Coupa, a low-cost, On-Demand e-procurement provider is continuing to prove that how much a company spends on eProcurement is not necessarily tied to how user friendly or powerful the system actually is. In my view, this is especially good news for small and middle market companies who don't have the budgets to implement an ERP SRM solution -- or one from a more expensive best of breed provider. Coupa's latest release offers a number of enhancements, many of which Michael Lamoureux has already encyclopedically blogged about on Sourcing Innovation. I'll spare you the deep details on this post, but Coupa's most important enhancements in this latest release are focused on driving usability and adoption. Most important in my view, Coupa has invested in enhancing supplier enablement and connectivity through offering self-service capabilities designed to speed up the initial on-boarding and supplier management processes. In addition, the latest version also offers enhanced workflow for users and managers, additional UI enhancements and strong administrative capabilities for procurement and finance professionals.
All in all, the latest release appears to be a big step forward for the e-procurement upstart. But Coupa isn't just copying existing enterprise software paradigms in the latest release -- they're also leapfrogging others in some areas, incorporating newer paradigms and approaches to navigation and catalog/item search. For example, they've incorporated the concept of a tag cloud to help users find what they're looking for (see the picture below if you're curious about how this works). I asked Dave Stephens, Coupa's CEO and co-founder, why he chose to go down this path. Dave suggested to me that "progressive procurement organizations of all sizes aren't threatened by empowering employees in their e-procurement initiative. Rather, they actively recruit frontline employees in the pursuit to drive compliance and savings by bringing additional spend under management. Using Web 2.0 technologies such as tag clouds for better spend classification, these organizations enhance user adoption while simultaneously gaining far better insight on their spending."
- Jason Busch