Will Coupa Inspire?

Inspire starts tomorrow, with what many would consider an impressive line up of speakers, including the great Wozniak, co-founder of Apple. The question is, will you be inspired, and, most importantly, will you be inspired by what they have to offer.

It’s a good question, and one each person will have to answer for themselves. But, at least in the doctor‘s view, an equally good question is what should inspire you?

In our space, most of the technology being sold is, believe it or not, (well) over a decade old. In some cases, it’s *gasp* two decades old. RFX / Auction is over two decades old, and one of the early purveyors, FreeMarkets, was founded 22 years ago. Coupa launched its core offerings on Procurement Independence Day 11 years ago, and the core technology in each of the half-dozen companies it has acquired over the last few years is over a decade too — including Trade Extensions (now Coupa Advanced Sourcing) and Spend 360 (Coupa Analytics).

So what should inspiring? Especially in this day in age? One word. One critical word that is the last word in Coupa’s one sentence event description that claims Inspire is the biggest industry event for creating real, business value. New and differentiated value that you could not obtain before. And where should one look for that value?

The User eXperience

A good user experience can’t be oversimplified. An application that takes a week to learn basic functionality and a month to do anything of moderate complexity greatly extends time to value and limits how much a user will ever be able to do. But an application that is intuitive, makes it easy for a user to do standard tasks with no training, and complex tasks with the help of user guides gets a user to value quickly. Plus, a good experience makes a user want to do more while a bad experience makes a user want to avoid the application as much as possible. And a user experience that is leaps and bounds ahead of the current standard will bring immediate, unexpected, benefits that cannot be predicted.

Multi-Functional Application

Right now, a lot of the current technology is not only narrowly focussed on Procurement but also on direct and indirect sourcing of products and basic services. There is little focus on specialized areas — such as Marketing, Legal, and Finance — or on broader applications — such as Finance analytics, Logistics improvement, MRO. An application that can also provide the same value to other departments and bring more than point-based value to the enterprise is many times more valuable than an application with limited focus and even more limited results.

An Inclusive Design

As SI has continually pointed out over the years, your success is extremely dependent upon your suppliers’ success because their failings are your failings. If their products fail, your customers blame you. If their reputation fails, so does yours. They need to be as successful as you in order for you to succeed. So tech that helps you make this happen is key.

So, in summary, when looking for inspiration, look for that which is going to really change the way you, and your team, does business. And if you find this at Inspire, then it will be a game changer for you.

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