What I Learned About Coupa Contingent Workforce (CCW) at Coupa Inspire [PRO]

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While at the corporate event Coupa Inspire recently, keeping a watchful eye on Coupa’s progress with Coupa Contingent Workforce (CCW) unification, I found myself thinking about something. It was just over two years ago that Coupa dipped its toe into the services procurement solution space with the limited release of Services Maestro. Among other things, that narrow solution component for sourcing and managing SOW projects of low-medium complexity and scale left few doubts that Coupa was serious about providing its customers with lifecycle source-to-pay capabilities for the procurement of contingent workforce/services (or CW/S, as Spend Matters abbreviates it).

I found it a bit amusing, in retrospect, that in a Spend Matters brief at the time (Coupa Unveils Services Maestro: Will the Student Become a Master of Services Procurement and Contingent Workforce Spend?) we somewhat playfully lectured Coupa about the complex nature of the space: “If Coupa decides to use the current iteration of Services Maestro as a jumping off point to enable procurement in this journey,” we sternly warned, “it will need to question, at the very core, how it opts to deploy its product development and product management resources to address the challenge.” And so it did, in September 2018, opting to buy (vs. make) a well-regarded VMS solution to “unify” into Coupa’s business spend management (BSM) platform.

So as I meandered in and out of the recent CCW sessions, demos, conversations with product development folks and, above all, clients and prospects, it became clear to me that Coupa was now looking like a maestro after all or, at least, certainly a very motivated and able fast learner. What my experience at Inspire brought home for me was that, in a period of just two years, not only had Coupa gone from nibbling on the edge of the CW/S solution space to actually being a major player in it. Coupa was also progressing steadily in realizing its vision of full contingent workforce and services capabilities woven into its unified BSM solution fabric.

This PRO brief will separate what I learned in terms of CCW progress and what I learned in terms of CCW challenges, and it will close with a brief analyst summary-commentary.

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