, services invoicing, invoicing analytics).

The Q1 2018 Invoice-to-Pay SolutionMap benchmark is now based on an underlying dataset featuring 13 separate providers, including nearly all of the must-shortlist invoice-to-pay technology providers procurement organizations can expect to consider in a typical selection process (as well as those they should consider but might overlook). Whether you’re in the market for a new invoice-to-pay product or just want to know if you made the right decision for your organization, our SolutionMap analysis and benchmark data can tell you the answer. Curious to learn more? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Corcentric Acquires Source One: Transaction Analysis (Part 1) — Background, Rationale and Deal Analysis

Corcentric, a unique amalgam of accounts payable automation, order-to-cash, trade financing and group purchasing organization (GPO) software and services, announced earlier in May it would acquire Source One, a boutique sourcing and procurement consultancy. Terms of the transaction were not announced, but Spend Matters believes they are in line with the increasingly higher revenue and EBITDA multiples procurement consultancies and services firms have afforded themselves as of late.

For those unfamiliar with the closely held Corcentric, the name is the permanent rebrand of Corcentric and AmeriQuest. Both companies are based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, arguably a critical factor for Corcentric to realize the full synergies from this targeted acquisition, especially given the relatively small size of Source One.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO research brief provides insight into the transaction. Part 1 provides an overview of the acquisition and background on Source One. Part 2 will provide an analysis of the transaction and our opinion on what it means for the broader procurement consulting and solutions market.

Catalog Management: Technical and Functional Component Requirements (Part 2)

As our Spend Matters PRO series on catalog management continues, we turn our attention to the business, technical and functional requirements that comprise this component of procure-to-pay solutions, specifically what procurement organizations should look for as they evaluate technology vendors as part of an e-procurement selection process. The capabilities we describe in this research brief are based on the Spend Matters SolutionMap RFI requirements for catalog management as a component of procure-to-pay.

Today, we turn our attention to two components of catalog management: catalog creation (inclusive of supplier onboarding) and data quality control, outlining the functional requirements we look for when evaluating catalog management as part of SolutionMap scoring and when defining requirements with procurement organizations in e-procurement and procure-to-pay selection processes.

We welcome discussion with organizations interested in exploring catalog management further. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Catalog Management: What It Is and Why It Matters (Part 1)

One can almost hear Rodney Dangerfield strutting on stage, blurting out, “Catalog management.It don’t get no respect.” At least if you’re as into old 1980s stand-up comedy reruns and e-procurement technology as us.

But seriously, we miss that guy. And with a statement like that, the late Dangerfield would have been spot on about catalog management, an area that is not as well understood or respected as a centerpiece of e-procurement as it should be. This Spend Matters PRO series provides an introduction to catalog management for both business and technical users. Our goal is nothing short of getting it the respect it deserves.

Today, we begin our series with a look at what catalog management is and the different capabilities of which it consists, as well as its intersections with supplier network enablement and connectivity. Those interested in how different providers compare to each other in the catalog management arena as part of broader e-procurement and procure-to-pay capabilities should also check out our latest SolutionMap Insider reports.

We welcome discussion with organizations interested in exploring catalog management further. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Supplier Management: When the User Experience Guides Functionality (Part 3)

This Spend Matters PRO series provides an insider perspective on what separates best-of-breed supplier management technology providers from the pack. It emphasizes both the user interface and underlying solution capabilities of technology solutions, and, in certain cases, how the two come together. We also provide a hint at what’s to come throughout the rest of 2018 and 2019 — that is, what top performing providers will be introducing when “procurement 2020” becomes reality rather than punditry.

Need to catch up on what we’ve covered thus far? Part 1 in our series explored messaging, chat and collaboration; guided survey and template creation; and leading functional elements that enable the uploading of templates and documents. Part 2 unearthed differentiation among leading capabilities that support supplier categorization and tagging, scorecards (inclusive of alerting and predictive analytics), corrective action management, innovation management and master data management.

As our series concludes today, we will turn our attention to:

  • Guided supplier workflow management
  • Relevant risk identification for both parties
  • Integrated smart catalog and product management