Jason at Coupa Inspire – and What He Found There

Two weeks ago our US founder and CEO, Jason Busch, attended and delivered a keynote speech at Coupa Inspire, the firm’s annual user conference in San Francisco. The event was very well attended and provided a good insight into the company, its solutions and its strategic direction. Jason issued regular pre-, during and post-conference analyses of events, discussions and speeches, and now that we are all comfortably back to our daily work routines sandwiched between the bank holidays, we thought we’d round up those reports and give you some quick links to the original, more in-depth analysis of his discoveries.

Building Ecosystems the Old-Fashioned Way

“I’m not entirely surprised to find the entire event has been dialed up a notch from last year,” he reported from the first day. “The event is sold out and it does feel packed … still more impressive than the size is the feel of the event. There are more and more organizations here and I’ve already spoken to numerous Coupa partners and potential partners (some are very, very large companies) that are already or might soon start building out around the Coupa customer and technical ecosystem.”

Coupa used its Inspire forum to announce several new partnerships, like DocuSign’s Digital Transaction Management (DTM) platform that will integrate with the Coupa Contracts solution to enable digital execution of contracts and Alibaba.com (reported by Peter Smith here) that plans to link Coupa’s customers to the international marketplace, and Keboola, a services company that will help Coupa customers better manage third-party system data.

Jason’s conclusion was that “Given some of the new partnership announcements that are expected out of the event and the ecosystem that feels like it’s growing at log scale in full display at Inspire, it might not matter that Coupa doesn’t yet have a PaaS strategy.”

You can read the full report from day one here

In his day one Keynote Address titled “New Language of [Customer] Success” Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn talked about the increasing importance of the role of procurement and how its transformation would be inevitable.  Earlier this spring, the Spend Matters team interviewed Rob and you can read what he had to say here.

Unveiling Release 11

Coupa also announced its many product enhancements including its newest version release.

Jason reported: “Coupa announced its latest release, Coupa 11, which includes many small updates and select significant enhancements and entirely new capabilities (including an integrated inventory management which will be generally available during the summer) … I’m currently sitting in on VP of Product Management Raja Hammoud’s morning keynote on the release. Raja framed the evolution of Coupa’s modules and capabilities. In many ways, in continuing to build out a modular suite built on a single data model, Coupa is following a proven SaaS strategic plan straight out of Workday’s business plan rather than a more network or platform-driven model. This is not a bad thing – but it is conservative.”

See here for his full findings and Raja’s breakdown of the evolution of the Coupa modules and capabilities.

Coupa Gets Closer to SAP … SAP Does Not Get Closer to Coupa

A more commotion-generating announcement was that Coupa 11 has achieved SAP NetWeaver certification.

Its press release says that “solutions that are powered by SAP NetWeaver can be more quickly and easily integrated into SAP solution environments. Customers can benefit from improved interoperability with SAP applications and with the large ecosystem of solutions that run on SAP NetWeaver. Choosing an SAP-certified solution can also help reduce overall IT investment costs and risks.”

Jason follows up with “Yesterday, we spoke to one A&D company that is an SAP shop, but is using Coupa for procurement. No doubt it will become more and more important to provide tighter integration into SAP back-end environments.” He goes on to list out the many reasons why Coupa’s choice of using NetWeaver for SAP integration is a pragmatic one and gives some key takeaways from the announcement. Both of which can be read here.

He concludes “The announcement will be most important for Coupa in winning over IT organizations that might currently be using or evaluating competitive products from SAP/Ariba.”

Analysis of Coupa’s Latest Capabilities and Roadmap

Spend Matters intends to report on Coupa’s latest high-level product direction and planned enhancements in a series of research briefs. “We will also provide cursory comparative analysis, pending further demonstrations and under-the-cover looks at Coupa’s latest product releases,” said Jason. “We start with Coupa’s enhancements in eProcurement and the Coupa supplier experience / supplier network.”

Subscribers to Spend Matters PRO will be able to read in full this informative coverage of Coupa 11’s new capabilities, but a sneak peek will tell you that “Spend Matters believes that Coupa is already ahead of ERP competitors in the generalized shopping and item-comparison experience, yet will face increased competition from those that “re-skin” ERP shopping capabilities such as IBX/Capgemini, Hubwoo, and others.”

It gives predictions and forecasts that form insightful knowledge for the reader, like “BuyerQuest becoming a rising competitive threat to Coupa in new, larger account opportunities (e.g., Fortune 500) in the second half of 2014 and into 2015,” and discusses future enhancements beyond Coupa 11.

The whole of the analysis can be read here upon subscription.

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