Coupa Inspire 2017: Keeping it Cool

Eved elen31/Adobe Stock

Walking the hallways and meeting with several of Coupa’s customers yesterday, it was hard not to notice a kind of positive speculation in the air. After many months of making data acquisition a priority, resulting in a cool trillion in spend data, Coupa is using this year’s customer conference to motivate specific discussion around using those data to “unleash value.”

A quick look at Coupa’s recent acquisitions reinforces the point. To name a few, Spend360, Trade Extensions and now Riskopy. What they all have in common is the ability to work wonders on top of that data set. Spend360 is about categorization and enrichment, Trade Extensions has the market’s dominant trading algorithm and Riskopy enriches those data with supplier financials and additional risk metrics.

Coupa established its beachhead in indirect, where it’s price driven and you want to automate as much as you can. This is where Rob Bernshteyn’s vision of a spend management machine that requires little to no human interaction has its best opportunity to “unleash value.” But when you consider its recent acquisitions, it is now clear that Coupa is honing its sourcing game plan for direct and other more strategic and complex areas of spend. No doubt, it wants to get as much of these meatier areas of spend onto that same transaction pipeline.

Whether or not you agree with Rob’s vision isn’t the point. What’s undeniable here is the “freshness” of attitude surrounding all things spend management related. Coupa has managed to somehow make it cool. A nice contrast to SAP Ariba’s “Make Procurement Awesome”?

Speaking of cool, I’m off to see Steve Wozniak, today’s keynote speaker. More later.

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