Author Archives: Jason Busch

Waiting for ERP …

I had a quick call the other day with a procurement executive at a large company you’d probably recognize who asked me a question which I’m hearing more and more of these days. And that’s: what is the best course of action to take given a short-term solution need — in this particular case, it was contract management — but an IT-driven emphasis over the long haul on standardizing on their ERP providers procurement capabilities. In this case — as … More

Modules vs. Suites (and Ramblings on “Free”)

As an unbiased third party – I’m about as unbiased as you can get given the fact that I used to work for a bigger rival of Iasta’s and currently know just about every major vendor in the space and count many as consulting clients – I can say that the strategy that Iasta is going down by extending its SmartSource capability and not charging more for additional breadth and depth is a good one for practitioners. Because ultimately, it’s … More

Ramblings on Procurement and the Changing Organization

In David’s and Michael’s recent series, I found some great material on what innovation is really about. And in the posts this weekend that they asked me to comment on about the changing organization, I’ve got some specific observations which hopefully should prove useful. As some background, I’ve never fancied myself an “organization man”. The button down shirt, boring tie, and ill-fitting IBM-style suit thing has never quite fit my style. And even as a first year consultant out of … More

SaaS Rules in the Middle Market – Turn That AS/400 Box into an Ashtray

Recently, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the whole SaaS/On-Demand vs. installed argument in the middle market. And with Oracle / JD Edwards coming out with an e-sourcing offering, the question is now one that middle market procurement organizations should really think hard about as well. Personally, I’m becoming more and more sold on SaaS as the optimal delivery model for e-sourcing when it comes to the middle market. Here’s three reasons why: 1) E-Sourcing is not just about … More

e-Sourcing: A Logical First Step in the Compliance Process

We can all agree that there’s no replacement for contract management capability from a compliance perspective. The recent Emptoris / DiCarta deal highlights this. But many procurement organizations often forget how implementing strategic sourcing and category management approaches through the use of e-Sourcing applications can help generate savings while ensuring that standard vendor management processes are adhered to in the contracting and negotiating process. But e-Sourcing applications not only enable standardized sourcing processes, but they also create an audit trail … More

Before the Negotiation: eSourcing Suites and LCCS

I recently returned from a whirlwind visit to China where I met with suppliers in various industries. The trip emphasized to me the great variation in supplier capability and sophistication in developing markets, and the importance of a prequalification processes to winnow down potential vendors before conducting onsite visits and assessments. The good news is that eSourcing applications can play an incredibly useful role in helping companies of all sizes to qualify low cost country suppliers. Even without deploying a … More

Optimization and Reverse Auctions are Not Mutually Exclusive

I recently did quite a bit of research on the state of eSourcing optimization technology, and came away impressed with how far the vendor community has come in the past few years. But while a good number of providers now offer optimization capabilities (including Iasta), I have a feeling that from an adoption standpoint, users are significantly lagging behind the optimization tools that they now have available to them. In fact, I’d wager that less than 20% of procurement organizations … More

E-Sourcing Technology: Keeping it Simple

It’s been a decade since FreeMarkets, Moai, Trading Dynamics and others introduced E-Sourcing technology to the market. Since that time, E-Sourcing has become sourcing for many organizations – or at least a critical online enabler of internally (or externally) developed sourcing processes. But not every vendor has survived along the way. For example, I chuckle when I remember the brainpower and passion that went into creating the now defunct Business Bots (this is a slow link to their old website … More

Catching the Reverse Auction Fever

Earlier this week, I posted a short blog on Spend Matters about a recent Stanford University study that supports the use of reverse auctions. You can read the direct link to the announcement of the research here. What I find most curious about the news is that is seems to coincide with a renewed interest in reverse auctions — in both the academic and real worlds. At around the same time of the announcement, I received an email from Wedad … More

e-Sourcing: Keeping Suppliers Honest

I recently posted a blog on Spend Matters about how a range of suppliers across categories have been using Katrina as an excuse to bump up their margins, often deploying extortionist tactics in the process (e.g., refusing to honor existing transportation contracts by not picking up freight unless surcharges are paid on the spot). In my view, suppliers that rely on tactics like this will certainly hurt themselves in the long-term. But given the rise of transparent pricing through reverse … More

eSourcing and Escalation / De-Escalation Clauses

Earlier this week, I gave a speech at a supply chain event sponsored by the American Gas Association. Before and after my presentation, there were a number of questions from participants about the impact of commodity price fluctuations on supply availability and contract adherence. In fact, I heard one participant grumble that a trucking provider refused to honor contracts this fall that were already in place because of rising gas prices even if it meant breaking a legally binding agreement. … More

To Auction or Not to Auction …

I’m often asked what percentage of spend companies should put through reverse auctions. Unfortunately, this is absolutely the wrong way of looking at how to apply the right sourcing strategy to a given situation. I recently posted on my blog, Spend Matters, about how foam, a key commodity in many industrial applications, was recently put on allocation because of short supplies. A few months ago, foam was an item that could easily be put through a reverse auction. It was … More

finally … an e-sourcing blog arrives!

For those who don’t know me, I write the original blog in the Spend Management space: Spend Matters. When I started it last winter, most professionals involved in the procurement arena had no clue what a blog was (including me). When I started, it was a bit of an experiment to say the least. But as traffic and interest grew, I knew there was an unmet need for additional blogs on more focused areas on the sector. When I learned … More