Coupa Inspire: Coke’s Four eProcurement Truths (Part 2)

Continuing on with Coke’s “Four eProucrement Truths” (Part 1 here), we come to the third truth: the data must be right. Specifically, users need visibility into the correct, contracted price. They also need to understand inventory availability. Moreover, when they’re shopping and making selections, they need to know that all of the master data associated with a SKU is accurate and consistent, ranging from attributes (e.g., dimensionality) to pricing. One of the challenges Coke cited with punch-outs like Grainger is that the pricing that appears is higher than contracted pricing. Billing and accounting accuracy also matter in terms of data management.

It would be easy to dismiss these requirements as hard to achieve with an eProcurement toolset without a broader master data management deployment spanning supplier and catalog data (and internal supplier master, item-level spend analysis and related information). There’s certainly some truth to this statement. But a strong enabling P2P capability, including eProcurement and e-invoicing (and transactional connectivity between buyers and suppliers) can go a long way to provide clean, accurate, and transparent data throughout the indirect buying lifecycle.

Good data in and of itself is of limited importance for a frontline purchasing system if adoption is limited. This brings us to Coke’s fourth truth: “users must want to use they system.” In other words, compliance must be easier than non-compliance (what a novel thought!). “If employees have to wait to find what they’re looking for, they will find another way to procure it!” says Patrick Hopkins (Coke’s Procurement Director). This brings us to Hopkins’ “binary rule”: He wants “an employee to a search for materials in the catalog and find the exact thing they’re looking for with one search, with 100% confidence.”

Further, in Coke’s view, the process must be easy, intuitive, fast, mobile, pleasant, and, most important of all, successful. A user must be able to walk up to a system that is easier to use than the alternative, from simply calling an existing vendor to a maverick purchase from a non-approved supplier’s website. Ultimately, Patrick sums it up best when he says an integrated P2P experience must be “easier than a p-card.”

In other words, don’t simply issue mandates. Don’t slap wrists. Don’t guilt people. Cater to the lazy side of transactional buying and make the alternative (i.e., a state of non-compliance) that much more work for the typical user!

Stay tuned … we have more from Coupa INSPIRE and Coke’s keynote.

Voices (5)

  1. Jason Busch:

    Mr. Kool Aid,

    I would invite you to try our research (into Coupa and Ariba, among others) on our PRO site and see what you think. Much of our research coverage is on folks who don’t pay us a penny and we like to keep it that way (up-starts tend to lack budgets, but that’s fine, if they have good stuff). Most important, they matter (as does Coupa), and that’s why they’re important. Drop me a personal line and I’m happy to let you try our research for longer than the standard period on me. Even if you or your organization is unlikely to subscribe after the period, I want to make sure you’re basing your comments (which I value) on the depth of our analysis. Thanks for chiming in. As to the free site, we cover events, happenings and lots of other things, including high-level product descriptions and announcements (but not our deeper analysis and our opinions of products). We could care less if someone paid us, which is why we’ve fallen out with a handful of providers over the years who did not like what we had to say.

  2. Kool-Aid Drinkers Unite:

    BTW…for readers, the initial post and the second comment was done by Jason Busch, and appears to have come from someone who is paid large fees by Coupa. I don’t mind reading blog posts from eProcurement Practitioners, but given the competitive nature of the industry it is important for readers to make an informed judgement as to the biases that may arise from a blogger who is paid to promote certain companies over others.

  3. Jason Busch:

    BTW … for readers, the first comment was done anonymously, but appears to have come from a Coupa competitor’s IP address. We don’t mind responding to anonymous comments (and understand when they are made as such for personal/work/policy reasons), but given the competitive nature of of these two technology providers, it is important for readers to make a more informed judgement as to the biases of those who comment. We welcome comments from all members of the community and open debate.

  4. Jason Busch:

    Yes, good catch. I should have been more clear here. I do not blame Coupa for misleading me on the Coke Consolidated v. Coke thing … that was my ignorance of the corporate structure. Fair point. Should have corrected it.

    More broadly, we’ve been very fair (and middle road) in our reviews of Coupa’s products, especially in our coverage and research that goes into detail on Spend Matters PRO on a comparative product/solution basis (e-invoicing most recently). Check it out. I think you’ll see we’re good at putting some vinegar in the kool aid to balance the sweetness with acidity for an accurate picture that’s actually useful for those subscribers making buying decisions.

  5. Keep Drinking the Kool-Aid:

    Jason, following on your topic of eProcurement “Truths”…doesn’t Mr. Hopkins work for CCBCC (ie Coca Cola Bottling Co Consolidated, a $1.5B annual revenue independent bottler) and not really “Coke”? When I and others hear the company name “Coke” we immediately think of the soft drink company HQ in Atlanta (ie The Coca-Cola Company, $50B annual revenue). You can learn more about the company at their FAQ

    I’d hate for your readers to be misled by semantics. Or perhaps you were simply referring to their NASDAQ stock symbol? Either way, seems like you would not continue the “spin” that Coupa puts out…

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