Daily Archives: October 31, 2012

Federalist No 28

In Federalist No 28, Hamilton continues his discussion on the idea of restraining the legislative authority in regard to the common defense. With respect to this essay, there is again no substitute for the words of Hamilton.

THAT there may happen cases in which the national government may be necessitated to resort to force, cannot be denied. However, the idea of governing at all times by the simple
force of law has no place but in the
reveries of those political doctors whose sagacity disdains the admonitions of experimental instruction

Because, independent of all other reasonings upon the subject, it is a full answer to those who require a more peremptory provision
against military establishments in time of peace, to say that the whole power of the proposed government is to be in the
hands of the representatives of the people. This is the essential, and, after all, only efficacious security for the rights and
privileges of the people, which is attainable in civil society

Robbie and the Coupa Factory, Part II

Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-do
We can’t stop building products for you!
Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dah-dee
If you are wise you’ll try it tout-de-suite

What do you get when you’re UI obsessed?
Teams of coders who are distressed
Until they reduce the clicks to one or two
That’s what the ‘loompas will do for you.

Coupa is still trying to make the easiest end-to-end e-Procurement platform on the market, and still innovating new releases on a quarterly cycle.

So what’s changed since our last update in July?

  1. A greater focus on the front office.
  2. A stronger focus on supplier support.
  3. Better Inventory Management.
  4. Universal Search.
  5. Transactional Spend Analysis.

A greater focus on the front office.
This shows up in the form of better budget visibility and better contract management. In Coupa, a user can see what the budget impact of a requisition will be before they submit it, not after the fact. This feature is more powerful than it appears to be on the surface. For example, in one large retail client, every department that used Coupa was under budget, while every department that did not use Coupa was over budget. When people see the impact of a purchase before they make it, they are much more frugal.

With respect to contracts, Coupa has set up a “contract dropbox” where all contracts can be uploaded to the system and real-time spend dashboards by contract. Again, this may not sound that important until you realize that without such dashboard, the average user in an organization does not see the importance, and impact, of a contract. When spend quickly adds up, it becomes clear not only which products and suppliers are critical to the organization, but which contracts — and it also becomes a trivial exercise to determine the cost of buying off contract, which is where a lot of the savings leakage occurs in an average organization. The reality is that most savings available to an organization in the majority of non-strategic and non-high dollar categories lie in off-contract spend. In many organizations, just getting the majority of spend on contract can increase savings 50%. (Given that, on average, savings leakage is 40%, and the majority is due to maverick spending, shifting another 30% of spend on-contract where only 60% of spend was on-contract before increases savings opportunities by 50%.) For example, one company saved 120K in one year just be getting bottled water on contract with Staples!

A stronger focus on supplier support.
Suppliers, who are never charged by Coupa (as this greatly increases the odds that they will use the system) will soon be able to invoice their Coupa clients any way that they want to. In addition, a lot of effort has been put into insuring that their UI is as easy to use as the buyer’s UI.

Better inventory management.
Coupa has created a new API for inventory management and the system can automatically determine if the order is for internal inventory or external inventory. In addition, it now supports configurable lists for items bought on a regular schedule, which support par levels and auto-buy calculations based on current inventory to make it simple for a user to do regular re-orders. In addition, the system can auto-generate GL codes based on user, department, and commodity so that the re-order is charged against the right budget and filled by the right contract.

Universal Search.
One thing that Coupa learned is that its average user did not want to leave Coupa and punch-out to a third party site to find a product or service they needed to accomplish their day-to-day job. In response, Coupa now includes punch-out and other external products and services from partner-sites through scraping and auto-loads. In addition, they have integrated back-end reporting that lets Procurement know when prices change.

Transactional Spend Analysis.
They have implemented a basic data analysis tool (GoodData) that lets a user slice and dice spend by contract, commodity, department, and other basic measures so that they can better understand the Spend Under Management through the Coupa System. While not a replacement for a full-fledged Data Analysis Engine, it now has the same power as any package that contains a canned set of spend visibility reports and a basic report building engine, which is impressive for a Procurement platform. No more heavy lifting in Excel for the simple stuff for sure!

Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-do
They can’t stop building products for you!
Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-dar
They have the goal to take your spend far.