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.


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).

SIG dispatch: Leasing Spend — The Hidden Double Digit (millions) Category Savings Opportunity! (Part 1)

At SIG’s Global Executive Summit this week in California, two sessions, a mainstage panel and a breakout session, focused on the opportunity for lease sourcing. Two LeaseAccelerator execs — Steve Keifer, VP of Marketing, and Ingemar Lanevi, VP of Global Lease Sourcing Solutions — ran the sessions.

EVERY procurement leader and category manager who has the opportunity to address lease spend should listen to this presentation (and of course finance teams that have oversight over leasing spend as well). Here are some of my notes from the talk and from the slides that Steve shared with me:

20 Tips to Maximize Private Equity, Investment and Strategic Buyer Outcomes (Part 6: Acquisition Strategy and the ‘End Game’)

In this Spend Matters Nexus series, we’ll go over Tips 14 and 15 as we continue to explore the ways for sellers to maximize private equity, investment and strategic buyer outcomes in the procurement solutions market and others. Now, let’s turn our attention to two areas: the importance of fleshing out an acquisition strategy and roadmap — and “knowing the end game” in terms of likely future buyers after the next phase of the company’s growth. In our exploration, we share the best practices and not-so-best practices that we have observed across the hundreds of transactions we have been involved in.

So far in this Nexus series, we’ve covered the initial 13 of 20 tips (see Part 1 , Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5). Let’s check out Tips 14 and 15 now.

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).

SIG Executive Summit: Partnerships, Pashmina Rebellions and Polish

Three members of the Spend Matters crew came down to Carlsbad, California, for SIG’s Global Executive Summit. Pierre Mitchell, Sheena Smith and I have all enjoyed our time (and this gorgeous Southern California sunshine) so far. As the first day of the Summit kicked off Tuesday, I took the stage for a couple of minutes to announce Spend Matters’ partnership with SIG (later, I’ll share a bit more on the session that Pierre and I presented).

It was a true honor to announce the relationship to SIG members alongside my longtime friend and SIG Founder Dawn Tiura, but I had to ask why they only provided silky pashminas to delegates who get chilly vs. a slightly more masculine tweed scarf. Alas, this inspired a few of my fellow manly delegates to take the stage during a lunchtime panel in a pashmina rebellion, usurping the silky garments in a dapper manner.

In all seriousness, SIG thinks of EVERY detail for delegates. And our first day included a lot of insights.

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

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

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).

So far in this Nexus series, we covered the initial 10 tips to prepare for the process itself (see Part 1 , Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4).

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).

Brightfield (TDX) Raises a Whopper of a Round: Analysis + Implications for Contingent Workforce/Services Technology

Earlier today, Spend Matters reported that a $53 million Series A funding round was raised by Brightfield (TDX), formerly a consulting firm that became a provider of AI-derived market intelligence for the contingent workforce/services community. Spend Matters believes the size of the round — very large for a series A — is indicative of a number of factors beyond the fact that Brightfield (TDX) is a more mature organization in terms of product, customers and revenue than most companies going up for an earlier stage funding round.

Indeed, Brightfield “2.0’s” rapid data-driven success after its pivot — and the comparatively gargantuan investor vote of confidence at the Series A level — represent several converging trends. We will explore these in this Spend Matters Nexus research brief, which also provides overall analysis and key takeaways for services procurement providers, investors and practitioners. Our analysis begins with a company and solution overview of Brightfield and its TDX platform, Talent Data Exchange.

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).