Author Archives: Jason Busch



About Jason Busch

Jason is the founder of Azul Partners, which he started in 2004. He is regarded as one of the leading experts in the scintillating world of procurement, finance and supply chain technologies. Jason currently serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, which provides market intelligence, strategy support and due diligence advisory for private equity firms, CEOs and corporate development teams. Prior to Azul Partners, Jason got his on-the-job education in procurement solutions working at FreeMarkets in corporate development, strategic sourcing, marketing and other areas. Before that, he started his career in consulting and merchant banking. Jason holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in English Literature and History.


Segmenting the $1 trillion B2B payments market: Our graphical take (Version 1.0!)

The B2B payments market has a lot of solution providers, and it's time for Spend Matters to highlight some key players across the market landscape. But first, let's take a look back.

Let's compare Goldman Sachs' 2018 overview of the $1 trillion B2B payments market with Spend Matters' view of the landscape now. We break out more than 40 B2B solution providers by category.

CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: Sourcing and Commodity Management — Securing direct materials during the crisis and recovery phases

In this installment of our “Coronavirus Response” series, Spend Matters will explore sourcing and commodity management, with a focus on direct materials. With COVID-19 impacting logistics and existing supply bases, in China (even though China seems to be recovering), the rest of Asia and Europe (thus far), there will be numerous emerging needs for companies across manufacturing. This PRO brief will focus on the first three solution providers that we’ll profile in this category: Allocation Network, Coupa and Jaggaer.

The mission of this series is to examine categories of relevant solutions and example providers that professionals in procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should investigate to reduce, and even mitigate, coronavirus supply risk. And even if the solutions are only addressing a subset of the issues, the ability to respond intelligently in the short term can also help set organizations up for the future when sanity returns to the world.

Today’s brief focuses on the second of the seven solution categories that we’re covering:

1. Supply risk management solutions that include supply chain risk, CSR risk, supplier financial risk, etc.
2. Sourcing and commodity management, including advanced sourcing, direct sourcing, automated supplier discovery, and commodity management to help dynamically plan and source.
3. Advanced procurement analytics to enable direct procurement and/or to perform “spend planning” when demand drops out or spikes.(Its profile for this series is here.)
4. Procure to Pay (P2P) that emphasizes working capital, dynamic discounting, payment control and related finance priorities to help inject cash into the P2P process — especially for many cash-starved suppliers. (This category is discussed in-depth here.)
5. Fraud, P2P and vendor management safeguards when new suppliers need to be set up quickly, and also when lowlife fraudsters try to use the pandemic as a way to steal money and IP.
6. Providers with deep contract analytics that can analyze a contract portfolio for affected contracts from suppliers (and customers) for not just force majeure clauses, but other related clauses that tie to the multiple risks popping up at once in the pandemic.
7. Contingent Workforce and Services solutions that are able to, at a minimum, help rapidly ramp up on-demand workers to deal with massive resource shortfalls. We are looking at four categories of solutions for sourcing remote/online work; solutions for sourcing and managing contract workers at geo-specific capabilities; solutions to “direct source” and manage contract workers; solutions for data management and analytics. (The first PRO brief from this category, about sourcing remote/online work, can be read here.)

Owing to the magnitude of the crisis, Spend Matters recently made the series introduction available for free to all readers. PRO subscribers can see our follow-up pieces that profile the other categories and their solutions in that market. We will include a lot of information on each category PRO brief that readers can see without hitting a paywall, but since we also draw heavily from our existing deep-dive analysis of the providers from our SolutionMap database, some information will be available only to our PRO subscribers.

For sourcing and commodity management, the emerging needs for companies across manufacturing will include rapidly identifying new sources of supply, conducting complex sourcing events for materials, parts and components (which may be tied to broader bills of material), qualifying suppliers based on targeted requirements (e.g., for a specific line), and managing and tracking suppliers based on custom scorecarding.

After the pause button is lifted on production — in cases where one is put into place — these needs will become especially acute during the recovery phase in specific regions (which may be different from the recovery phase in other geographies).

The initial three solutions — from Allocation Network, Coupa and Jaggaer — all have capabilities in advanced sourcing for direct materials and/or strong support for scenario modeling and optimization. We will likely add providers with similar and other strengths in sourcing and commodity management at a later stage.

Each category-specific PRO piece in this series has three sections:

1. Problems and Use Cases. We’ll highlight the problems in force (which will vary through different phases of the crisis) and the various scenarios where solutions can provide deeper insights, intelligence and scalable workflows.
2. Solution Rationale and Value. We’ll outline how various solutions can help solve the problems and the specific questions that they’ll help answer.
3. Example Providers. We’ll highlight the solution providers that can support the problems and deliver value.

Some providers are offering coronavirus-specific programs and “freemium” commercial offers, and we’ll note those whenever we update this piece. We’ll also start the series with providers that we already have deep knowledge on, but we’ve been seeking information from other vendors too.

Let’s jump into how sourcing and commodity management can help.

Through April 2020, a special PRO Expert Survival Pack is available to procurement practitioners only* at up to 50% off — Learn more

Coronavirus-era advice: Tips on asking suppliers for payment-term extensions and other concessions

Disruption from the coronavirus outbreak is forcing some tough conversations about payments.

It’s never an easy topic, but asking suppliers for concessions on a call or video chat in an empathetic manner — or even pre-empting the discussions by socializing ideas early — is far more effective and conducive for relationship-building and joint development than sending out emails, letters or other methods.

Click on this post for a partial list of approaches you might take (and questions to pose), ideally in conversation with suppliers if you need to ask for concessions, given all of the disruption from COVID-19.

The Impact of COVID-19 on M&A and Procurement Technology Investing (Part 1: Introduction)

I’ve decided to open up new Spend Matters Nexus columns and research briefs for everyone, not just subscribers, in the next few weeks, as we’re all certainly in a crisis period with the COVID-19 outbreak. To help make my coverage of investing and M&A more digestible, these dispatches will be shorter than usual (some will include frameworks and charts, others will not).

Having worked through two major shocks and downturns — the B2B.com implosion in 2001-02, the 2008-09 recession — I’m seeing both similarities and differences between those times and the coronavirus fallout today in the procurement, finance and supply chain technology worlds. But for different types of investing, asset classes and M&A activities, it’s clear the effects are already quite individualized.

Today, I’ll start with a summary perspective on what entrepreneurs, CEOs and business owners should expect for the next few months, based on transaction type. Please note: This column is not based on extensive primary research and survey data, but rather anecdotal evidence from what I’m seeing in the market, primarily as an advisor to sponsors and executive teams, but also as an angel investor and advisor myself.

Jason Busch is Managing Partner of Azul Partners’ Investor Advisory Group. He works with sponsors, CEOs and boards on data-driven due diligence, M&A and strategy. Jason is also the lead author of Spend Matters Nexus, a private newsletter and subscription service.

Coronavirus disrupts spring procurement events: My View, by Jason Busch

Updated March 17 with ISM canceling its April conference in Boston. In the past 48 hours, coronavirus concerns have led five procurement and finance solution providers to cancel components of their spring events:

* EcoVadis Sustain (March, now a virtual event)
* Oracle Modern Business Experience (including Modern Supply Chain World) (March, no event, but speeches to be broadcast)
* SAP Ariba Live (March, Las Vegas event rescheduled as a virtual event)
* Ivalua Now (March, Paris event called off, but webcasts and online updates planned)
* Basware Push.Play.Connect (April, Berlin event canceled and virtual one planned)

The virus COVID-19, specifically, is the culprit.

Many other spring events have not been canceled yet. Let's support our procurement partners and clients during this trying time. Things may go digital for the next couple of months by necessity (in part or in whole), but relationships are never forged or maintained in a virtual world alone.

DocuSign-Seal Software transaction analysis (Part 1): Looking at DocuSign’s CLM assets (DocuSign, SpringCM, Seal)

Spend Matters recently predicted that DocuSign, the electronic signature specialist, would buy the AI-assisted contract analytics firm Seal Software (another reason that subscribers to our PRO research are ahead of the market). As the prediction noted in January, “we can’t help but think that DocuSign will be actively looking for inorganic growth options in 2020, and Seal Software might be an obvious choice given its previous $15 million investment. DocuSign will also likely need to focus its attention to the buy-side to bring some parity to its SpringCM pickup.” And so the prediction came true. Perhaps faster than we might have guessed (although the transaction will not close until later this year).

In the coming weeks, Spend Matters Nexus will publish a series of briefs covering the transaction and what it means from a corporate strategy standpoint for DocuSign in regards to targeting CLM. Our approach will include exploring remaining gaps in buy-side CLM for DocuSign.

But let’s start today by focusing on DocuSign’s inventory of assets and what Seal brings to the table, specifically alongside SpringCM.

We’ll also tackle what Seal’s AI provides to DocuSign, and offer some initial analysis about the fallout for the competitive landscape in this brave new CLM-meets-AI-meets-“platform” world (spanning a range of providers like Icertis, Agiloft, Coupa, SAP Ariba, Conga, LegalSifter, Kira, Luminance, LawGeex, Zycus, etc.). An aside in this regard: Other buy-side providers who used Seal will now be likely looking elsewhere for CLM support for counterparty document shredding, analytics and repository creation (Seal’s partners include PwC, KPMG, E&Y, Deloitte, IBM, Coupa, SAP Ariba and many others).

Let’s dive in.

If you are new to CLM market, we recommend starting with the following research briefs:

* Seal Software: Vendor Snapshot — Part 1: Background and Solution Overview
* Part 2: Product Strengths and Weaknesses
* Part 3: Commentary and Summary Analysis
* For SolutionMap Insider subscribers, see the CLM Scoring Summary that shows where vendors rank and details their capabilities, including both pure play providers (e.g., Icertis, Agiloft, SirionLabs) and the S2P suite vendors. We’ll be adding Conga in our spring SolutionMap release in March — and then add Apttus and hopefully DocuSign (SpringCM) in the fall release. The public can see the SolutionMap CLM vendor rankings by persona here for free.
* Commercial Value Management: Making Contracts the Commercial Core of Enterprise Value (Part 1) [PRO]
* CVM (Part 2): Using Next-Generation Contract Systems to Integrate Operations, Financials, Risk and Technology [PRO]
* CVM (Part 3): Critical Commercial Use Cases to Align Extended CLM with the Enterprise [PRO]
* 2020 Predictions for Contract Management: Where the CLM Market Is Going This Year and This Decade [PRO]
* Free content: 2020 Predicaments in Contract Management: Poor Adoption, CLM Market Fragmentation and Limited Imagination
* Free content: Artificial Intelligence in Contract Management (4-part series)

How does McKinsey’s acquisition of Orpheus affect Sievo and the spend analytics solution landscape? (Part 1: Background)

I’ve long been a fan of the spend analytics firm Sievo (going back to when my friend Fabrice Saporito was helping drive its commercialization as CEO in the formative years). But in a world where procurement and spend analytics technology ages fast, constant investment in R&D to drive solution improvement is key. You’ll need to read SolutionMap Insider (Analytics) and Spend Matters PRO (see our recent Vendor Snapshot of Sievo: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) to see how Sievo stacks up today, product wise.

But more important from where I sit today on the strategy and transaction side of the house (vs. the product one — I’ll leave that analysis entirely to the Spend Matters analyst team), is how McKinsey’s acquisition of Orpheus moves around the chess pieces on the partner and M&A board in terms of Sievo and its peers (Sievo, prior to the Orpheus acquisition, had a partnership with McKinsey). Does the deal help or hurt Sievo’s stock, so to speak?

In this two-part Nexus analysis, I’ll offer a perspective on this, starting with a look at Sievo (by the numbers including estimated revenue, customers, etc.) and what makes it attractive for partners and potential suitors.



But more important than what this means for Sievo as a potential strategic partner for others, alone, is what it means for all the other vendors, consultants, managed services and BPO firms in the market looking to build, OEM or acquire the right procurement, finance and spend analytics capabilities for their needs now that Orpheus has been taken off the chessboard. I’ll also explore this topic as well in this Nexus analysis.

Let’s dive in.

Jason Busch is Managing Partner of Azul Partners’ Investor Advisory Group. He works with sponsors, CEOs and boards on data-driven due diligence, M&A and strategy. Jason is also the lead author of Spend Matters Nexus, a private newsletter and subscription service that publishes 50+ times per year. Spend Matters and Spend Matters Nexus are owned by Azul Partners. His investment disclosures and other activities can be found on LinkedIn.

McKinsey buys Orpheus: Valuation Estimates, Product Strengths/Weaknesses and Implications for the Firm & Its Clients

This month, McKinsey announced it was acquiring Orpheus, a regional yet specialized (and highly capable) spend and procurement analysis provider based in Germany. For a primer on Orpheus and the acquisition, see our initial Nexus coverage. Long-time subscribers to Spend Matters PRO and SolutionMap Insider (analytics) know that analytics represents a set of capabilities that we pay very close attention to, owing to its importance in identifying broad-based procurement savings opportunities — and tracking results.

Indeed, when implemented correctly, spend and procurement analytics can drive savings and compliance across a range of areas, including sourcing, category management, procure-to-pay, contract compliance (including commodity and currency clauses). These solutions can also help procurement and finance organizations and consultancies to identify and manage working capital and payment opportunities to create a new balance sheet lever for “spend” that extends beyond how most companies think of spend management — a clever artifice that consultancies have leveraged in cost take-out engagements for decades.

This Spend Matters Nexus brief begins by sharing a back-of-the-napkin valuation and multiple estimate for the Orpheus-McKinsey transaction based on our M&A work in the sector (valuing spend analytics firms is typically not as easy as traditional SaaS). But this analysis focuses primarily on highlighting Orpheus’ strengths and weaknesses and what these will mean as McKinsey takes Orpheus global as part of its “Solutions” arsenal of capabilities outside of just consultancy. Not to mention enhancing the value levers — and speed with which it can pull them — in client studies.

As our analysis concludes in the final brief in this series, we will provide insight into how the transaction may impact the competitive landscape for spend and procurement analytics.

Spend Matters PRO and SolutionMap Insider subscribers (Analytics) can also learn more here:

McKinsey buys Orpheus: Company and Solution Overview + Rapid Transaction Analysis

Earlier today, McKinsey announced it was acquiring Orpheus, a German-based spend analytics company. The move represents a potentially interesting flanking maneuver for McKinsey in the ever more competitive and converging world of procurement and operations consulting and managed services.

It is said that the Big 5 (e.g., Deloitte, which has its own analytics applications) has always had the ear of the CFO, owing to its accounting roots. And Accenture (which has various in-house technologies too) has always possessed a similar relationship with technology leadership (and often process leadership as well). But in contrast, McKinsey has been able to sometimes come out on top of both types of firms by selling to the board or C-level.

In reality, these are just stereotypes, as the level of relationship that a consultancy has in selling is always unique to the situation, the seniority of its partners and other circumstances. But no doubt the convergence of solutions — professional services, analytics, market intelligence, packaged SasS applications, etc. — is not only helping bifurcate the consultancy market in procurement and supply chain, but has led to new types of hybrid firms such as GEP and Insight Sourcing Group to dramatically break out from the mold too.

In a series of research briefs on Spend Matters Nexus covering the addition of Orpheus to McKinsey’s solution arsenal, we will explore these topics from multiple angles, including a competitive landscape analysis of “converged” solutions.

But let us start today with what Orpheus does (and does not) do along with some basic revenue/customer facts and figures, as well as some initial hypotheses on what Orpheus will bring to McKinsey beyond the obvious of core, in-house spend analytics capabilities (displacing Sievo, most likely, as one of the firms “go-to” partner solutions).

This first analysis will be a bit technical in nature, but we believe that in the analytics sector such analysis is important to put the acquisition in context from a broader strategy, corporate development and M&A landscape perspective. So stick with it if you can. We promise on the back end it will be worth it.

Spend Matters PRO and SolutionMap Insider subscribers (Analytics) can also learn more here:

Omnia acquires InsightGPO: Putting M&A at the center of a growth strategy

This week, Omnia Partners announced it was acquiring InsightGPO, the group purchasing organization arm of Insight Sourcing Group. According to the announcement, the transaction closed on Dec. 31, 2019. Prior to the definitive agreement, “InsightGPO was one of five divisions of Insight Sourcing Group,” which provided its “clients with highly targeted offerings for office supplies, auto rental, MRO and office equipment,” according to the press release announcing the deal.

Yesterday, I had the chance to speak to Tom Beaty, CEO, Insight Sourcing Group, and M. Todd Abner, President and CEO of Omnia Partners, to learn more about the transaction.

This Spend Matters Nexus brief shares a bit of what was learned (Omnia facts, figures) along with our own transaction analysis and a back-of-the-napkin valuation and relative multiples in the GPO market. It also traces the history of Omnia and provides a perspective on the GPO today (at an investor level) and future scenarios. We will follow up this Nexus M&A analysis with a detailed vendor snapshot/overview of Omnia on Spend Matters PRO this quarter, including a full SWOT, customer recommendations, etc.

For those interested in learning the basics of GPOs and how to use them as part of a category management portfolio strategy, we suggest you start with our past coverage and a chart showing the primary GPO market segments:

● An Introduction to Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs)
● Group Purchasing Organizations: Supplier Perspectives and the Evolving GPO Landscape
● All We Are “Saved” — Give Purchasing Consortia (Including GPOs) a Chance
● The Healthcare Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) Landscape: Background, History and Introduction



Jason Busch is Managing Partner of Azul Partners’ Investor Advisory Group. He works with sponsors, CEOs and boards on data-driven due diligence, M&A and strategy. Jason is also the lead author of Spend Matters Nexus, a private newsletter and subscription service that publishes 50+ times per year. Spend Matters and Spend Matters Nexus are owned by Azul Partners. His investment disclosures and other activities can be found on LinkedIn.

2020 M&A and Procurement Investment Predictions: 10 Trends to Watch (Part 2)

procurement

M&A and investor interest in the procurement technology sector is at an all-time high. Of course it also helps that there are more than 1,000 providers in the procurement solutions market (software, consulting, outsourcing, managed services, market intelligence, etc.) and adjacent markets than ever before — and new start-ups popping up on what feels like a weekly basis.

In the first installment of this series, we covered the first three sector M&A and investments trends that we’re paying attention to in 2020. These are competition growing between strategic and financial buyers; ERP and big tech getting more active in the sector; and buyers/investors expanding their definition of procurement technology.

Today, we turn our attention to our next two trends. These are:

Trend 4: Convergence of sourcing, category and market intelligence solutions: blurring the lines (i.e., application/technology, services, content/intelligence, etc.)

Trend 5: Payments, accounts payable and procurement intersections accelerate