BravoSolution – What Is Jaggaer Acquiring? Some Great People, For A Start!

Before we get into some further personal comments about the Jaggaer acquisition of BravoSolution, we recommend this article by Tom Finn on the Spend Matters US website. He was involved with the very early days of SciQuest and then worked for CombineNet, who were acquired by SciQuest, which then became Jaggaer.

Even more so, if you are a customer of either firm, you really should consider subscribing to the Spend Matters PRO service, if you’re not already signed up.  Just this analysis here from Jason Busch in terms of how customers of BravoSolution should react to the deal is likely to bring you more value than many years of your subscription cost. And no doubt there will be more to come, as well as the excellent SolutionMap deep technology analysis.

Anyway, whatever happens next with Jaggaer, this is the end of one era for BravoSolution. I sat next to their Chairman and founder (Federico Vitaletti) at dinner during their recent conference, and heard the fascinating story of how the firm emerged from an Italian industrial firm in the early 2000s, and became much more than the e-commerce platform that was initially envisaged.

More growth came then under the leadership of the enigmatic and brilliant Nader Sabbaghian from 2008-14. That was underpinned by an interesting approach – each country within the BravoSolution empire had quite significant autonomy, so while the technology was common, in some countries the offering was strongly services-based, while in others, the software led.

That flexibility was evident in the genius of the joint venture with Tejari in the Middle East. It is hard to imagine many major software providers having the necessary flexibility and entrepreneurial attitude, combined with business rigour and customer focus, that together made it work very successfully.

In the UK, BravoSolution was quicker than most to see the potential of the public sector, and became market leaders there for eSourcing and spend analytics. A word too for our friend Sarah Clarke, who was much more than “just” a marketing person, and became one of the best known and respected figures in the UK procurement software world, as she did an amazing job in terms of driving new business and customer satisfaction more generally. (The picture is from our last Real World Procurement workshop in November 2016, with my collaborator Guy Allen and Sarah).

After Nader moved on, Jim Wetekamp stepped up to CEO. He brought a different range of skills from Nader but proved to be an excellent CEO and drove further years of growth and development.  In the UK and Middle East, Richard Hogg took the reins and despite clocking up Emirates Platinum status very quickly, brought his common sense, customer focus and sense of humour to bear on those key markets.  A mention too for another old friend, Hannele Palje-Rossi, who (after I acted as match-maker between her and BravoSolution) successfully built their Nordics business from scratch and is another great asset to the firm.

Indeed, we have rarely met a BravoSolution person we didn’t genuinely respect and like. Working with Soraya, Erika, Josh, Dan, Tim, Pete, Mike, Steve, Marwa, Sarah, Andrea, Ruth-Ann, John, Florian (and others) … it’s been a real pleasure. The culture is one where people work hard but don’t take themselves too seriously, and it was a pleasure to go into the London office as the atmosphere was always so positive. If Jaggaer have any sense they will build on this talent and work hard to retain and motivate the stars!

Moving away from people, there are some big questions for Jaggaer around the product strategy – Jason discusses these in much more detail in the PRO article. But will the BravoSolution platform still be developed? Will integration between the different parts of the new empire be the aim? Or will Jaggaer promote the idea of “best of breed”, perhaps with just loose integration of different offerings from the firm?

There is much for customers to consider, and already others are looking to make something out of this development – see SynerTrade’s “kind” offer to Bravo customers here! Just as the contract management sharks are gathering around the carcass of the Emptoris product and its customer base, we will see plenty of activity as competitors look to exploit any uncertainty or confusion, particularly in the BravoSolution client base.

But looking positively, this is now one of the three giant procurement software firms (SAP Ariba, Coupa and Jaggaer) who have clear water between them and the rest.  We said recently that there probably isn’t room for many more than three long-term in our market, so this also puts additional pressure on firms like Ivalua, Tradeshift, Basware, Zycus, Oracle, GEP and Proactis in particular.  However, the devil will be in the integration detail for Jaegger, so no doubt we will have more to report over coming months.

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