The Spend Management Category

Coupa: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Commentary and Summary Analysis [PRO]

At its current rate of expansion, Coupa will cross the 500-customer threshold in the first half of 2017. There are numerous areas to which to credit its continued ascent, including a spend under management growth rate that is nearly mirroring revenue growth — a metric that shows the rapid manner in which customers are implementing and scaling Coupa implementations relative to first generation procure-to-pay (P2P) solutions. Coupa’s metrics-centric approach to measurable business value is an extension of its own culture, including an emphasis on rapid solution development based on listening to customers and creating accountability for results.

While Coupa is not an ideal fit for all procurement technology requirements, it has become the new benchmark by which other e-procurement and spend management technology suite vendors must measure themselves, or at least in comparison and differentiation. In many ways, Coupa’s recent initial public offering (IPO) represents the first of a new generation of providers assuming a leadership position in the market. From a competitive perspective, this suggests Coupa has moved from the hunter to the hunted, although its competition remains fragmented, with the exception of SAP Ariba, which it encounters most in shortlist and evaluation considerations.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot covering Coupa provides an objective SWOT analysis of Coupa and offers a competitive segmentation analysis and comparison. It also includes recommended shortlist candidates as alternative vendors to Coupa and offers provider selection guidance. Finally, it provides summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering Coupa. Part 1 provided an in-depth look at Coupa as a firm and its specific solutions, and Part 2 gave a detailed analysis of solution strengths and weaknesses and a review of the product’s user experience.

Coupa: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

Coupa is gaining traction among spend management technology suite customers who want a streamlined deployment effort, a simplified user experience and the ability to capture, manage and influence indirect spend as a primary consideration as well as those businesses looking to augment purchasing with additional capabilities (e.g., invoicing) that are easy for end users. Compared with peers, intercepting users when they need to purchase something and processing spend of all types is where Coupa excels as a buying front-end for companies, which is different than just offering an e-procurement application — a key point we explore in this vendor snapshot series.

P2P is still very much a part of the Coupa experience. When it comes to corporate purchasing, Coupa focuses on delivering an “Amazon-like” experience for users. (Spend Matters would actually suggest that it delivers a better corporate buying experience than Amazon as a buying front-end, at least Amazon Business.) But as with other e-procurement providers, it brings a hidden back office component that provides procurement and finance organizations with significant compliance controls, oversight and related capabilities to manage and even guide buyers down specific paths (e.g., procuring a given item from a preferred supplier, and within budget) while making the overall buying experience almost as painless as shopping on a consumer site.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot explores Coupa’s product strengths and weaknesses, providing facts and expert analysis to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor. It also offers a critique (pros/cons) of the user interface. Later in this multi-part series we will offer a SWOT analysis, user selection guide, competitive alternatives and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Coupa: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview [PRO]

There are many perspectives on Coupa. These range from those who believe that the vendor has single-handedly transformed the world of spend management through building a truly unified suite that is 100% cloud-native, atoning for the over-customization, product and user interface sins of those that came before, to those who think that Coupa has expanded too quickly and is doomed to repeat mistakes others have made in the past. This vendor snapshot on Coupa is not about perspectives. It aims to be the first to review Coupa’s technology and modules in the context of what they actually do today and how they are differentiated — or not — from others.

The majority of technology analysts no longer prioritize reviewing procurement technology (product demonstrations, production sites, etc.) due to methodology or time constraints in evaluating vendors. The Spend Matters research team has collectively spent hundreds of hours looking at Coupa’s products and talking to partners and customers in the past 12 months. We have also comparatively analyzed Coupa and its competitors for a range of constituents including procurement and finance organizations, for suppliers participating in supplier network ecosystems, and for consultants and systems integrators.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations, suppliers and partners make informed decisions on Coupa’s procure-to-pay (P2P) and broader source-to-contract capabilities, inclusive of inventory management and travel and expense (T&E). Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Coupa in the procurement technology area. The rest of this multi-part research brief covers product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analysis, user selection guides, insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Looking Back at the “Billion-Dollar Baby”: Our Top Amazon Posts of 2016

You guys really like reading about Amazon. So much so, that when the editors of Spend Matters were discussing how to approach our end-of-the-year Best Ofs, we said, “The heck with it, let’s just give Amazon its own category.”

But on a more serious note, this year saw some pretty big headlines related to the company, whose supply chain Pierre Mitchell (Chief Research Officer at Spend Matters) called possibly the most advanced in the world. So let’s take a look at our top posts on Amazon from 2016.

Opportunities for Organized Procurement in Bollywood

An average Bollywood movie has a crew of 200 to 250 people working on it at any given time. Some of them will be involved on the creative side and others on the non-creative side. The creative costs (approximately 40%, and also known as the above-the-line costs) will be the potential non-addressable spend, which includes the script and salaries for the cast, director and technicians. Organized procurement can help bring down the non-creative spend (roughly 60%, or below-the-line costs). In this guest post, GEP's Nitin Khandelwal aims to identify the reasons for high “below-the-line” costs and propose some recommendations for bringing them down.

Sponsored Article

3 Reasons Procurement Can Immediately Benefit From Reviewing Its Approach To Spend Analytics


Spend Matters welcomes this sponsored article from Simfoni.

Vast amounts of information about suppliers, commodities and purchasing activities are now available via digital sources, both within companies and from external service providers. However, there is generally very little or no merging of these information sources with procurement analytics and management systems. If an integrated approach to all of this data and internal systems is taken, it will deliver automated, high-quality insights in the following three areas critical to any procurement function.

Time to Manage Your Tail Spend With the Right Mix of Experience and Technology

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Amol Jagdale, of GEP.

Fortune 500 organizations typically have a good level of control over most of their spend. The focus is always on strategic spend to maximize savings, but with changing dynamics, procurement organizations are under immense pressure to look for new avenues to deliver value and incremental savings. One area in which they can certainly get hard savings and benefits is “tail spend.”

Sponsored Article

Does Your Internal Procurement Team Really Need to Manage Tail Spend Purchases?


Spend Matters welcomes this sponsored article from Simfoni. 

Although each individual tail spend purchase category or supplier may seem relatively small and insignificant, when taken as a whole, the combined tail spend purchases of an organization often equal the amount spent with the company’s biggest supplier, or at least one of the top suppliers. For this reason, it is important that tail spend purchases are properly managed to avoid unnecessary costs, wasted man-hours and non-compliance with internal purchasing rules and standards.

Spend and the Art of Cost Reduction: Brand New Research


When it comes to cost savings, procurement organizations can make the mistake of looking too hard and focusing on the same approaches for finding purchased cost savings. This will not yield optimal results. Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer and managing director at Azul Partners Inc., presents: Spend and The Art of Cost Reduction, now available for complimentary download. Claim your copy here.

Procurement and Spend Analytics to Drive Value: Public Spend Forum Webinar

Governments at every level constantly collect enormous troves of data, but how to use it, and specifically how to ensure that data is feeding the correct metrics to measure your procurement performance, has been an ongoing struggle for the public sector. We’ve heard this time and again from readers and members over at Public Spend Forum, so we’re hosting a free webinar titled Procurement and Spend Analytics – Key to Driving Value” on Thursday, May 12, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT. Professor Joseph Sandor from the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University will kick it off with an introduction to spend visibility, and then our sponsor BravoSolution will present a case study in which one of its public sector clients greatly improved its performance by improving its analytics.

The Future of Procurement is Now — Smarter Spend Analytics: Brand New Research

low commodity prices

It's true that analytics is one of the core competencies for your procurement organization. While most analytics (i.e., spend analysis) have traditionally focused on reporting what has already happened, we think the more valuable analytics center around what will likely happen and what needs to be done in order for that to happen. Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer at Spend Matters, has more in this complimentary research brief, The Future of Procurement Demands Smarter Spend Analytics: Here's Why. Claim your copy here!

The Spend Uncertainty Principle

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Paul Blake, of GEP.

Sometimes the certainties in life can suddenly seem anything but. We’re not talking here about the classical “death and taxes” certainties attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but those things known to be “just so,” turning out to have a surprising degree of fuzziness about them. Take the geometry we all learn at school. Despite however many intervening years there may be between school days and the present, I’d wager a good percentage of procurement professionals could still offer an instant answer when asked for the formula for how to calculate the circumference of a circle.