At Coupa Inspire Today – Two New Announcements

So, today we are at London's Hilton on Park Lane for Coupa Inspire 17. Packed morning with 600-700 delegates - amazing attendance - they are having to put out more chairs as we speak. We've had a filled morning, firstly with Rob Bernshteyn, CEO, delivering the opening keynote, which focused on 5 key vision areas, Coupa's rapid growth this year and the continued focus on customers and relationships. We'll have more on that next week along with predicted trends in that area within the marketplace from Forrester.

We've had an update from Senior VP of Products Raja Hammoud on release 19 and the new product capabilities, some really interesting ones actually, so we'll deep dive on those next week too. And we've had customer testimonials, a panel session on Coupa adding value and transformation journeys - and it's only lunchtime. Looking forward to this afternoon's demo from the sourcing optimisation experts, and the subsequent breakout sessions. All in all a great 3 hours, in ususal Coupa style (music and lights) and we've spoken to a couple of customers who informed us it was worth coming just for the morning session - and the Coupa notebooks of course!

But the big news from this morning that we want to tell you about came in the form of two announcements: Coupa announced its acquisition of AI fraud detection company Deep Relevance. This will use AI technology to analyse data from expense claims, purchase orders, invoices and bids to highlight possible fraud risks. And - Coupa is launching Coupa Open Buy with Amazon Business, which will give customers access to the full Amazon Business Marketplace, initially in the United States, with the UK and Germany soon to follow. Exciting times then for Coupa users, with a choice of millions of business items, all available through a simple and reliable purchase process. There were cheers from the audience!

We've spoken with our US Spend Matters experts on the announcement. Analyst Michael Lamoureux had this to say: "It's really hard to find the low-impact fraud needles in a T&E haystack, but these needles can add up quickly -- especially for products and services never even delivered!  Only automated processing that can compare multiple entries across multiple dimensions and learn typical patterns can identify the majority of errant fraud that passes through a T&E system. Moreover, as an organisation learns to detect certain types of fraud, the fraudsters get smarter.  No static system can keep up -- AI is key to an organisation's success. And this is just T&E.  Take it organisation wide, and no human has a chance.  A proper integration of Deep Relevance into the Coupa platform, which captures the majority of spend at many organisations, could change the game.  Or not.  It all depends on how it's integrated and the data available on which it can learn." There's more in depth on this from Michael on Sourcing Innovation .

And our analyst in Mexico, Xavier Olivera added: "Coupa is practically the only S2P IT vendor, or at least that I remember, that talks about integrating the detection of purchasing fraud into its S2P platform, such as: suppliers that do not exist, false invoices, corruption when giving contracts or POs, misconduct of employees when reporting their travel expenses, etc. According to "The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)" the current global loss to procurement fraud could be as high as $2.9 trillion; avoiding it would have a positive impact on business profits."

On the Amazon connection our own Peter Smith commented "Other providers do have a similar link up in Europe with smaller companies similar to Amazon.  But I think Amazon will do this with all the big procurement software firms,  but Coupa is quick off the mark!"

It will be very interesting to see how this develops, how AI technology manages not only to detect fraud but to prevent it and avoid it before it happens; definitely a very attractive functionality for both the public and private sectors.

Tune in next week for a review of today's other news and presentations and for a deeper look at each of the themes.


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