Coupa Inspire EMEA and 3 Announcements: Record Growth, Version 12 and a New Partner

Now, I would normally tweet live from an event, but at Coupa Inspire on Thursday last week there was so much to take in, visuals, music (loved the music, especially Alex Kleiner giving his keynote address to - who’d have thought - Metallica), lights, buzz, and more customers taking the stage than I’ve ever witnessed before, that I genuinely didn’t get time. It really did feel a bit like being on a set: “Lights! Camera! Sound! Action! and then the whole thing exploded! In fact there is so much to report back on, that you may have to look out for some additional posts coming this way. For example, some insightful (and some animated) presentations are well worth a deeper mention, particularly:

Coupa global partner Accenture’s Pierre-François Kaltenbach on the digital transformation of sourcing and procurement. His call to action to procurement to drive this “now all-invasive” concept was clear – “it’s NOT the role of IT – it’s yours!”  Digital is changing the way we think and work, the world is more complex and so are buying expectations. Soon mobile will be the default device, and it’s all about the user experience.

He had some interesting insight into how Accenture knew they needed to adopt the Amazon mantra of “keep it simple” as they integrated their Coupa software, and they honestly thought they would never be able to achieve it – but guess what … !  One of the most interesting concepts I heard was his idea that instead of streamlining our supplier base and squeezing them into frameworks – we should be widening them, globally. More to come on this.

And Raja Hammoud’s, Coupa VP Product Management, New Product, Global Focus presentation, which didn’t just do the usual job of highlighting Coupa’s new version offerings (more about that in a moment) but took the concept of sourcing to a new level – to the masses. She talked about imagining a sourcing world with zero training for suppliers, buyers, in fact all stakeholders, and the possibility to save billions. She talked about “holistic spend capture” – all the “I needs” from all corners of the organisation and how to make all buying experiences “just like the one that was so simple at home the night before.”

She talked about how to simplify the buyer/supplier process through (patent pending) Supplier Actionable Notifications, to get all suppliers – even those that only invoice you twice a year – to automate their invoices through a simple email system. The whole concept of “freeing the supplier” to transact with whoever they wanted, how they wanted and without logging in or signing up and registering, was shown in a brilliant video based on ‘The Matrix.’ It opened to a Morpheus lookalike (clearly all of Coupa knew who he was) explaining to Neo (ditto) why he was there.

“You know why you’re here, don’t you. You’re here because you’re a little SME, and you have to be told what the real Coupa is. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you go back to posting paper - you take the red pill - you stay in Coupaland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. You do understand what free means – it means choice”.

Maybe not these words exactly – but you get the picture. It was very clever.

Equally great speeches came from NetSuite (on how delighted they are to be a new Coupa partner), KPMG and Sanofi, and some great little testimonials carried out during Alex’s speech from customers, some in the form of interviews taking place live on stage – quite refreshing!

We'll have more in part 2, Coupa Inspire EMEA — Announcements and Customer Comments,  tomorrow on the specific announcements made during the day, and some customer comments too - watch this space.

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