Did you have a good summer? Weather good, we trust? Too hot in some parts of the world, while in the U.K. – actually, it wasn’t too bad after a cool start. And now we’re writing this on a beautiful early September day, as the kids get their books and uniforms out ready for back to school this coming week. Yes, you might have guessed from the chat. August’s stock market movements of our portfolio of procurement-related companies did not give us the most exciting range of topics to cover. The weather is probably more interesting. It was a month where generally markets seemed to take a breather after a year so far in which there have certainly been plenty of events for them to think about, from the rise of Trump to the U.K.’s Brexit vote. However, the overall performance of our procurement stock portfolio was very good overall, up some 6% on the month, and it now stands some 10% above the beginning of the year level. That means for the first time this year it has moved clear of the overall market performance. U.K. markets are up 7% on the year, U.S. 6% and the global index about 5%, so procurement-related stocks are now ahead of that.
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P2P provider Coupa filed preliminary paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Thursday to go public, a move many in the procurement technology space had anticipated this year. The San Mateo, California-based company plans to raise up to $75 million with its initial public offering and would be the second unicorn to be newly listed this year.
But what exactly is Coupa, and how does it stack up to competitors that offer similar software enabling procurement, accounts payable and other related business functions? This analysis provides an overview of Coupa and its solutions to help investors and procurement practitioners get up to speed on the provider. Included in this Spend Matters Plus+ brief are an overview of Coupa’s technology offerings, an evaluation of the sector it serves and a survey of the competitive landscape.
For an exhaustive report on Coupa and its prospects as a publicly traded company, complete with SWOT, functional support, user experience and competitive analyses, please see our Spend Matters PRO briefing document.
The single greatest consumer trend today is arguably the digitization of our everyday lives through cloud-based services served up over the internet to our mobile devices. This digitization trend has also worked its way upstream into B2B value chains, where cloud-based digital assets are increasingly wrapping themselves around physical assets and human assets to create new cloud-based services of all forms:
- In the logistics supply chain, new platforms (e.g., Uber and Lyft) are disrupting how transportation assets are used
- In the human value chain, new labor platforms are helping buyers discover and engage contingent workers across many channels
- In the capital intensive asset supply chain, the internet of things (IoT) is developing new sensor-based architectures to intelligently monitor critical assets
- In the financial supply chain, technology such as the blockchain will help create new levels of transparency in the flow of financial information
Business enterprises don’t want themselves to be “digitally disrupted” by others, so they are looking out for new supplier capabilities that they can serve up as new customer-facing services in this “everything as a service” (XaaS) world. This then becomes a defining moment for procurement, supply chain management and IT professionals who need to keep up with their internal stakeholders to become innovation-focused "gate openers" rather than control-focused "gatekeepers" — and do so with the same or less budget!
Three years ago, Jason Busch and I attended Tradeshift’s analyst day and we were intrigued by the potential of this platform-based e-invoicing application and network provider, which our colleague Peter Smith first analyzed back in early 2011 in his piece “Tradeshift — a Game-Changer in E-Invoicing (and Beyond) or a Danish Flash in the Pan?” To follow up on our intrigue and answer Peter’s initial question, my fearless colleague and P2P global analyst leader from Mexico City, Xavier Olivera, attended a session to assess how far the firm has come since then.
This Spend Matters PRO research note provides our perspective on where Tradeshift stands today from overall business, strategy, architecture and modular perspectives, including an analysis of its current functional capabilities, strengths and gaps. There’s an awful lot to be excited about — and, of course, some elements we are cautious on, as well.
E-catalogs are still a key part of any e-procurement solution and e-marketplace. However, they are no longer simply a tool to load the prices and features of products and services for approval and then integrate into an e-marketplace to purchase against it. Today, e-catalogs are becoming an intelligent and integrated source of information that enable nearly all purchasing scenarios, with the support of a robust e-marketplace where requesters can search between e-catalogs (including punchouts or any other e-commerce site) — all while in compliance with the organization's business rules and standards.
During the last few years, procurement technology provider Coupa has used the slogan “Savings as a Service,” a catchy phrase for a company serving procurement organizations. It has also been a smart slogan because it aligns to procurement’s primary mission — delivering savings. Delivering savings is also front-of-mind for mid-size companies as well as large ones. However, organizations that have identified procurement’s potential to adopt a more strategic role for the business beyond delivering savings are looking for a different type of conversation with their service providers (including SaaS providers like procurement technology providers), and how they can help support a broader missions of value beyond cost savings. So, Coupa has pivoted to the motto “Value as a Service.” But what does this mean and how can practitioners and providers learn from this? We previously wrote an article that touched upon Value as a Service, but this Spend Matters PRO brief explores how is Coupa is trying to deliver Value as a Service (including with its latest product release). And as (or more) important, we explore how others can learn from these efforts, including providers and practitioners alike.
10 Supply Chain Areas Needing Gene Therapy: Supply Network Information Models — The Missing DNA in the Digital Supply Chain (Part 4) [PRO]
In the previous post in this series, I began outlining 10 supply chain provider areas that could benefit from the infusion of a robust supply network information model. In this final installment in the series, I highlight the remaining provider areas, the convergence in supply chain intelligence and analytics and look at x potential providers that span multiple adjacent services and solutions sectors in business process outsourcing (BPO), management consulting, supply market intelligence, business intelligence, content management and others.
Lessons From KPMG Clients: When Procurement Strategy, Transformation, and Technology Intersect [PRO]
Over the past few months, the Spend Matters team has had the chance to speak to a number of KPMG clients who used the consultancy in various capacities in and around procurement strategy, transformation and technology. The lessons learned point to the importance of not only selecting the right consulting partner for multiple initiatives but also, from a solution lens, understanding the levers a firm can pull to get the most from technology vendors during the technology deployment phase of a consulting relationship. This Spend Matters PRO brief offers a case analysis view of KPMG from the client perspective, including what it was like to engage the firm and key lessons learned from having KPMG implement and manage cloud-based procure-to-pay (P2P) deployments. These discussions continue to support our thesis that procurement organizations should never manage their own e-procurement deployments or let their selected technology vendor handle such efforts on their behalf — even if a technology vendor is more than capable of managing a deployment on paper.
10 Supply Chain Areas Needing Gene Therapy: Supply Network Information Models — The Missing DNA in the Digital Supply Chain (Part 3) [PRO]
In these final two installments of this series on supply network information models, I will outline the gaps in 10 different supply-side process areas and technology solution types that would greatly benefit from supporting the key attributes of these models. More importantly, by tying each of these areas to a common robust information model, they’ll be able to integrate with each other more easily and support the needed process integrations. I’ll also discuss the extent that supply chain information networks like E2open, GT Nexus (Infor), GHX, Elemica, Elementum and others can play a key role in building the digital DNA needed to support modern supply networks.
We're living in an SOW age, and as organizations are hurrying to execute their implementation, a strategy has never been more important. Today's VMS solutions have the tools necessary for SOW, so it is time to embrace the technology and leave the spreadsheets in the dust. Join Spend Matters and Beeline for When the SOW Becomes Strategic: Taking Full Advantage of VMS Capabilities on Tuesday, June 28, at 12 p.m. CDT.
Why is the cloud important? For procurement applications in the cloud there is an inherent “democracy.” Participants, without regard to role or particular software instance, effectively participate on the same platform. This does not in itself mean that there is a neutralization of benefit for one party or the other, but it does mean that while participating in the exchange of value, there may be a greater opportunity for collaboration or discovery. Moreover, cloud levels the playing field internally (for business users) and externally (for suppliers and trading partners). And it does so without regard for size, IT skills, experience and budget (within reason).
In our first article in this series, we noted how in Spend Matters' last PLUS series on RFPs, we gave you some insights on how to write better RFPs in general, which is great when you are buying products and services, but not always enough when you are buying software solutions – especially for yourself. Specifically, the process of understanding the requirements, selecting the right providers to invite, and creating good specifications is a bit more nuanced than just the form, fit and function requirements of a physical component being purchased in the supply chain. Part 1 of this series focused on what was required to truly understand the requirements and the second focused on what was required to truly select a good provider to invite to the table. This article focuses on the creation of good RFIs and RFPs, as we alluded to in the first two parts of this series, and also in our previous series on how to write a good RFP in general.