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.


Workday and Scout RFP: Customer Recommendations

This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides analysis in support of Workday and Scout RFP customers following last week’s news that Workday is acquiring the sourcing provider. Previous coverage of the transaction with content aimed at CEOs, strategy / corporate development leaders and investors can be found on Spend Matters Nexus (see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4).

Nexus coverage provides an overview of the transaction, an introduction to Scout RFP, Scout RFP strengths / weaknesses, competitive analysis and recommendations (for ERP providers, suite providers and best-of-breed providers, separately) and potential Workday and Scout RFP integration touchpoints.

Today on Spend Matters PRO, we turn our attention to those which will be most impacted by the announcement: Scout RFP and Workday customers. We encourage Spend Matters PRO practitioner clients who are using or considering Scout RFP or Workday for procurement to contact us for more information on how the acquisition could affect them.

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

Today was supposed to end a relaxed week, with two days of PTO for a variety of family activities. Instead, the week went wild — when Workday caught everyone slightly off-guard Monday as it announced that it would acquire Scout RFP.

That news launched a flurry of activity here, because I love real-time coverage of procurement sector M&A.

And with the investment-focused Spend Matters Nexus officially launching the same day as that breaking news, the timing, except for my scuttled plans to relax a bit more than usual, could not have been more perfect. This week I also ended up having some meetings with clients. And the lessons from the Workday and Scout news have resonated in many of the meetings. (See our Nexus coverage from this week that led to the insights.)

Workday acquiring Scout RFP (Part 4: Potential Areas of Solution Integration)

integration

Our final Spend Matters Nexus brief for the week analyzing Workday’s acquisition of Scout RFP focuses on potential product and workflow integration touchpoints between the providers, based on activities that Workday and Scout worked on while “partners only” as well as more strategic considerations. (See the first three installments here, here and here, covering general deal analysis, Scout capabilities + strengths/weaknesses, and competitive sector analysis.)

Today’s analysis begins with a list of generic sourcing integration touchpoints with broader source-to-pay and procurement technology capabilities.

As our Nexus coverage has shown, we tend to look at the acquisition of Scout as a clever, innocuous way for Workday to get into the edges of procurement with a standalone, crowd-pleasing solution. But we also think there’s much more to come from a Workday product roadmap perspective — and that this move is only one of the first acts of a much longer play.

Note: This analysis will be updated next week based on a briefing call with Workday.

 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).

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

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 of the transaction news 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., Corcentric, Coupa, Ivalua, Jaggaer, SAP Ariba, SynerTrade, Wax Digital and Zycus) as well as specialty providers that emphasize the sourcing area. U.S. and European sourcing specialists include Allocation Network, Bonfire, EC Sourcing Group, K2 Sourcing, Keelvar, MarketDojo, Promena and ScanMarket and my favorite, at least for its name, SourceDog.



Since the other dog is my car right now and I’m late for a meeting, let me call that proverbial Uber and get on with this analysis.

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).

Workday’s acquisition of Scout RFP (Part 2: ERP competitors analyzed)

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 Epicor, Infor, Oracle, Microsoft, Netsuite (Oracle), SAP, Sage and Unit4.

In this analysis, we also provide context via a brief history lesson on how (and why) ERP providers have traditionally offered procurement capability as an extension of financials, tracing the emergence of ERP from MRP. Specifically, we trace how and why this legacy has led to a situation of technology that is inadequate for procurement’s needs (which gave rise to the source-to-pay technology market in the first place).



Subsequent competitive analyses of the transaction will consider both suite and best-of-breed / independent procurement technology providers, including the valuation impact on the sector (and what some of the key drivers to valuation have been recently). We will also explore in greater detail the process, sales and technical integration considerations for Workday as it digests this procurement amuse-bouche.

But for now, let’s dust off our competitive bifocals as we magnify the competitive considerations of the deal, examining Workday’s ERP peers competing for their share of the $50 billion procurement technology total addressable market (TAM), as estimated by Coupa’s  Business Spend Management TAM.

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).

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

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 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.

Later this week, we’ll offer an analysis of the M&A and deal components of the transaction (e.g., estimated multiples), provide deeper insight into the integrations/touchpoints between Workday and Scout, and share an analysis of the impact on the competitive landscape (for competitive ERPs, source-to-pay suites and independent sourcing providers).



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).

A Due Diligence Survival Guide: What to Expect (Part 1: Passing Architecture & Structural Product Scrutiny)

public procurement

This Spend Matters Nexus series on due diligence kicks off Nexus as its own subscription stream apart from PRO content.

The series is a survival guide on the due diligence process for sellers, especially all the areas outside of finance and accounting (though we’ll eventually get to this part of the process). And we hope that acquirers and investors — even seasoned corporate development, PE and venture types — will find it useful as well. We unfortunately know some buyers who could have spared themselves some headaches had they been as anal as we are in many of these areas.

Perhaps the biggest challenge that executives going through a fund-raising or transaction process face is that they are not adequately prepared for all the curveballs — many of the Astros batters facing the Nationals Stephen Strasburg’s recent loopers come to mind — that might get tossed their way in the due diligence process.

There are so many areas that investors and acquirers might decide to take an extra look at that even world-class “hitters” might not see them coming. And even those who think they are prepared for all the pitches might not fully anticipate the twists and turns the ball might take just before it hits the strike zone (we’ll stop with the baseball analogies, but with one of us coming from the North Side of Chicago, we’re empathetically giddy about our friends in Washington being able to claim victory in the World Series for the first time, turning around what initially looked to be a modest season).

The 2019 baseball Fall Classic aside, fully preparing for diligence is about practice (a topic we’ll explore later in this Nexus series), and it’s one that we ideally recommend companies rehearse — even though few will be prepared from “regular season” play alone at the level that ideally they should be at. Regardless, even those that do not practice sufficiently will stand to benefit from a comprehensive checklist about what to expect.



In Part 1 of our series, we’ll start first with an overall list of areas to consider from a diligence checklist perspective. Then we’ll immediately dive into what to expect around architecture and structural product diligence. (Warning: This is deep!) In the weeks to come, we’ll crawl out of the technology weeds as our exploration continues.

And of course throughout this Nexus series, we’ll aim to put a unique spin on the topic for procurement, finance and supply chain software companies, as these are the software segments we’re most experienced in scrutinizing — and occasionally preparing or dressing up for a process.

Let’s begin.

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).

Spend Matters Nexus: Subscription stream now live!

Earlier this summer, I created a new role for myself at Spend Matters, going back to my roots as an adviser to investors, boards and management teams focused on strategy and corporate development topics.

As part of this transition, we’re excited to officially launch a new subscription service, Spend Matters Nexus, with content specifically written for founders, CEOs, corporate development leaders, and the private equity and investment community interested in the procurement landscape. We initially made this content stream available to all PRO subscribers as part of a transition period, but as of this month, Nexus will officially become an independent subscription.

Look for the first official Nexus column to post later today. Read on to see why now is the time for Nexus.

SIG dispatch: Leasing Spend — The Hidden Double Digit (millions) Category Savings Opportunity! (Part 2)

contract

I wanted to continue my SIG post from the other day that looked at lease spend and why it’s gaining importance. In recent years, lease spending has come under the microscope because accounting rules now require publicly held companies to disclose their lease spend on their balance sheets. Private companies and government agencies will have to do the same eventually.

The foundational piece of effective leasing spend management is assembling all that data to enable the proper accounting treatment for leases. This also paves the foundation for better visibility and control of leasing spend as well (to learn more about the basics, a recent Spend Matters’ article looked at why lease spend is poorly managed).

But visibility is different from impact. Once procurement has helped finance properly account for new financial reporting requirements, there’s an opportunity to drive lease savings as well.

So let’s look at where the value and savings can come from.

20 Tips to Maximize Private Equity, Investment and Strategic Buyer Outcomes (Part 8: Knowing Your Weaknesses) 

In this Spend Matters Nexus brief, we’ll look at our next-to-last tip for sellers to optimize the outcomes of an exit process/liquidity event when selling to private equity or strategic buyers. Tip 19, know your weaknesses, may sound simple, but it is an area where blindspots are more common than 360-degree vision.

Our tip today centers on the notion that for sellers, it is helpful to not only be able to articulate areas for improvement in such things as product (mix, capability, etc.), team, geographic presence, etc. But it is also important to display the right level of self- and market-awareness in what you would like to do about it. That is, if given the resources to execute.

If you are just getting introduced to this series, start with the earlier tips. (see Part 1 , Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7).

Jason Busch is the 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).

20 Questions for E-invoicing and Procurement Network and Platform Selection (Part 2)

supplier network

Editor's note: This Spend Matters Plus brief is a refresh of our 2013 series on supplier network selection, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO.

In the first installment of this series, OB10/Tungsten, Ariba/SAP, and GXS: 20 Questions On Supplier Network Selection, we gave some context around the right organizational questions that procurement, accounts payable (A/P), finance and supply chain organizations should ask before getting to a supplier network selection RFP/RFI. We also offered up the first five of our 20-question list, which we’ll complete today.

But before we get started, it’s important to note that this list isn’t just relevant for an initial selection for new connectivity tools and on-ramps, but also for evaluating an ongoing strategy – and selecting the right set of providers to work with in the future. In nearly all cases, it will be multiple network or platform providers rather than a single one.

We begin our list by addressing this question of single/multiple providers directly and how to structure an arrangement with a preferred on-ramp, vendor, or working with multiple providers on the same level:

20 Tips to Maximize Private Equity, Investment and Strategic Buyer Outcomes (Part 7: De-Risk Deals for Buyers, Do Fund/Buyer Homework, Allow Access During Due Diligence)

In this Spend Matters Nexus brief, we’ll look at Tips 16, 17 and 18 (out of 20) for maximizing both the exit process and outcome (from a seller perspective) when engaging private equity or strategic buyers from an M&A perspective. Today, we turn our attention to three areas: how to “de-risk” a transaction for investors (including everything from foundational de-risking approaches to more advanced models), how/why to do your fund/strategic buyer homework to bring the optimal set of suitors/buyers into a process, and affording the optimal level of access/diligence to buyers and their transaction advisers. So far in this Nexus series, we covered the initial tips to prepare for the process itself (see Part 1 , Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6).

Jason Busch is the 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).