<divDon’t miss updates on Procurement & Supply Chain, Subscribe here!>In the 3/20/2014 Wall Street Journal blog, it was reported Coupa Software raised $40 million (US) dollars in venture capital in less than 48 hours according to their CEO Rob Bernshteyn. Perhaps it is because, according to Mr. Bernshteyn, “Coupa has been beating SAP AG”. Now that is a pretty big claim to make, so we decided to take a look at Coupa and see what all the buzz is about!
Coupa Software offers a cloud-based procure-to-pay system. Being well-regarded throughout the industry as having a user-friendly eProcurement system, we did not notice any significant surprises in the Coupa software eProcurement portion of the demo, which was more pleasant than earth-shaking in a sector that is rather mature.
One thing that wasn’t resolved was whether the system had the capability of showing items from hosted catalogs and “PunchOut” catalogs in the same search results. It didn’t appear that was possible. We could see that being a problem in cases where their preferred suppliers have the more tech-savvy ability to provide PunchOut, but their products are less easily found than those in hosted catalogs based on what the demo had shown.
One nice thing in their eProcurement system that we haven’t seen elsewhere was a line-by-line budget thermometer in their cart which allows the buyer to know how much they have left to spend or are permitted to spend.
A big differentiator in our opinion is their Expense Management capabilities. Expense Management is a module that many other suites do not include as it is often considered in the accounting realm more than the procurement realm. More so than just including it, we loved how they integrated the expense concept with the procurement concept via reports and other features, with the goal to migrate future out-of-pocket expensed spend onto purchase orders.
Within the Expense Management module itself, we were impressed with the ability to dump corporate card data into the system. Users can take a picture of a receipt and use the Coupa app to automatically add it as a line item to ease the administrative burden of creating expense reports.
We were impressed with the ability for managers to approve requisitions, orders and expense reports from email and/or the app (available now for both iOS and Android) without the need to log into the system itself. Once a request is approved by individual(s) at a particular level, the approver ( or approvers, as the case may be) at the next level receives a notification either via email or the mobile app. While this convenience is greatly appreciated by those at approver levels, it in turn can raise questions for those in IT as to the security of such applications.
The e-Invoicing module was also very impressive. What stood out most to us specifically were the analytics that showed the discount opportunities, the list of top savings opportunities (for taking discounts for early payment, missed discount, no discount available, no payment terms), and the various ways that invoices are added into the system (electronically via cXML, created via a “flip PO to invoice” feature, and emailed into the system by supplier). The list of top savings opportunities (listed by invoice #)immediately jumped out at us and this feature should prove invaluable to those who utilize the Coupa Software system.Coupa also makes it easy for buyers to buy the right products they are allowed to purchase. If there are particular technical specifications for a certain product, the required specs will show up on the screen when the buyer performs a search for the product. Also, the software allows for users to read reviews and rate suppliers and products in detail.
Other features of the Coupa Software system we liked include:
• Internal forms can also be created for time off, temporary laborers and other situations
• The ability to handle transactions in multiple currencies and languages simultaneously
• Suppliers are not charged a fee to be included in the Coupa Software catalog system
• Coupa’s plan to add asset tracking to the system
For those procurement departments whose #1 technology priority is obtaining an eProcurement system, Coupa deserves a very close look. While Coupa’s sourcing and contract management capabilities aren’t quite strong enough to stand on their own, they would be nice bonus add-ons for procurement departments who want a world-class eProcurement system with a little extra.