Product Update at Coupa Inspire

In his Welcome and Introduction at Coupa Inspire Rob Bernshteyn touched on three product features that got our attention: Coupa Contingent Workforce – (following its acquisition of DCR Workforce just two months ago) adding talent optimisation with stack ranking capability to its suite; Coupa Risk Aware – bringing real-time information on supplier profiles; Coupa Spend Guard - fraud detection using AI to detect employee-level patterns.

So when Raja Hammoud, SVP of Products, did her traditional product update and new features announcement, we were on the lookout for more details on those in particular. She mentioned that part of Coupa’s success is the smart acquisitions it has made alongside rapid implementation – so we guess DCR is the most recent testimony to that.

Another key point was that 150 new capabilities have been delivered for business spend management this year – given they have a new release three times a year, with maintenance updates every two weeks, that must equal around 6 new capabilities every month. That’s a lot for customers to have time to get to grips with, but we are assured they are seamless to the customer experience, and we assume they arrive in ‘turned-off’ mode, with system-generated messages so that the customer knows about them and can turn them on as and when they (the users) are ready or have the need.

Risk Aware: because you would want to know the risk profile of suppliers before you add them to sourcing events, Risk Aware, across the community supply base, means user experiences can be used to rate suppliers, which gives other users instant risk analysis, rating every supplier dynamically using Coupa community’s collective insights, as well as external credit ratings and legal checks. Risk Aware means you can generate a contract from the sourcing event, author it and sign it (using Docusign) and it all stays within the flow of what the firm calls its ‘suite synergy.’ It’s worth pointing out too that ratings and examinations are anonymous, to avoid unconscious bias.

Spend Guard: this is another ‘early access’ programme from Coupa. AI-powered it learns employee behaviour and flags anything that is not consistent with employee patterns. This is looking for fraud committed by people, not machines, and detects fraud risk payments ‘in flight’ before the funds leave the account, resulting in reduced spend leakages and fewer audits. The flagged items might be that travel is 30% higher than the norm for example, or that car hire is 10% higher, but employee identification remains anonymous until a critical point is reached.

Contingent Workforce: This is a huge spend category for many companies. This capability manages services and non-employee workforce spend, an area where there has traditionally been lack of visibility, despite the fact that most companies spend more on services than any other category. It allows the user to request a contingent worker, review resumes and give feedback and approve timecards, extensions, and invoices. It has a ‘Match Index Intelligence’ feature which uses machine learning, from market data, to match resumes with requisition requirements, then candidates are sorted and ranked based on best match.

Said Spend Matters GM Jenny Draper: “I’ve had several discussions recently about the topic of talent management and acquisition being more closely brought into the procurement function’s remit.  It makes sense and I’m really happy to see procurement being seen as a critical function working with business counterparts across teams like HR, Finance, Operations and so on.”

Another development worth noting is the added project management capability allowing related sourcing events and contracts to be linked and tracked; teams can manage tasks and deadlines and basically collaborate more effectively. Dutch auctions have been added among a host of other features – those you can read about in a press release here or under Resources here.

So this is just another flavour of how Community Intelligence is spreading throughout the Coupa platform.

We’ll be reporting also on the latest partnership announcement once we’ve quizzed Barclaycard on the new B2B payments process with Coupa Pay.

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