The Coupa Sunflower Starts to Blossom

Coupa, who just hosted their first webinar, is still heads down in their quest to make their enterprise e-Procurement application better and better by the day, and still succeeding. Now covering the full order management cycle from requisition to two-or-three way reconciliation, the only thing it doesn’t do yet, at a basic level, is payments. However, you can export your purchase orders, invoices, and goods receipts to an XML, or CSV, file and integrate into your e-Payment system that way. It even has the option to track tax codes, which will simplify you tax reclamation processes. They have begun directing mid-size organizations to their hosted e-Procurement
application as well, as they build up to a rumored major announcement
slated for early September.

For a product that’s been out of the gate for less than a year, it’s come a long way. With it’s built-in basic RFP capabilities, which will soon support direct supplier entry of relevant bid and product information in addition to the e-mail based interface it already supports, you have the option of starting with an RFX or a purchase order (template). When the order arrives, you can generate a goods receipt for three-way matching, and the system can be configured to automatically send the buyer a notice when an invoice is submitted if they haven’t confirmed receipt of the goods or service.

And you don’t have to take my word for it anymore – you can ask for
references from one of their clients if you feel it’s necessary. But with their low price point, you might just consider buying it to try it. Coupa has adopted the low-cost per-user model made popular by SalesForce, SuccessFactors, and others. Their ultimate goal, for larger organizations, is a price-point less than some organizations are still paying for their e-mail inboxes. Speculation on pricing from nervous e-Procurement competitors continues, but I have it on very good sources an average organization can expect per-seat pricing of slightly less than $40 per user per month (with a minimal commitment) – or not much more than the cost of hosted e-mail and calendar functions with IT support for many organizations – for a fully featured e-Procurement system.

Plus, unlike hosted behind-the-firewall solutions, you get updates and constant improvements for free. Coupa intends on releasing a series of minor updates to their solution between now and the fall, when the next major version of their enterprise platform will likely be released. What can you look for? Although an update schedule has not been finalized, since Coupa believes on implementing commonly requested feature first, you can expect streamlined payment system integration, more built-in reporting, and more pre-enabled punch-outs in the coming months. Add this to their newly completed filter-based budget reporting, enhanced approval workflows (with approval limits), tolerance-based invoice matching, multi-currency support (including the ability to integrate with the Bank of New York exchange rate web-service on a regular basis), improved survey and template creation, and extremely-fine grained roles-based security (with template support), and the solution footprint has considerably improved.

So, if you’re looking for an e-Procurement system, be sure to check it out. You might just find what you’re looking for. And when it comes to constant improvement, you can be sure they’re going to Coup-at-it