Earlier this morning, Coupa and OB10 announced a partnership in the accounts payable area, enabling Coupa's eProcurement users to tap the OB10 network for e-invoicing connectivity. According to the announcement, the "strategic partnership will provide Coupa customers with seamless integration to eliminate the need for paper invoices ... As a result of the Coupa/OB10 partnership, invoices from suppliers' billing systems now flow seamlessly into Coupa's cloud solution ... reducing invoice processing time, reducing costs, and introducing opportunities for early payment."
While there is competitive overlap in the capabilities that OB10 and Coupa provide given Coupa's recent entrance into the e-invoicing sector and OB10's network enhancements including discounting and financing -- stay tuned for further detailed coverage of these new capabilities from both providers in the coming weeks on Spend Matters and Spend Matters PRO -- Coupa's focus has been on core application capability. This is in contrast to an approach that focuses on supplier connectivity leveraging a one-to-many or many-to-many network (however, they do have their own "network," depending on your definition, if it qualifies). Yet the type of supplier portal capability, routing, rules and matching that can occur within the OB10 network are similar to the capabilities found in targeted e-invoicing toolsets, including Coupa's solution.
But OB10 delivers more than just a connectivity service for e-invoicing with additional functional capabiliites in the network cloud itself that overlap with some aspects of P2P tools. It's also an open indirect procurement and e-invoicing network -- really, the original open network, as far as we can tell, at least the first with any sustained volume scale. OB10 has the equivalent of roaming agreements with many local network providers. Granted, they're not alone. Basware co-opted this approach a few years back when they began to scale their network and Hubwoo has more recently leveraged it as well when they moved past enabling SAP SRM as a core focus. Yet OB10 was the original. But perhaps more important for Coupa customers is network reach. In this regard, OB10's network is the second or third largest in North America by our count.
This means that if Coupa's customers have suppliers that are already wired into OB10, on-boarding and enablement speed will increase materially for P2P rollouts -- even when using Coupa's e-invoicing tools. Still, even though Coupa has thus far "played nice" as a partner with a range of other source-to-pay vendors (BravoSolution, Emptoris, Iasta, etc.) there will undoubtedly be increasing competitive overlap in areas like discounting and supply chain finance as both providers build out enhanced capabilities. Looking ahead, however, we could make a solid case for a Coupa/OB10 combination given the strengths of both providers individually and the combination of a true network and P2P cloud play together -- not to mention the geographic opportunity for expansion in each other's headquarter regions and countries.
Regardless, Spend Matters looks forward to tracking this partnership in its early days and seeing what type of traction it gets in the P2P and network enablement field. We'll report more on it after talking to both providers in the coming weeks and seeing the traction OB10 gains with Coupa customers in 2013.