2019’s top 5 most-viewed Nexus posts: 20 Tips; Workday-Scout RFP deal insights; Icertis and the red hot CLM market

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In July, Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch launched Spend Matters Nexus — his focus on the M&A and business side of the procurement technology market. Here’s how he describes it:

“The Nexus membership program is designed for investors/acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and solution provider CEOs in the procurement and finance technology/solution ecosystem. Membership offers a new strategic lens to the solution areas covered on Spend Matters.

"Nexus was borne out of an increased demand for research subscriptions, due diligence and strategy support with our private equity clients in late 2018 (which has picked up exponentially this year). But recently, our team realized there was a flip side to working with technology acquirers — providing relevant market intelligence and fresh, data-driven analysis for solution provider CEOs, boards and leadership teams.”

And here is a countdown of the top 5 most-viewed Nexus stories of 2019:

5. 20 Tips to Maximize Private Equity, Investment and Strategic Buyer Outcomes (Part 5: Bankers, Added Metrics and Differentiation) [Nexus]

By JASON BUSCH, October 7, 2019

In this Spend Matters Nexus brief, we’ll look at Tips 11, 12 and 13 (out of 20) for maximizing outcomes for private equity, investment or strategic deals.

Collectively, the Spend Matters team has analyzed hundreds of solution providers in the past two decades from a corporate development and private equity lens. We’ve also been involved on the other side of the transaction table as well, with sellers. Based on that experience, this series represents the comprehensive advice we would give sellers before a transaction to achieve the most advantageous outcome.

Today, we turn our attention to three areas: investment bankers (where they add the most value vs. not); the benefits of established “added” metrics to track the business; and explaining and justifying competitive differentiation in a manner that investors will believe (or not).

4. Workday’s acquisition of Scout RFP (Part 3: Suite and Best-of-Breed Competitor Analysis and Recommendations) [Nexus]

By JASON BUSCH, November 6, 2019

Earlier in the week, the finance and HR solutions provider Workday announced it was buying Scout RFP, a sourcing solution for those who would rather use Uber than maintain an old car (I make this observation with full cynicism intended because my 25-year-old car has been in the shop for three of the past six months).

You can find previous free coverage on the transaction on Spend Matters here and here. In our first Nexus subscriber brief covering the procurement technology sector’s M&A news, we offered background on Scout RFP, explored the provider’s strengths and weaknesses, and gave our initial insights into the rationale for the transaction. The second brief explored the competitive implications of the transaction on Workday’s ERP competitors.

As we continue our analysis on Spend Matters Nexus, we turn our attention to landscape implications of the transaction that may affect other, specialized procurement technology providers. We also offer lessons learned for this group as well in terms of what really matters with driving customer success, growth and, subsequently, valuation.

Today’s research brief provides a competitive analysis for the source-to-pay suite market segment (e.g., CorcentricCoupaIvaluaJaggaerSAP AribaSynerTradeWax Digital and Zycus) as well as specialty providers that emphasize the sourcing area. U.S. and European sourcing specialists include Allocation NetworkBonfireEC Sourcing GroupK2 Sourcing, KeelvarMarketDojoPromena and ScanMarket and my favorite, at least for its name, SourceDog.

3. Workday’s acquisition of Scout RFP (Part 2: ERP competitors analyzed) [Nexus]

By JASON BUSCH, November 5, 2019

Yesterday, the finance and HR solutions provider Workday announced it was buying Scout RFP, an easy-to-use sourcing solution. You can find previous free coverage on the transaction on Spend Matters here and here. In our first Nexus subscriber brief covering the procurement technology sector’s M&A news, we offered background on Scout, explored the provider’s strengths and weaknesses, and gave our initial insights into the rationale for the transaction.

As we continue our analysis on Spend Matters Nexus, we turn our attention to landscape implications of the transaction that may affect other technology providers. Today’s research brief provides a competitive analysis for the ERP market segment including providers such as EpicorInforOracleMicrosoftNetsuite (Oracle), SAPSage and Unit4.

2. Icertis becomes first true CLM unicorn, with $115M funding round — and it sits atop a market that’s red hot and ripe for M&A [Nexus]

By PIERRE MITCHELL AND JASON BUSCH, July 17, 2019

Icertis announced today that its latest funding round raised $115 million and that the provider of contract lifecycle management (CLM) is now valued at more than a billion dollars, reaching proverbial “unicorn” status. …

Icertis is private and doesn’t disclose revenues, but it has been growing extremely quickly (claiming 125% CAGR over the last four years), and with over 800 employees, a forward-looking revenue run rate approaching $200 million seems reasonable, and only requires a 5X multiple to get to a $1 billion valuation (we believe the revenue multiple to be higher than this).

Also, Icertis is a clear market leader in the CLM space based on our latest Q2 2019 SolutionMap deep-dive competitive assessment (available here for free). And, Icertis competitor Exari was recently acquired at roughly a 10X multiple, so there should be little doubt about Icertis’ favorable prospects.

Icertis announced that its new $115 million in funding will be used for continued product development in adjacent product areas (and geographies), verticalization, possible acquisitions, blockchain development and, of course, AI — which is red hot in CLM.

Spend Matters has covered Icertis for years, and while the firm’s stated mission to “become the contract management platform of the world” may seem a bit audacious, the firm has executed historically well due in part to its strong management team and focused strategy as a true CLM pure play that doesn’t focus on any one particular business process area (e.g, within the sell-side for customer contracts).

The firm is also buoyed by the fact that the CLM market is throwing off its shackles as a place for glorified document management systems set up by legal departments to transfer commercial risk to counterparties. Rather, contracts are becoming the ultimate system-of-record for B2B commerce, not just from a legal department standpoint, but a financial one (e.g., where contracts become the new ledgers that augment the G/L), a regulatory/risk standpoint, and an operational one relevant to any place where internal/external stakeholders make commitments to each other.

We call this concept “commercial value management” (CVM), and we discussed its framework in a recent Spend Matters PRO research paper titled “Commercial Value Management: Making Contracts the Commercial Core of Enterprise Value (Part 1).” In it, we stated:

“There is a subtle shift happening within the scope of contract and commercial management (CCM), and a not-so-subtle shift that is also happening within the digital realm (e.g., namely artificial intelligence, low-code platforms, open source, “XaaS”). What’s happening is that as contracts get digitized and more deeply modeled, they are becoming the single most important piece of master data within the enterprise that touches virtually every single stakeholder within these core processes and also within corporate functions such as R&D, risk management, strategic planning, treasury, audit, sustainability, digital/innovation and others.”

In the rest of this Spend Matters Nexus brief, we’ll examine the following topics:

  • Icertis’ prospects relative to multiple CLM market segments and competitors
  • How CLM’s evolution to “CVM” impacts Icertis. (Think of CVM as “extended CLM” on steroids.)
  • M&A, exit and other considerations for Icertis — including potential acquirers as an alternative to an IPO.

1. First Take Analysis: Workday’s Acquisition of Scout RFP (Part 1: Scout Background, Strengths/Weaknesses, Deal Rationale) [Nexus]

By JASON BUSCH, November 5, 2019

Workday, a provider of finance and human resources solutions, has announced its intent to acquire Scout RFP for a cool $540 million in cash. For those with a long-time background in the industry, this might at first seem like a somewhat mind-boggling sum for a sourcing provider, bringing back memories of Ariba buying Trading Dynamics in the early B2B sourcing era.

But things are a bit different this time, as Scout is bringing rapid growth, material customer numbers (240+ customers) and material ARR growth to the table (we’ll do a back-of-the-napkin analysis of ARR and revenue contribution / multiple ranges later in this series). Moreover, it’s an innocuous way for Workday to target procurement without having to go after “the hard stuff” (another key theme we’ll explore).

So beyond the somewhat shocking number at first, the deal can begin to make sense if you peel the transaction onion. So let’s begin.

As we kick off our analysis in this Spend Matters Nexus series analyzing the transaction, we’ll focus this first brief on providing a quick overview of Scout, graphically explain where it fits in the source-to-pay landscape, explore the provider’s strengths and weaknesses, and then begin to delve into the rationale for the deal from the Workday vantage point.

Happy New Year! Thanks for reading Spend Matters in 2019 — and check out all of the Nexus posts here.

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