Coupa get your procurement spend organised

Yesterday Coupa announced an extension to the tools available within their cloud based spend management solution.  Coupa Spend Optimizer is, “an advanced spend analytics solution that helps users make better spend management decisions”.

They go on to say (the full announcement is here):

The reporting platform provides intuitive graphical dashboards and charts making it easy for customers to analyze complex data and improve their spend management..  Coupa Spend Optimizer dashboard reports and alerts provide insight into contract management, percent of spend under management, workflow efficiency analysis, and cash management analysis to name a few.”

I’ve had a quick look at the product and it looks very good – like all the Coupa technology, it can be rapidly deployed and accessed, it’s easy to use, and highly configurable without deep expert knowledge.  You can define and produce self-generated reports quickly without waiting for weeks or months while “the IT department” get to work...

Coupa also talk about the ability to bring in data from other systems, including ERP platforms. Coupa Spend Optimizer also provides access to information from other parts of the organization such as multiple ERP or HR systems. By aggregating and normalizing this information with Coupa spend data, customers have unparalleled visibility of spend across their entire organization.

I haven’t seen that in action, but this could be a major point here. At the moment, Coupa’s P2P platform rarely covers 100% of an organisation’s external spend, so if I am the CPO and I want a really complete view, I will need data from other systems (and maybe even P-Cards and other feeds). How well can the Coupa solution pull that data in, handle it and integrate it? If that works well, it will be a major plus for procurement functions.

One advantage they claim is that because the data has already gone through their system, it is cleaner and of course they understand their “own” classification made at the time of the expenditure. Coupa automatically normalizes data upon entry and reduces errors of miscategorized spend.  That seems a reasonable claim although as always it depends on that initial classification being accurate.

I don’t believe Coupa is offering this as a stand-alone product; as it is designed to work with data from their P2P solution, it will be an additional feature to their core product, and an attractive one I suspect to many potential users.

The customer reference in the press release is from the Archdiocese of St. Louis. “Being the largest Archdiocese in Missouri, our spending is spread over thousands of users in hundreds of different organizations. Coupa Spend Analytics provides us sophisticated, business-level reporting beyond transactional information. It’s this business intelligence that helps us make key decisions that drive more efficiency and cost reduction across our many constituencies.”

Must be some interesting spend categories there! Bread, wine, mitres.....

With this development, Coupa  go up against providers who offer Spend Analytics solutions that sit independent of other procurement tools (Rosslyn, Spend Radar), and others who offer it as part of a wider (often sourcing and contract management) suite such as Emptoris or BravoSolution. But as we say, this is probably  strengthening the core Coupa P2P offering rather than indicating a move into a new and different market sector – it appears to be an impressive addition nonetheless.

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