The Spend Management Category

5 Reasons to Bet For and Against Coupa (Part 2: The Blindsided Prince) [PRO]

Owing to its focus on “business” spend management and public company status, Coupa continues to serve as an ambassador and proxy for the procurement technology sector overall. As I noted in the first installment of this series — 5 Reasons to Bet For and Against Coupa (Part 1: The Virtuous ‘Cloud’ Prince) — it seems everyone has an opinion on Cramer’s new “Cloud Prince.” I shared five reasons I’d bet on Coupa from a procurement (not capital markets) perspective.

Today, to balance things out, I turn negative and introduce five reasons I’d bet against the firm, primarily revolving around how the sector and procurement, finance and supply chain may change around it. I’ll lump these reasons under the theme as “blindsided prince,” since I believe Coupa’s biggest risks come from outside, not within.

5 Reasons to Bet For and Against Coupa (Part 1: The Virtuous ‘Cloud’ Prince) [PRO]

One of the best validations of the procurement technology sector is to see irrational exuberance from those who know comparatively little about it as they begin to speculate more aggressively on who is going to win in the market. Hearing Cramer call Coupa the “Cloud Prince” was but one example of the dozens I’ve heard both publicly and in one-on-one conversations in recent weeks from those outside the procurement solutions world.

These days, it seems everyone has an opinion on Coupa. Sometimes this speculation and soap-boxing grates on me because, in theory, it could mislead those within procurement and finance from making the best decisions if they get wrapped up in the noise. But it’s a price worth paying. Every insider — including everyone on the front lines of procurement, every tech vendor, every consultant, every analyst — should welcome every minute of attention Coupa gets. Why? Because it means there is going to be plenty of cash to fund the next generation of innovation for the sector.

Procurement is red hot right now, and honestly, shouldn’t saving money always be hot? But just how hot is Coupa? While I have real work to do providing a final set of eyes on some 250+ pages of draft copy for the Q2 SolutionMap Insider publications this week, I thought I’d procrastinate and share my own prognostications on Coupa and the arguments I’d make on betting both “for” and “against” the new crown prince — and also offer some fantasy sports commentary on just whom I’d combine Coupa with from the comfort of my lazyboy to conclude things (and luckily our SolutionMap framework lets us mix and match providers in different combinations — something that some of our early adopter practitioner clients are starting to explore in their evaluations).

Today I’ll start with five reasons I’m bullish on Coupa for procurement organizations — the company, not the stock, which is an important distinction as I have no opinion on share prices — by sticking with Cramer’s “prince” analogy. Of course I can’t help but think back to a philosophy class in 11th grade with Dr. Morinelli where we learned and debated Machiavelli's “The Prince.”

Virtuous princes, as Wikipedia translates and paraphrases Machiavelli, “rise to power through their own skill and resources (their ‘virtue’) rather than luck … [even though comparatively they] tend to have a hard time rising to the top, once they reach the top they are very secure in their position. This is because they effectively crush their opponents and earn great respect from everyone else. Because they are strong and more self-sufficient, they have to make fewer compromises with their allies.”

How is Coupa the virtuous [resourceful] prince for procurement? Read on as we explore the five reasons I’d bet on Coupa’s continued success at the same levels of the past.

Spend Management Versus E-Procurement: Is There a Philosophical Difference?

Editor’s note: This is part of the Ask Spend Matters series, where readers send in their burning questions about procurement and supply chain.

What is the difference — philosophically — between spend management software and e-procurement software? One of our readers recently posed the above question, noting the amount of noise out there over spend management and the general sense of confusion as to what constitutes spend management and what constitutes e-procurement. We’re always fond of these fun philosophical questions, so we asked our own Spend Matters analysts and editors for their opinions on this one.

Bringing Procurement Rigor to Merger Integration

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Bernard Gunther, co-founder of Spendata.

Mergers are rationalized by the expectation of post-merger synergies, a major one being cost reduction. However, cost savings opportunities that are routinely exploited by procurement are rarely a focal point for “clean teams” in pre-merger scenarios, or by the merged organization in the key 100 days of post-merger integration (PMI). In fact, the majority of mergers rarely deliver all of the expected cost savings.[2] In contrast, procurement can play a crucial role in planning for and delivering cost savings typically overlooked during the pre-merger analysis.

For Small and Midsize Businesses: Time to Talk About SpendBoss

SpendBoss was founded by Scott Schneider. His objective was simple: Develop extraordinarily easy-to-use spend management software that integrates well with the other technologies typical of the small to midsize ecosystems. This required making the software easily accessible as a service and, obviously, choosing a subscription price that would be a no-brainer. And SpendBoss has done just that.

To Digitize T&E and Invoice Management, Companies Must Improve IT-Finance Alignment

Oversight Systems

The digitalization of manual processes is viewed as increasingly vital across functions, and travel and expense (T&E) management is no exception. According to a Forrester report commissioned by SAP Concur, the majority of companies face challenges linked to manual processes, from errors in expense reports to the time-consuming nature of dealing with paper documents. Surveying 378 IT and finance professionals involved with T&E and invoice management at their companies, Forrester found that only 13% are very satisfied with the T&E and invoice management processes that their companies are using.

Coupa Inspire Dispatch: Rob Bernshteyn on the Shift to Business Spend Management

Rob Bernshteyn, Coupa’s CEO, kicked off Inspire 2018 this morning with an hour-long speech that only he could pull off.

Rob’s talk zig-zagged between providing an overview that framed spending and buying in a new context (“business spend management”), providing a fly-by of Coupa’s suite on a high level, diving deep into products in specific areas, sharing what seemed like 100 screenshots of current and emerging capabilities (especially centered on community intelligence and user guidance) and ploughing through some 50+ facts and figures highlighting different areas of progress Coupa is making.

Group Purchasing Organizations: Supplier Perspectives and the Evolving GPO Landscape [PRO]

Joining a GPO is like getting a Costco membership. You know you’re not going to get ripped off, so you probably won’t put much thought into joining. But therein lies the rub for GPO members. Like Costco, a GPO is a one-size-fits-all marketplace where you may overbuy when you get there or underbuy by not getting there at all.

In an increasingly Amazon-dominated world, however, this model is not the only available option.Today, the assortment and pricing of items available to consumers are tuned to the user and monetized most efficiently by intermediaries that can source better and optimize for lowest total landed costs better than individual buyers. Procurement organizations are now looking to bring this experience to the complex world of B2B purchasing. And where GPOs fit into this more sophisticated equation is not a simple answer (many are still trying to figure it out themselves). 

But that doesn’t mean GPOs will go the way of the 1980s big box retailer. Instead, GPOs will have to take on a role beyond the race to the lowest price. This multipart Spend Matters PRO series explains what motivates GPOs and helps procurement organizations best decide when and how to engage them. In this second installment (see our initial GPO introduction), we explore GPOs from a supplier perspective and offer recommendations for vendors working through GPOs to make these relationships more successful. We also explore how GPO options and capabilities are evolving and segment the GPO market by model and type and provide case example looks at different GPO business models. These include vertical/industry independent, member-owned, horizontal, affinity, category-specific and procurement technology led GPO models. 

Sponsored Article

The Perfect Storm for NHS Procurement

As one of the top five largest employers in the world and an average annual expenditure of £130 billion, the National Health Service (NHS) and how it spends its budget is a widely debated topic. Moreover, harsh restrictions on the public purse mean that healthcare procurement professionals are tasked with providing the best value for every pound spent while still protecting the quality of frontline care. And while we often see pressure on resources and cost of care making the media headlines, procurement professionals in this sector face a host of other challenges too.

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Beroe LiVE Poll: Spend Analysis Helps Trim Costs up to 5%

A procurement organization’s spend data usually resides in various databases and spreadsheets, often making it difficult to collate them into one coherent form for reporting purposes. However, procurement organizations can reap enormous benefits by bringing in much needed visibility into spend patterns. The importance of spend analytics has not gone unnoticed: 38% of procurement leaders had rated spend analysis as the most critical area to receive investment, according to Deloitte's 2016 Global CPO Survey.

An Introduction to Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) [PRO]

purchasing

Group purchasing organizations (GPOs) are not a new idea. Agricultural cooperatives aggregated the buying power of farmers hundreds of years ago. That said, GPOs have evolved quite a bit, and the infusion of new digital capabilities is taking that evolution to an even higher level. This evolution also means that procurement organizations must go in “eyes wide open” to best utilize this important tool in the procurement tool belt.

Not all GPOs (or GPO models) are the same. Understanding the differences will make you a more educated, and thus likely more successful, buyer. Therefore, we’ve decided to delve a little deeper into this obscure sector of the procurement provider market and shed some light on how to best extract value from it.

This multipart Spend Matters PRO brief is designed to demystify GPOs and put procurement organizations on the same information playing field as the GPOs attempting to sign them up, expand their utilization of contracts and sell additional services. Within this series, we will explore GPOs by type, as there are several business models in play, and by industry segment, as GPOs are heavily embedded in certain markets and are little more than a supply option in others.

This first installment in our GPO coverage:

  • Defines what GPOs are (and are not)
  • Explains how GPOs operate
  • Explores GPO “spend coverage and fit”
  • Analyze the GPO market segments and how to engage them
  • Offers tips and tricks for engaging GPOs based on their own constraints/models
  • Provides both basic and advanced takeaways for procurement organizations that are thinking through GPOs as an alternative supply option
  • Offers a checklist of activities to consider when sourcing GPOs

All We Are “Saved” — Give Purchasing Consortia (Including GPOs) a Chance [Plus+]

Purchasing consortia and group purchasing organization (GPO) models have been accused of being fads in the past. But there are reasons they could more than go mainstream as a common procurement lever across industries, working outside of just healthcare environments, where they have thrived in the past. Spend Matters research suggests that there certainly are a number of underlying factors that make the consortia and GPO models more attractive than before (even if some suppliers, such as the airlines, will never play ball in working with these intermediaries). Indeed, several GPO and consortia providers not focused on one particular industry have a lot to offer to procurement organizations looking to better manage cost and quality for certain categories of spend.

In this Spend Matters Plus analysis, we will explore the reason behind the current and rising interest in these models and the benefits they can bring to procurement in such categories as IT spend (e.g., hardware, software, etc.), human resources (e.g., contingent staffing and MSP programs), office supplies, employee benefits (e.g., retirement/pension, pharmacy benefits, etc.), facilities and other professional and services categories (e.g., operations consulting, energy management, etc.), not to mention some areas of direct spend as well (e.g., metals). First up: exploring the different GPO benefits for both less mature and more mature procurement organizations.