Conferences Content

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

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.

Zycus Analyst Day — 3 Quick Insights

Along with colleagues Pierre Mitchell, Xavier Olivera and Nick Heinzmann, I attended Zycus’ analyst day in Park City, Utah, on Friday. Analysts from Ardent, Gartner, Levvel (formerly Paystream) were also in attendance. While I’ll leave it to my esteemed colleagues to provide more insightful commentary on where Zycus stands today overall, let me share three quick insights that I walked away with.

What’s Your Story? Coupa Brings Color, Context, Influence and Emotion to Inspire19

In an increasingly STEM and data-driven world, boy do we need to keep the tradition of storytelling alive. What’s millions of rows of data without any context or color behind it? What’s a success story without some kind of emotional denouement? When I work with Spend Matters clients on the marketing and sales side of things, I’m floored by how often people think their software will “speak for itself, if only we can get the prospect on a demo.”

At Coupa Inspire19 this year, sure: I saw some screenshots and product demos. I’d expect to, given the tech wonk crowd I run with. But what I absorbed and took home with me is the customer stories, from United Airlines to Lululemon to MGM to a thousand others.

What Puts the ‘U’ in Coupa? Look to the FAANG Playbook on Usability

Rare is the presentation where a Coupa employee fails to reference the acronymic meaning of the company’s name. We heard this numerous times at Coupa Inspire 2019 this week in Las Vegas, and while few these days would confuse the Palo Alto cafe with the unicorn software provider, I have to admit the repeated messaging on the name has clearly sunk in with customers.

Case in point, over multiple conversations at Inspire, customers have frequently referred to the “U” — usability — as a key reason why they either signed with Coupa or have remained a client.

Coupa Inspire: My Take on the Event, the Roadmap and My Next Move

In the coming days, you’ll be hearing quite a bit from the Spend Matters analysts who attended Coupa Inspire this week in Las Vegas. While I will officially resign my analyst duties from this ragtag crew of procurement experts, curmudgeons and technology geeks at Spend Matters on July 1 — stay tuned for some news on what I’ll be up to in a couple of weeks* — I could not hesitate to put down a few thoughts on the event: Inspire was big. Lots of prospective customers were here. AI now underpins the story but is not the narrative. Coupa team members are having fun. C is for Community.

Exploring Basware’s Recent Product Enhancements: Something for AP and Procurement (Part 2) [PRO]

At its recent Basware Connect 2019 customer event in Chicago, Basware brought together both finance and procurement organizations for two days of learning and in-depth product discussions. During the event last month, Basware spent numerous sessions sharing recent product enhancements, as well as highlighting its own product roadmap path forward.

This Spend Matters PRO brief, the second installment in a three-part series, explores Basware’s roadmap for the following products:

— Data, Analytics and Supplier Management
— Networked Sourcing and Procurement
— Networked Accounts Payable and Payments
— IT Integrations and E-Invoice Sending
— Dynamic Discounting and Financing


And our analysts’ give the key takeaways on each of these areas.

GBI gems: 60 CPOs share procurement insights, war stories

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending my first CPO event run by Global Business Intelligence. Some 60 chief procurement officers, many locals, gathered for the daylong GBI event at the W Union Square in New York to exchange thoughts on supplier collaboration, value engineering and procurement digitization — among other topics. Here’s what I saw and was of interest to me, as Spend Matters’ chief marketing officer.

At ISM 2019, Jasdeep Sandhu and other ‘30 Under 30’ winners honored

The Institute of Supply Management’s focus is on the future, and no educational session or speech at the ISM 2019 convention in Houston exemplified that more than recognizing Megawatt winner Jasdeep Sandhu and the other “30 under 30” recipients, the top young professionals in the field of supply chain and procurement. “It’s an incredible honor. If you asked me five years ago if I’d be in this position, I wouldn’t believe it,” said Sandhu, a blockchain specialist for the pharma firm GSK who turned 27 just before the early April convention. “Honestly, what it’s done, it has inspired me so much to continue down this path."

Ivalua NOW 2019 Chicago: Next Procurement Megavendor Steps Out of the Shadows

After attending Ivalua NOW 2019 in Chicago this week, the conference solidified in my curmudgeonly mind that Ivalua will be the next break-out vendor, following on the heels of SAP Ariba and Coupa (on a software/SaaS revenue basis, at least).

Ivalua is like the tortoise in the race with the hare, but in this case, the tortoise has been putting on roller-skates and building a jet pack into its upgraded shell (161 upgrades to be exact). And the firm’s stats prove the point.

Ivalua NOW 2019 Chicago: ‘We have this ambitious vision,’ CEO says of new release, roadmap

Ivalua CEO David Khuat-Duy on Tuesday kicked off the procurement solution provider’s customer event, Ivalua NOW 2019 Chicago, with an eye toward maintaining its dedication to serving customers, discussing its latest release and shedding light on its plans for the future.

“We have this long-term strategy of building a very big company with a fantastic product that we can offer to the market. And this is our vision,” Khuat-Duy said. “We don't have a short-term vision, like exiting or doing something different. We have this ambitious vision.”

After SIG’s Spring Executive Summit, I Think Procurement is Officially Cool Now

One day you wake up and realize that you’re nearly 10 years into a procurement career (which you never expected, considering your English literature degree) and you’ve never been to a SIG conference. That changed this week as I headed down to Amelia Island, Florida, for the Spring Executive Summit. And I learned a few things that Spend Matters readers should know.

Tradeshift Innovation Summit in London: A Few Takeaways

Brexit

Last week, I attended Tradeshift's new “Innovation Summit” series in London. It was a short event, lasting only an afternoon, and obviously one intended to test the waters to the receptiveness of both the format and the location, but an interesting one nonetheless.

From a vision perspective, Tradeshift is almost dead-on in terms of what the platform of the future has to look like, and from a marketing perspective, it makes perfect sense. But when there are still a large number of organizations using Excel and email, and a larger number still who remain on first-generation best-of-breed procurement applications, it's hard to sell a true “Procurement 3.0” solution approach when the majority of the world hasn't even caught on to “Procurement 2.0” solutions.