Blinded by familiarity, Jason Busch gets called out by a vendor for missing the mark

Posted on December 1, 2011


However, we took slight offence to his comment “Still, as far as we’re aware, Ariba is the first provider in the Spend Management sector of any material size/market share in a given product area to make a product free for buying organizations.” Why are we offended? Well, Jason himself reviewed our free e-Sourcing offering over five years ago, with a similarly titled post: “When it Comes to e-Sourcing, How Good is Free?”. I of course left a comment on his site pointing out the oversight, in which Jason replies “WhyAbe is a small offering from a boutique firm. I do not consider either to have material size / marketshare. “

Jason’s comment just demonstrated the main reason why Strategic Sourcing initiatives fail to achieve the optimal saving potential: Making Assumptions with Poor Market Intelligence.

from the December 1st, 2011 The Strategic Sourceror post “What’s in a Name? Don’t Make Assumptions Based on Familiarity Alone.”

In one of the more notable lines from the movie the Godfather, Clemenza is talking with Michael in his cellar while helping him with his preparation for rubbing out McCluskey and Sollozzo when Michael asks “How bad do you think it’s gonna be?”

After telling him it’s going to be pretty bad, Clemenza then goes on to say “That’s alright — this thing’s gotta happen every five years or so — ten years — helps to get rid of the bad blood.  Been ten years since the last one.”

As we come to the close of 2011, it has been some time since Jason Busch and I have crossed swords so to speak.  In fact the last e-mail exchange I had with Jason was around this same time last year in which we ironically wrote similar pieces relating to the launch of the Ariba for Dummies book.

This brief moment of consensus notwithstanding, when I read the above referenced SourceOne post I could not remain silent as the article spoke to the very heart of my contention with what many would consider to be the old procurement guard.  A cozy group of individuals whose overall influence in the increasing vastness of a changing SaaS world diminishes a little bit more each and every day.

As a result, I provided the following commentary on the SourceOne blog and are happy to share it with you here today:

But the bigger issue is not one that is tied to a lack of research but one of familiarity that often times blinds even the most experienced of pundits.  This is after all why Colin Powell in his famous PowerPoint presentation indicated that while it is important to seek out expert advice, it is equally important to recognize the fact that even experts can and do hit a knowledge plateau that renders their opinion less than relevant in a dynamically changing world.  Especially within the context of comfortable relationships with the very vendors one seeks to cover.

Sadly, this myopic vision was illustrated in a September 2nd, 2010 post I had written titled “While Rome Burns, Jason Busch Talks About Remodelling The City,” and again in a September 7th, 2010 post “Spend Matters’ Recent Guest Author Post Underlines How The Industry Has Lost Its Objectivity through Familiarity.”

As previously written, I like Jason.  The problem is that he has surrounded himself and in the process become a part of the fading oligarchical interests of a closed procurement community that no longer carries the weight of influence it once did in the market.  I guess an 85% initiative failure rate will do that.

The long and the short of it was highlighted in a 2000 software industry report which predicted that traditional vendor models were ultimately numbered, as emerging vendors (many like Source One I might add that have been in existence for more than 20 years) were going to become the new industry titans.

There is no way anyone could miss this unless they chose to look the other way or ignore the obvious.


Posted in: Commentary