More on Coupa Inspire – Product Enhancements and a Step Change in Complex Sourcing

Last week we wrote an overview of Coupa Inspire 17, and focused on the two main announcements of the day: Coupa’s acquisition of AI fraud detection company Deep Relevance and what that brings to the suite, and its launch of Coupa Open Buy with Amazon Business. So we won’t go into more detail on those today, but you might like to read this interview on our US site – part 1 here and part 2 here. There’s also some good insight here on Sourcing Innovation.

Today let’s take a look at some of the other highlights of Coupa Inspire.

It’s true to say that there’s none so passionate about their product as Coupa. But how can Senior VP of Products, Raja Hammoud, display so much energy and passion in such a calm way? It’s a conundrum! Raja is always a pleasure to listen to, she’s a steady, methodical presenter who captivates, packs in a lot of detail, yet seems to glide effortlessly through 45 minutes of one enhancement minutia to the next.

She talked to us about Release 19 and its new capabilities – some 70 or more we later learnt. (We initially thought she said 17 – and thought that was good!)

She introduced the new version by explaining how Coupa are endeavouring to deliver a more joined-up process to everyone. A ‘smarter together’ environment. We won’t go into all the enhancements that make this possible – you can read them for yourself here – but a few stood out as making a real difference (outside of Risk Aware, Open Buy with Amazon Business and Coupa Sourcing Optimisation – see later).

Prescriptive T&E benchmarks give insight into how T&E programmes are performing. They track KPIs directly in the system using Perfect Fit Insights (applying AI across $360 bn+ in cumulative spend under management to create insights), which compare the customer user performance with that of the Coupa community (using community intelligence), and recommend improvements in areas like Corporate Card Adoption - the percentage of approved expenses charged to a corporate card (versus out-of-pocket), important to maximise rebates and data capture; Expense Audit Rate - the percentage of approved expense reports that required accounting review; Expense Compliance Rate - the percentage of expense reports not containing policy violations.

Coupa Accelerate gives more control over the AP process by realising more early-payment discounts from suppliers. It makes early payment discounting easier, engaging suppliers to accept a discount on their invoices in exchange for early payment, and you can prioritise the AP team’s workload towards suppliers who’ve accepted early-pay offers – speeding up payment and improving relationships.

Other enhancements include automatic coding and classification, where machine learning identifies the tax code for example and applies it to all lines on an invoice, OCR of receipts for expenses, creation of an invoice straight from email – all to make the day-to-day lives of the user easier, and give even more control and transparency to Finance and Procurement (and between supplier and buyer). The vision, apparently, is to make the whole process touchless, with full compliance built in. It’s all based around the system learning, and using what it has learnt to pre-empt, guide and advise between one app and another – all within the Coupa space. The easier to use it becomes, the more people will use it – pretty smart.

We also attended the Coupa Sourcing Optimisation session later on, which really is a step change for supply chain sourcing. We’ve been tracking this software since its inception at Trade Extensions, and it has pretty powerful functionality. It optimises any complex sourcing of goods and services across all sectors, and identifies a solution. The demo did confirm the ease of use and flexibility of the mathematical wizardry that makes it possible for organisations to minimise costs, retain quality and make the right sourcing decisions. It was a real deep dive into the technical side of how it works too, which was good, but not for everyone. A bit more on the business context would have been good. Having said that – the room was packed wall to wall, so clearly people wanted to know about the genius of this optimisation solution. More here.

 

And talking of sourcing – where did you get your pens from, Coupa Marketing? They’re among the best we’ve come across (once we'd worked out how to use them!). 

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