Rob Bernshteyn on Oatmeal, Value and What’s to Come: Coupa Inspire 2016

Coupa Inspire 2016

Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn kicked off Inspire this year with a show of comic genius tying back to his personal mantra — which you can read in his new book — of “value as a service.” Using oatmeal as the focus of his opening tirade this year, he danced around the story of a failure of room service in a hotel to provide the value he wanted from a particular transaction: simply a bowl of oatmeal, on-time, without frills. (He tossed the punchline, a packet of instant oatmeal, nonchalantly into the audience at the end.)

It was a great opening. Rob has gotten not only consistently more comfortable in his shoes as a speaker over the years, he has also become a master of delivery and timing. We could all take lessons.

The oatmeal fable at the start of Rob’s presentation quickly gave way to an awful lot of depth on Coupa’s value, current and planned roadmap items (on a macro level) and a lesson on Coupa’s overall value delivery philosophy. I was worried he would be superficial in the rest of his talk and it would be a wasted 30 minutes, but Rob proved otherwise. He ultimately delivered on depth but transitioned the talk on a marketing level.

On a high level, two areas that Rob highlighted earlier in his talk were the emphasis that Coupa continues to make on “metrics-focused partnerships” with customers, including laying out specifically how success/results will be measured and managed with all relationships, and a “fair subscription and business model” in which Coupa might not be the least expensive solution but is transparent. In addition, not surprisingly given Rob’s new mantra and book, Coupa has shifted its overall message from “savings as a service” to the more encompassing “value as a service.”

Getting more into the solution part of Rob’s talk, some of these current and forthcoming items in the Coupa platform include;:

  • “Perfect Fit Benchmarks” — essentially an expanded and more granular version of Coupa’s benchmarking efforts today that will allow users to understand savings benchmarks, cycle time comparisons, suggested market timing for sourcing and buying and other metrics by industry.



  • Contracts Collaboration — the integration of Contractually into the Coupa suite for contract authoring.
  • Invoice Smash — an e-invoicing capability that features a machine learning-based solution centered on fixing invoice errors in as “touch less” a manner as possible before any procurement or accounts payable resource needs to get involved. This is currently available in an “early access” program today.
  • “Services Maestro” — Coupa currently has more than $100 billion in services spend running through its platform. Services Maestro will provide an increased ability to request services “more seamlessly” and integrate services buying into the broader Coupa experience.
  • A commitment to the “No UI” concept in future development — that is, doing more to avoid having users to touch any interface unless they truly need to and the effort adds “incremental value” to the organization.

Stay tuned as our live coverage from Coupa Inspire continues.

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