Spend Management Content

Beyond ‘Not OK-2-Pay’: A Coupa Pay Update from Inspire 2019 [PRO]

procurement

Accounts payable is a function often viewed as laborious and time-consuming. Even when enabled by back-office technology systems like ERPs, the general perception of AP is that it consists primarily of transactional, overly complicated activities that generate little additional value for the business.

But this negative perception ignores much of AP’s full potential, which is why multiple solution providers of late have begun to pursue “business spend management” opportunities in the B2B payments space. These new offerings aim to improve the overall efficiency and value potential of AP, particularly by helping organizations move beyond the simple act of marking invoices as “OK-2-pay.” Because as many AP professionals will tell you, an OK-2-pay marker is only the beginning of a series of headaches to sort out — and where the benefits offered by B2B payment solutions begin to reveal themselves.

In this Spend Matters PRO brief, we discuss how some of the capabilities highlighted in the Coupa Pay offering at a recent Coupa Inspire 2019 conference seek to address the common issues of OK-2-pay — or, as they put it in a humorous video during the conference, “Not OK-2-pay” — as well as what Coupa’s recent partnership announcements mean for the product.

How to Tackle Spend, Pick the Right Technology and Gain Visibility

We recently talked with Nikesh Parekh, CEO of Suplari, to find out how companies are handling all of their spend data and learn why they need to digtialy transform. "The traditional function of procurement was, in the early days, to enforce a set of processes to prevent employees from making irresponsible or unwise spending decisions. It’s the quickest path to saving money," he said. "But today, our customers tell me that they are being asked to provide strategic value above and beyond cost savings and risk reduction. This is where digital transformation comes into play. If organizations want to move the needle beyond the tactics they’ve been employing, they need to be open to leveraging innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence."

GoProcure: Vendor Introduction (Part 1 — Background and Solution Overview) [PRO]

The question of how procurement organizations can best address the long tail of spend is still an open one, with multiple vendors offering their own flavor of the optimal tail-spend “solution.” For some, tackling the 80% of spend that is opaque and unmanaged is a matter of applying RFQ tools and automation to quickly bring dark purchasing into the light. (Recently profiled Fairmarkit is one example of this.) For others, a patchwork approach is the right fit, extending currently used P2P suites into the long-tail territory via punchout and integration methods. (Coupa’s combination strategy of using Aquiire’s web agent technology to crawl the internet as if it were a virtual catalog while also offering direct integration of Amazon Business content into e-procurement search results is one prominent example.)

Yet alongside these technology-first models another option is emerging. Some vendors are combining the possibilities of RFQ and catalog management tools with a BPO-lite, providing a combination of technology and services somewhat analogous to a managed services provider (MSP) for tail spend. (Chicago and Dubai-based Simfoni, which we cover in our SolutionMap for Spend and Procurement Analytics, is a notable example with a range of tail spend-specific tools.) The intended result is to capture the full range of tail purchases by creating routes for everyday users to easily request or source needed lower-value goods and services from suppliers that are not strategically managed while capturing the exceptions through the optional service layer. For more insights on how these tail-spend management approaches are all competing (and converging), see our tail spend management research study report here.

This multi-pronged approach is the strategy behind GoProcure, a four-year-old vendor out of Duluth, Georgia. GoProcure bills itself as a B2B e-commerce platform for all-in-one tail-spend management. Combining basic RFQ and requisitioning tools with a marketplace for procuring both goods and services, along with complementary services like a buying desk, GoProcure is positioning itself as capable of covering the full range of tail spend in a market where most vendors address some but not all of the tail, allowing it to claim procurement organizations at Global 2000, mid-market and private equity portfolio companies as clients.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on GoProcure and its capabilities. The two-part series includes an overview of GoProcure’s offering, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

Tame your spend and add visibility with a Data Intensity/Oracle webinar

Procurement functions are increasingly tasked with managing and optimizing what are sometimes conflicting objectives in the supply base, including cost reduction, new product/market innovations and reduced risk. As the complexity of supply is increasing for most organizations, a large part of all B2B spend happens without appropriate governance and oversight. Without this, companies are overspending by an average of 20-25% on goods and services needed to run and grow their businesses. Maximum spend discipline comes from having iron-clad purchasing policies and practices across the business and tied to real-time analytics to know when and where to optimize. Learn to tackle these issues in a webinar from Spend Matters and Data Intensity. Register here.

Coupa’s 3 Special Forces Teams (Part 2: Alliances/Business Development) [PRO]

Some of the secrets of Coupa’s continued growth even as it maintains the “Rule of 40” well into the hundreds of millions of dollars of annual revenue — largely through organic development but also through the sale of additional capabilities gained via acquisition — are three quiet teams operating in the shadows behind the product/solution, R&D and sales functions.

It uses these areas to great effect to collectively win individual battles against competitors. These teams are effectively “special forces” groups that have leverage far beyond their individual ability to contribute alone (but would not be successful without the broader Coupa arsenal that they’re supporting). Other vendors may have one of these weapons individually. Or on paper. But collectively Coupa is the only one that combines them to great effect as it moves its chess pieces around the tactical and strategic board.

This Spend Matters PRO brief provides a unique take on these groups from the perspective of a long-time industry insider who has seen them put to use effectively from a rare vantage point. Today we continue our look by exploring the second of Coupa’s special forces teams —  alliances/business development. (Click here for our analysis of Coupa’s corporate development function.)

Our analysis today begins by defining what alliances/business development functions do (and not do) for enterprise software / SaaS / cloud companies. Then we provide the details behind Coupa’s partner programs (including types, tiers, named partners, etc.). And finally we explore how Coupa leverages this area in ways that disproportionately benefit its broader operations.

Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs. The views expressed in this research brief are his and do not necessarily reflect that of the Spend Matters analyst team.

Research note: This brief is based on extensive primary research. Beyond already available public information, no data or insights were provided by Coupa. However, a fact-check was provided to Coupa for informational purposes to ensure accuracy.

Jaggaer sells majority stake to private equity firm Cinven

procurement

The procurement suite provider Jaggaer announced Monday that the private equity firm Cinven is buying a majority stake in Jaggaer, which will continue to focus on its unified Jaggaer ONE spend management offering and will look to expand into new markets. Jaggaer said no management changes were planned.

SpendHQ’s customer reviews are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for SpendHQ, a specialist in analyzing spend data that uses cloud-based software to organize and remove unnecessary data and provide spend visibility. Its applicable SolutionMap category for this report is in Spend Analytics.

SolutionMap Insider members can click here to read about SpendHQ  in our latest report.

Coupa’s 3 Special Forces Teams (Part 1: Corporate Development) [PRO]

Coupa has assembled three behind-the-scenes weapons — non-product, non-solution and non-R&D teams — which it uses to great effect to collectively win individual battles against competitors and, at least so far, the broader growth war in the source-to-pay market from a logo growth perspective in recent years. These are effectively “special forces” groups that have leverage far beyond their individual ability to contribute alone (but would not be successful without the broader Coupa arsenal that they’re supporting).

Other vendors may have one of these weapons individually. Or on paper. But collectively Coupa is the only one that combines them to great effect as it moves its chess pieces around the tactical and strategic board. This Spend Matters PRO brief provides a unique take from the perspective of   long-time industry insider who has seen them put to use effectively from a unique vantage point. Today we start by exploring the first of Coupa’s special forces teams: corporate development.

Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs. The views expressed in this research brief are his and do not necessarily reflect that of the Spend Matters analyst team.

What I Learned About Coupa Contingent Workforce (CCW) at Coupa Inspire [PRO]

While at the corporate event Coupa Inspire recently, keeping a watchful eye on Coupa’s progress with Coupa Contingent Workforce (CCW) unification, I found myself thinking about something. It was just over two years ago that Coupa dipped its toe into the services procurement solution space with the limited release of Services Maestro. Among other things, that narrow solution component for sourcing and managing SOW projects of low-medium complexity and scale left few doubts that Coupa was serious about providing its customers with lifecycle source-to-pay capabilities for the procurement of contingent workforce/services (or CW/S, as Spend Matters abbreviates it).

I found it a bit amusing, in retrospect, that in a Spend Matters brief at the time (Coupa Unveils Services Maestro: Will the Student Become a Master of Services Procurement and Contingent Workforce Spend?) we somewhat playfully lectured Coupa about the complex nature of the space: “If Coupa decides to use the current iteration of Services Maestro as a jumping off point to enable procurement in this journey,” we sternly warned, “it will need to question, at the very core, how it opts to deploy its product development and product management resources to address the challenge.” And so it did, in September 2018, opting to buy (vs. make) a well-regarded VMS solution to “unify” into Coupa’s business spend management (BSM) platform.

So as I meandered in and out of the recent CCW sessions, demos, conversations with product development folks and, above all, clients and prospects, it became clear to me that Coupa was now looking like a maestro after all or, at least, certainly a very motivated and able fast learner. What my experience at Inspire brought home for me was that, in a period of just two years, not only had Coupa gone from nibbling on the edge of the CW/S solution space to actually being a major player in it. Coupa was also progressing steadily in realizing its vision of full contingent workforce and services capabilities woven into its unified BSM solution fabric.

This PRO brief will separate what I learned in terms of CCW progress and what I learned in terms of CCW challenges, and it will close with a brief analyst summary-commentary.

What’s Your Story? Coupa Brings Color, Context, Influence and Emotion to Inspire19

In an increasingly STEM and data-driven world, boy do we need to keep the tradition of storytelling alive. What’s millions of rows of data without any context or color behind it? What’s a success story without some kind of emotional denouement? When I work with Spend Matters clients on the marketing and sales side of things, I’m floored by how often people think their software will “speak for itself, if only we can get the prospect on a demo.”

At Coupa Inspire19 this year, sure: I saw some screenshots and product demos. I’d expect to, given the tech wonk crowd I run with. But what I absorbed and took home with me is the customer stories, from United Airlines to Lululemon to MGM to a thousand others.

What Puts the ‘U’ in Coupa? Look to the FAANG Playbook on Usability

Rare is the presentation where a Coupa employee fails to reference the acronymic meaning of the company’s name. We heard this numerous times at Coupa Inspire 2019 this week in Las Vegas, and while few these days would confuse the Palo Alto cafe with the unicorn software provider, I have to admit the repeated messaging on the name has clearly sunk in with customers.

Case in point, over multiple conversations at Inspire, customers have frequently referred to the “U” — usability — as a key reason why they either signed with Coupa or have remained a client.

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Customize your internal payment processing needs with ‘Pay by Invoice’ at Amazon Business

No two businesses are alike. Each one has their own goals, internal policies and procedures. At Amazon Business we obsess around the differences in our customers, and how we can best support their internal procurement, reconciliation and payment teams to streamline their procure-to-pay processes. To do this, Amazon Business is helping innovate on behalf of its customers by offering a customizable invoicing payment method for businesses of all sizes and industries — Pay by Invoice.

Pay by Invoice allows eligible customers the option to buy now and pay later with payment terms and a purchasing line offered on Amazon Business.

Amazon Business believes a trusted invoicing experience enables worry-free purchasing — and we do this by making invoicing configurable, accessible and dependable for customers. Pay by Invoice provides Amazon Business customers access to millions of suppliers, with the convenience of using a single configurable invoicing solution to purchase. The vision of Pay by Invoice was to put businesses back in the driver’s seat. No need to change internal policies to work with a supplier or have separate negotiated terms with each individual supplier. With Pay by Invoice, the customer chooses what works for them.