In the broader req-to-pay space, Coupa has been an effective “fast follower” when it comes to what my colleague Pierre Mitchell likes to describe as the “Feature 500” race. Outside of core eProcurement, they’ve also judiciously applied the 80/20 rule to prioritizing features in new product areas such as time and expense (T&E), invoicing, and contracts. In certain areas, they’ve almost entirely caught up to the historically software-focused leaders on the “check-the-box” type of features. In others they’re still behind.
Yet for many Coupa customers and prospects I’ve spoken to here at INSPIRE, Coupa’s customer conference, features matter less than adoption, usability and philosophy. Indeed, from a procurement standpoint it’s hard to directly compare Coupa to others because they’re simply different for lots of reasons. This starts with a core philosophy of capturing all spend going through the interface/system (as opposed to just indirect) to how the various suite components interoperate from workflow, process, reporting and analytics perspectives.
At the product release/roadmap presentation this morning, Coupa’s Raja Hammoud (VP of Product Management) put her company’s philosophy simply: you must focus on “the spenders” in building product because “the journey begins with capturing every transaction.” Building out from this vision, Raja noted that Procurement, Invoice and Expense (T&E) capabilities will remain at the core of the provider’s focus. Surrounding these core capabilities are additional modules and elements of the platform and ecosystem, including analytics, reporting, sourcing (new – more on this coming up), budgets, contracts, suppliers and integration. Not all of these (e.g., suppliers, integration, etc.) are products.
But one sees the importance of the bet that Coupa is placing on the three pillars of its core platform to capture all spending. They are surrounding these areas with capabilities and connectivity to drive additional processes, outcomes, savings and benefits capture on the same platform (and network, in the case of suppliers).
Stay tuned as our coverage of Coupa’s product release notes continues! In addition, Coupa customers should note that Coupa Release 9 will be available on April 19.