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Top 3 Procurement Mergers and Acquisitions of 2017 (and 2018, So Far)

02/02/2018 By

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No matter the year, activity in procurement mergers and acquisitions (M&A) always tops the list of highly read Spend Matters coverage. It should be no surprise, as the short-, medium- and long-term results affect procurement providers and, ultimately, practitioners alike.

Over the last year (and in the first month of 2018), we’ve seen several key link-ups whose ramifications have already begun to ripple throughout the sector.

Here are the top events — in no particular ranked order — of the past 12 months or so, and what they mean to the industry, according to the Spend Matters analysts and extended team.

The Most Recent: ADP Acquired WorkMarket

In the manner of the classic image of a herring chomping a minnow, only to be chomped in turn by a shark, WorkMarket acquired OnForce in August 2017 — only to be acquired itself by payroll and human capital management giant ADP in January 2018.

For WorkMarket, an enterprise work intermediation platform (WIP) business, its acquisition of OnForce had “deeper significance than perhaps apparent” at the time, “not only in terms of direct benefits to WorkMarket but also as a part of the ongoing digitalization and transformation of the human capital supply chain and the evolution of work,” according to lead analyst Andrew Karpie in his initial take. Karpie went deeper in the follow-up PRO article, as well.

WorkMarket also partnered with a large insurance carrier in November 2017 to allow companies using WorkMarket’s platform to offer workers compensation to independent contractors.

This led to ADP’s acquisition, which represents what is perhaps the company’s first major step into the contingent workforce segment (and, one could say, the gig economy), according to Karpie’s coverage of the breaking news. Spend Matters views this acquisition as “a milestone event in the accelerating evolution of enterprise workforce sourcing, engagement and management, where the traditional W-2 employee workforce and external contingent workforce tended to fall into the domains of HR and contingent workforce procurement, respectively.”

This led us to ask: Will ADP become the Amazon Business of labor and services? Get all the context and much deeper insight around this link-up in Andrew Karpie’s PRO series.

Coupa Made Big Moves, Acquiring Spend360, Trade Extensions and Simeno

“Our entire company is focused on execution for our path to $1 billion in annual revenue,” Donna Wilczek, Coupa’s vice president of product strategy and innovation, told us in a recent Q&A.

That became clear over the course of 2017, when Coupa acquired five companies, including Spend360 in January 2017, Trade Extensions the following April and its biggest acquisition to date, Simeno, in December.

Coupa decided to augment its own set of front-end analytics capabilities with what Spend360 had to offer, thereby bolstering spend data classification and predictive insights for the company. “In many ways, it is the opposite of other Coupa acquisitions (which brought ‘cool’ enabling technology that was not ready for immediate primetime,” wrote the Spend Matters analyst team in its PRO deep-dive background and product analysis.

With Trade Extensions, Coupa put competitive pressure on one of its biggest challengers, SAP Ariba, for “broader procurement technology suite deals in which deep sourcing capabilities for complex, high-impact categories is a consideration alongside [P2P] capabilities.” The acquisition also spawned a sweet analogy from the analyst team (hint: it deals with cars). Check out the PRO Solution and Market Analysis for that.

Spend Matters analysts had to put together an FAQ for the Simeno deal (paywall), simply to answer questions such as, “Why haven’t I heard of Simeno?” The team wrote that the deal not only gave Coupa a European advantage, but that the acquisition “brings Simeno’s prebuilt supplier content integrations, unique solutions and intellectual property, particularly in the catalog management and services procurement areas, to Coupa.”

The firm recently gave the Spend Matters analyst team a peek under the hood of its latest solution update, R20, as well as an update on its first foray into services procurement, Services Maestro.

The Biggest, Perhaps? Jaggaer Acquires BravoSolution

After merging with Pool4Tool in June 2017, which gave it end-to-end direct and indirect materials procurement coverage, Jaggaer wasn’t quite satisfied. The provider lived up to its image of “the hunter” and bagged itself another biggie in late 2017: BravoSolution.

Here are our initial thoughts and considerations.

The Spend Matters analyst team has dedicated quite a volume of insightful words to the Jaggaer-BravoSolution acquisition since then that speaks for itself — including several comparisons on key categories such as sourcing and CLM, and a 10-question list that customers and the market should consider regarding the deal. (Check them all out in the Related Articles section below.)

We’ll leave you with this cool personal take from Spend Matters Analyst Tom Finn on how a few guys who walked into his office 23 years ago asking for help building their proof of concept app ended up being the same guys behind this acquisition.

An acquisition that, according to Finn, is bold and tastes great — but that “only time will tell if it’s more filling.”

See how some the above providers and others ranked in Spend Matters’ Q4 2017 SolutionMap.