Yesterday, Coupa announced that it would soon launch Release 8, making the latest version of its cloud P2P application suite available on September 14th. Two members of the Spend Matters team have been briefed on Release 8, but we have not yet seen the new functionality and enhancements outside of screen shots, so we'll withhold our detailed commentary until we've had a chance to play in the tool sandbox a bit.
Still, despite our limited interaction with the release so far, we'd argue that the forthcoming launch extends Coupa's footprint in probably the two most strategic areas the vendor could head. In one case, e-invoicing, Coupa was previously lacking an answer to Basware, Ariba and others outside of a simple invoicing capability. And in the other, contract management/contract visibility, Coupa saw a chance to release a native contract compliance and visibility toolset (not full contract lifecycle management, including authoring) linking the contract lifecycle with core eProcurement in a truly procurement-centric manner. According to the announcement, the contract visibility component, which will be priced separately from the Coupa's other modules, "enforces negotiated prices at the time of requisition, automatically tracks spend and savings, and alerts customers to critical commitment timelines."
In the invoicing area (also priced separately), Coupa can now lay claim to many of the core capabilities that have enabled providers like Basware, Verian and Ariba (e.g., "support for re-routing of disputed invoices for approvals, invoice tolerance workflows") to develop standalone offerings outside of eProcurement, selling to both AP and finance. We suspect this release will preclude a tighter Coupa partnership with the likes of a pure-play invoicing vendor along the lines of what they have developed with Emptoris and others for sourcing and contract management.
We've spent a bit more time so far looking at the details of the contract management capability and our snap judgment is that the new capability is not so much "contract management" as defined, but rather a new type of integrated purchasing and contract visibility module, providing proactive notifications as well as some simple if not slick reporting capability (e.g., PO and invoice spend as well as savings tied to specific contracts). The toolset also enables a range of other capabilities including support for tiered pricing.
Of course how Coupa stacks up across the e-invoicing Feature 500 checklist remains to be seen (not to mention usability, support for broader AP-driven supplier enablement, etc.) The spend devil is always in the details when it comes to new launches such as this!
We'll review these new capabilities in more detail in the coming weeks, including the many other updates that Coupa has baked into its latest release pie.
From the announcement (quoted verbatim):
Key capabilities of Coupa 8 are as follows:
Coupa Smarter Contracts
The current Coupa platform already supports centralization of purchasing contracts including capabilities of a single repository with secured access with advanced search and reporting. Highlights of the new release include:
- Tiered pricing with discounts based on quantity per order and per contract
- Reduced volume pricing calculations in shopping cart
- Minimum spend commitment and expiry alerts
- Spend charts plotting purchase order, invoice spend and total savings over contract lifetime together with visual overlay of time and spend-based alert events
- Drill-down into all purchase orders and invoices made against the contract
- Summary dashboards of top spend items and spend by commodity
Coupa Invoicing -- the current Coupa platform already supports invoicing process management addressing electronic capture of invoices through supplier self- service portal, and automated B2B connections through CXML, EDI and APIs, sophisticated approval workflows for invoice processing and exception management, workload management through workload distribution and advanced invoice reporting. Highlights of the new release include:
- Support for multiple remit-to locations
- Enhanced support for re-routing of disputed invoices for approvals
- Enhanced invoice tolerance workflows
- Additional approval rules driven by invoice types, invoice tolerance failure type and hierarchies
- Automatic reminders and escalations
- Support for non-PO/Non contract backed invoices into CSN (Coupa Supplier Network)
Mobility and Expense Management
- Create an expense report directly from a mobile phone
- TripIt Integration (e.g., creation of expense report, importing trips information directly from Tripit)
- Expense auto-classification engine
Platform Enhancements -- over 30 additional enhancements in the Procure to Order platform, including:
- Auto-classification (picking the right commodity based on a requisition line description)
- Benchmarking data to drive approvals and escalations
- Integration enhancements – new API for approvals, invoice creation and image scan, lookup support etc.
- Usability enhancements across the board
- Hard stop on budget when limits are reached
- Purchase order change order