Emptoris: A Eulogy from Jason Busch for a Great Company

We featured here the news that the Emptoris product line is to be gradually phased out by IBM over coming years and IBM / SAP Ariba partnership will come into play. Emptoris customers will be encouraged to move to SAP Ariba, and there will be more development work and other initiatives between the two giant firms.

Jason Busch, founder of Spend Matters and veteran of the procurement technology market, wrote  “Emptoris: A Eulogy for a Great Company last week in response to that announcement. In what is a really great article, he looks at the history of Emptoris, and what made the firm so successful. Here is a taster.

“It’s easy for people to forget everything that Emptoris accomplished. After all, when today’s millennial category managers and analysts use a spend analytics module, field a supplier assessment or survey, conduct a supplier performance KPI assessment, run a multiround RFP, leverage sourcing optimization for the first time, use a VMS to manage contingent labor or collaborate with legal in building a contract, they are using sets of tools that Emptoris (and the companies that it acquired) often pioneered.

We all owe a big debt of gratitude to Avner Schneur (and his wife), Ralph Guanci (who I miss dearly), Kevin Potts and others who led the early charge for Emptoris. They developed, bought and sold products that were ahead of their time”.

We’d recommend that you read his whole article, but adding a few of my own thoughts, I remember first seeing “optimisation” technology being used when I helped Heinz a little with their winning CIPS Award entry back in 2004 (I think). That was Emptoris technology and I was knocked out by the way it had generated such value for Heinz.

Emptoris were then one of our very first sponsors here at Spend Matters UK/Europe in 2010, and we really enjoyed the relationship - thanks in particular to Russell Johns who was always both professional and a personal pleasure to work with (not forgetting Karen Merrill, Eric Allen, Justin Sadler-Smith and others).  When they acquired interesting firms like Xcitec and Rivermine during 2011, the firm really looked like it was establishing itself as perhaps the most dynamic and forward thinking in our industry.

And then … what has happened in recent years since the IBM acquisition might make a business school case study at some stage, but Jason has at least made sure some of the history of a genuinely innovative and important firm in our sector will be remembered and his article has already attracted a good number of comments from alumni of the firm and others. Do take a look here at his excellent full eulogy, but let’s leave our final word to him:

“For everyone involved in this journey, we won’t forget what you contributed to the great world of procurement technology. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Emptoris alumni and future alumni.

To everyone involved in Emptoris, I say, “Thank you.” Your work has inspired a generation to embrace procurement technology in ways that we never could have imagined at the time. And it won’t be forgotten!”


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