You know how they say that a picture is worth a thousand words?
Well as it turns out – at least in the case of Jason Busch, a resume also speaks volumes.
Before I share with you the results of my research, I am going to pose the following question; if someone has never actually worked as a procurement professional – I am talking about actually working as a buyer or in some capacity beyond a sales and marketing position with a vendor, to what degree would you rely on their advice on procurement? Or to put it another way, in what way would you rely on their advice as opposed to that of a fellow procurement professional?
Before you answer, have a read of the following from Phil Fersht’s Horses for Sources blog:
While I would encourage you to click on the above image to read the actual page, let me share a few highlights from Jason’s bio:
“Prior to launching Azul Partners, Jason directed branding and strategic marketing for FreeMarkets, a leading provider of sourcing and supply management technology and services. During his tenure at FreeMarkets, he created and spearheaded a range of marketing functions including competitive intelligence, strategic marketing, and analyst relations. Overseeing the publication of all marketing content to drive lead generation and sales efforts, he also led FreeMarkets’ efforts to become the eminent thought leader in the supply chain arena.”
The profile on Jason then goes on to say . . .
“Prior to FreeMarkets, Jason served as consultant and analyst with Northeast Consulting (acquired by Nervewire), a Boston-based management consulting firm focused on the intersection of strategy and technology. At Northeast Consulting, he advised a diverse group of leading technology and services companies on corporate and product strategy . . . In addition to working with providers on corporate and product strategies, he helped craft tactical sales tools, including strategic marketing content, ROI analyses, and market-driven launch plans.”
Finally, and in further support of his adulatory pronouncement that Jason is the Prince of Procurement, the Pontiff of Procure-to-pay, Fersht’s bio informs us of the following . . .
“Prior to entering the technology arena, Jason worked as an analyst for a small merchant bank where he analyzed private placement convertible and fixed-income investments in the US and European markets.”
Now being thorough, I also checked out Jason’s profile on LinkedIn, which confirmed the above, and the fact that he has never actually worked as a procurement professional.
He has been involved with sales and marketing. He has also worked as a consultant focusing on technology for the benefit of technology and service companies, as well as being an analyst for a small merchant bank.
With all due respect, what in his background yells “procurement”, let alone “Prince of Procurement”?
In fact, and based on my posts Madison Avenue ooops . . . make that Gartner, names Oracle as a leader in supply chain planning and Are investment bankers and Wall Street bad for business?, it would not be unreasonable to wonder whose best interests Jason represents? By the way, this isn’t just a question regarding Jason. It is about analyst and journalist/blogger coverage of our industry in general.
While you ponder the above, I think that it is time that procurement professionals take some ownership for our failure to step up to the plate and rely on our own experiences and expertise as opposed to abdicating decisions about our future to those outside of the profession. In essence, selling or providing a solution to the procurement world is not the same as actually being in the procurement world. When I talk about dog eared catalogs with a variety of colored post-it notes and frantic scribbling, you will know what I mean with regard to this latter reference.
Don’t misinterpret what I am saying here. There is nothing wrong with seeking the advice of others, especially in areas that fall outside of our core competencies. However, there is a world of difference between seeking advice and, as one guest on my radio show put it, “blindly follow the lead of analysts and bloggers whose interests are to a certain extent influenced by the very companies about whom they are supposed to be providing objective and meaningful coverage.”
Noting the above, the real question we should be asking ourselves is quite simply this . . . why did we allow analysts and bloggers to wield the influence they have when, in many instances, they haven’t walked a mile in our shoes. Of even greater importance, what are we prepared to do about it now?
It is both our individual and collective answer to this last question, that will ultimately determine the future of procurement. Are we going to be active participants in our own destiny, or continue to be spectators bemoaning the fact that we haven’t won our seat at the executive table.
“Those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make acquiescent” – John Naughton, Memex 1.1