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This week, Spend Matters Nexus starts with a bang! Thank you, Workday and Scout RFP

11/08/2019 By


Today was supposed to end a relaxed week, with two days of PTO for a variety of family activities and a quick trip back to my alma matter. Instead, things went wild starting on Monday around market close — when Workday caught everyone slightly off-guard, announcing that it would acquire Scout RFP. That news launched a flurry of activity here to both get the news and our analysis (peeling many layers of the onion) out. And the timing could not have been better.

With the strategy, corporate development and private equity-focused Spend Matters Nexus officially launching the same day as Workday buying the firm that I sometimes described to folks as “that millennial e-sourcing start up”, the timing, except for my scuttled plans to take a Timothy Ferris approach to my job for once, could not have been more perfect.

Being able to have time to really think through the implications of transactions and vendor strategic moves at a strategy, landscape and investment level within the procurement technology market is a luxury I did not have in the past. Previously, I was in the trenches with my colleagues focused on industry analyst technology work.

But now, with the time to synthesize, reflect, analyze and second guess our own research and data, and then assemble comparatively rapid analyses from it for Nexus, I get incredibly excited because I know there’s a small group of folks in the market who desperately need it. Previously, they had to do their own analysis (often with incomplete information) if they did it at all.

On a personal level, I feel my coverage of Workday’s announced transaction (See our four-part Nexus analysis), from a strategy and market-implications perspective, represents some of the best work I’ve ever done as an observer of the industry in 15 years of writing Spend Matters. I’m proud of it. And I’m grateful for the time I had to do it, and for the Spend Matters’ data and research that enabled it.


But even more important for me than being able to write for the specialized community that I think will benefit from reading Nexus, conducting this type of analysis is about righting a number of misunderstandings in the industry when I read coverage on other sites and financial analysts reports.

Let me elaborate on this. While I don’t want to be rude to others who have covered this deal from an industry or, especially, a financial analyst perspective, I feel that the lack of understanding of how the various components of the procurement and finance technology landscape (beyond just core financials, but including treasury management, payments, commodity management, services procurement, etc.) fit together and what is driving growth, customer adoption and overall investment requires someone to set the record straight.

You can’t just be data-driven from a plug-and-chug ARR/MMR perspective and say that “this makes Workday a procurement player” and think you’re doing justice to anyone. In fact, I’d argue, those who say this are misleading their audience.

I believe that covering transactions such as this accurately, intelligently and from an expert, data-driven vantage point matters. And it does so both from a capital allocation and a competitive strategy perspective, including delving into what all this means not only for Workday but rival ERPs and procurement suite specialists such as Coupa, Ivalua and Jaggaer — not to mention all of the private equity, venture and seed investors helping fuel the engine of innovation in this market.


A few weeks before I launched Nexus, someone asked me: Who will you be writing to? I said that’s easy — myself. Nexus will inherently be a selfish exercise.

In other words, this is the content that I would have liked to have had throughout all of my career focused on strategy, corporate development and M&A activities — not to mention to use in providing distilled droplets to my friends and colleagues building companies and investing in the sector. Even if we launched with no subscribers (which fortunately was not the case, so thank you in advanced for those who took the plunge), I’d still be happy.

This idea I know is somewhat strange. Why write for 50 or 500 people when you could be writing for 50,000?

It’s because those few people have a giant multiplier on where capital is allocated in the entire market. And the challenge of trying to do this better than it’s ever been done before (in any market) fires me up. There were multiple mornings this week when I had no business going to bed or waking up at the times I did without a compelling need other than wanting to provide what I know my clients would want to know about this $540 million transaction as quickly as possible so that they could make better decisions with the information.

In the past few days, I also ended up having some meetings with a number of clients and partners. And the lessons from Workday and Scout that I really had time to think through prepared me better than I’ve ever been when questions came up around valuation drivers, roadmap/development tradeoffs and overall investment considerations and related areas, all of which Scout has many lessons to teach the market about (hint: building the “best” or most “advanced” from a feature/function perspective is all but irrelevant today below certain revenue and customer thresholds).

So, a big shout out and thank you to my colleagues and the entire Spend Matters audience for indulging this former corporate development geek in what he does best. It’s been many years since I’ve had this much fun.

Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs in the procurement and finance solutions marketplace (including contract management, B2B marketplaces/connectivity, indirect procurement, services procurement, direct procurement, commodity management, payment, trade financing, GRC/third-party management and related adjacent sectors).