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.


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

Oracle vs. Coupa: E-Procurement Head-to-Head Technology Evaluation and Comparison

What was the Analyst scoring shocker in the Q1 2018 SolutionMaps for E-Procurement and Procure-to-Pay? Oracle. But is Oracle Procurement Cloud on the same transactional procurement technology and capability level as Coupa — or even higher — when it comes to e-procurement?

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 and Oracle head-to-head in the Spend Matters evaluation ring. Here’s a preview: In certain e-procurement capabilities — which span catalog management, shopping/requisitioning, ordering, receiving, supplier network, configurability, technology (overall), general services and a summary e-procurement average — Coupa wins hands down.

But in others, Oracle surprisingly bests the pole position operational procurement car, bringing capability that takes the prize as the absolute “most improved” e-procurement set of technologies over the past few years. And when the checkered flag comes out — well, we won’t give that away just yet. But the scoring will surprise, we promise. (Hint: It depends on what data you’re looking at and what data you value in your own selection process, as the two providers have different strengths.)

The Q1 2018 E-Procurement SolutionMap benchmark is now based on an underlying dataset featuring 19 separate providers, including all of the “biggies” procurement organizations can expect to consider in a typical selection process. Whether you’re in the market for a new e-procurement product or 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.

Best Practice Tips For Implementing Dynamic Discounting and Other Trade Financing Programs

In this Spend Matters Plus analysis, we investigate some of the key best practice tips for dynamic discounting implementation and trade financing programs. In a follow-up post, we will also share “worst practices” that far too many procurement and AP organizations are pursuing with dynamic discounting and trade financing programs because they don’t know better.

‘Collabs’: What Procurement, the Billboard Chart and Supreme Have in Common

Michael Lamoureux, Xavier Olivera and I are in New York City today at Ivalua Now, the procurement technology provider’s customer event. Alex Saric, Ivalua’s CMO, kicked off the morning’s festivities with a quick introductory presentation highlighting parallels between music and procurement. One of these, which I think is ingenious, is the notion of “collaborations” in the recording industry. Saric extended the concept to procurement partnering with the business.

HICX: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses, Customer Perspective and Summary Recommendations

HICX is representative of a provider that excels in a single platform-level element of a particular discipline (i.e., master data management within supplier management), using this element to build competitive differentiation and a strong customer following in a highly competitive marketplace. While much of our original Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot from 2016 (see Part 1 and Part 2) on HICX remains an accurate review of the provider in 2018, the MDM specialist has leveraged its core strengths to deliver adjacent capabilities and product line extensions.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update provides an update to our previous analysis HICX. Part 2 provides updated strengths and weaknesses, customer reference insight and summary recommendations on when to prioritize HICX as a shortlist candidate. The first installment of our 2018 update provides 2018 key facts on HICX, a solution overview, a recap of its overall footprint and solutions, insight into new features and capabilities, and a competitive landscape update.

HICX: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 1) — Updated Facts, Solution Footprint, Solution Enhancements and Competitive Landscape

In our last deep dive analysis of HICX, a U.K.-based supply chain master data management technology firm, we noted that the provider delivered a unique set of supplier-centric MDM capabilities coupled with configurable workflow for buyers and suppliers. Our original HICX Vendor Snapshot series (see Part 1 and Part 2) still provides a useful foundation for those considering the MDM specialist as a shortlist candidate for supplier management.

For those evaluating HICX, we also recommend the latest Q1 2018 Supplier Management SolutionMap Insider coverage to understand how the provider compares in the supplier management and risk management market on a comparative basis.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update provides an refresh to our previous analysis of HICX. Part 1 provides updated key facts on HICX, a solution overview and a competitive landscape update. Part 2 provides updated strengths and weaknesses, customer reference insights, and summary recommendations on when to consider HICX as a top shortlist candidate for supplier management.

Supplier Management: When the User Experience Guides Functionality (Part 2)

digital

When it comes to procurement and supplier management technology solutions, you can learn a lot when spending time looking both at and below the user interface surface of specific solutions. However, the user experience and underlying technology stack are increasingly interconnected — and coupled. Thus, separating the two from each other can be difficult.

This Spend Matters PRO series explores what separates best-of-breed supplier management vendors from the pack, with an emphasis both on the UI and underlying technology capabilities. 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. In Part 2, we continue with an emphasis on exploring the intersection of functionality and usability.

Supplier Management: When the User Experience Guides Functionality (Part 1)

tech

When it comes to supplier management technology, there seems to be a near universal playbook that most of the top technology providers follow for defining, capturing and managing supplier data. It’s not surprising, then, that when it comes to marketing such capabilities, there's essentially no differentiation at all. As a result, you'd be forgiven if you thought that many supplier management vendors sound interchangeable, despite claims of advanced master data management, metric tracking or portal superiority.

In practice, however, nothing could be further from the truth. As our latest Supplier Management SolutionMap indicates, there is significant differentiation among providers, and our PRO Vendor Snapshot reviews on providers such as Aravo, HICX and Lavante only further illustrate this point. But you need to dive deep to find the variation that counts — differentiation that only comes into play when you start unpacking the specific supplier information management, performance management, supplier portal, relationship management, initiative management, discovery, master data components and related capabilities of best-in-class providers.

The purpose of this series on supplier management functionality and user design is to, in effect, share the ingredients to the secret sauce we see in use today among both top performing providers and those making the recipe list for tomorrow’s supplier management menu. We kick off our series by first exploring messaging, chat and collaboration, guided survey and template creation, uploading of templates and documents, and simplified data creation and validation.

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

Basware and SAP Ariba are among the two strongest invoice-to-pay providers in the Spend Matters Q1 2018 Invoice-to-Pay (I2P) SolutionMap on a functional 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 head-to-head SolutionMap results analysis from our Q1 2018 dataset, along with 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. The most recent head-to-head comparisons include Coupa vs. SAP Ariba (e-procurement) and Coupa vs. Jaggaer Advantage (sourcing).

So prepare for some real data and expect a few sparks to fly as we pit Basware and SAP Ariba head-to-head in the Spend Matters evaluation ring. Not a SolutionMap Insider member yet? Here’s a preview: In certain invoice-to-pay categories — which span supplier network, configurability, technology (overall), general services, invoicing setup, invoicing creation/capturing/submission, services invoicing and 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 takes the yellow jersey. But in others, Basware is first in the peloton. And overall the results suggest that it is essential to evaluate each provider’s capabilities in the context of specific deployment considerations (e.g., AP automation-led initiatives compared with broader procure-to-pay considerations).

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.

Coupa Inspire Dispatch: Rob Bernshteyn on Facts, Figures and Updates

Yesterday at Inspire (see my previous live coverage from the event here, here and here) Coupa’s CEO Rob Bernshteyn offered up a number of facts, updates and figures on Coupa which I thought would be worth sharing with Spend Matters readers.

Note: these facts, figures and updates centered primarily on Coupa usage, partners and adoption at the product level. Let’s begin!