Coupa Shakes Up Market: On Demand Procure-to-Pay for All

Earlier today, Coupa announced their foray into the On Demand eProcurement space, offering up what appears to be an unbeatable combination of price and ease of use for small and middle market companies and possibly even larger organizations as well who don't have the patience to wait until 2009 when SAP’s next SRM version becomes generally available. Just as shook up the CRM market by offering low prices for companies of all sizes, Coupa is doing the same for the eProcurement space. Given the news of SAP's SRM blunder last week, the timing could not be better for the Spend Management upstart -- and companies looking for alternatives to providers like SAP who can't get their eProcurement act together.

Coupa's On Demand eProcurement solutions complement the vendor's free version, Coupa Express, which now has over 9,000 downloads. But most important it puts such vendors as Ariba, Ketera, and CC-Hubwoo -- who all offer SaaS versions of their eProcurement capabilities as well -- on alert that there's a new player in town. And this one is in playing at a price point which could really shake things up. In addition, according to the announcement, Coupa Punch-Out is now available as well. The press release notes that "This new capability enables SMBs, for the first time, to buy directly from online suppliers, using authorized prices and contract terms, without leaving the Coupa application."

The Basic version of Coupa On Demand costs $2,495 for up to ten users per year. It includes both requisitioning capability and PO management. The next step up is Coupa's Standard version, costing $5,495 per year for up to twenty five users. The Standard level adds RFQ/quotation capability and inventory management to the capabilities already included in basic. The Premier and Unlimited versions top out in the five figures (Unlimited costs $35,495 per year with one thousand seats included, while Premier costs $12,995 with one hundred users included). Both of these versions add invoicing, integration and what Coupa is calling their program "Quick Start" which includes a dedicated solution delivery expert who guides users throughout the implementation and ramp-up process in such areas as the configuration of users, suppliers, contracts, catalogs, approvals and integration. For all versions of Coupa On Demand, users can purchase additional seats as well.

As a fellow user of the Amazon Cloud at various points in developing Spend Matters Navigator, I believe it makes sense that Coupa is using this hosting service to keep prices down. According to their announcement, "Coupa has been able to bring a full-featured e-procurement solution to market at an affordable price because of its commitment to using the latest technologies and components available in the public domain. By leveraging the new Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) web service developed by, Coupa gives its On Demand customers access to virtually unlimited computing power at a far lower price." Cool stuff indeed, provided it meets the service levels and performance that Ketera and Ariba are offering in their On Demand eProcurement applications as well.

So what's my quick analysis? As one of the 9,000 who downloaded Coupa's free version, I can honestly say the UI is far and away ahead of SAP SRM 5.0 (comparing SAP SRM 5.0 to Coupa is like doing a side-by-side with a green screen mainframe application next to a client/server one). And it's also easier to use than other eProcurement systems out there as well, even if it lacks some of depth and configurability of say an Ariba or Ketera. Clearly, David, Noah and the rest of the Coupa team obviously learned quite a bit from their time at Oracle. And they've deployed their knowledge to great effect with Coupa On Demand. Now it will be up to the market to grade them on how well they've done. But I'll bet this will be a winner, even if someone like a snaps them up before they have a chance to challenge the big boys alone.

Jason Busch

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