Making Cents

Welcome To Our Blog. Read our opinions and perspectives on the market and share some of your own.

Making Hay Over Pennies

Earlier this week, I was impressed when SpendMatters, Ariba and Supply Excellence teamed up to write an open letter to President Obama, applauding him for his “commitment to make federal procurement reform a top priority for [his] administration”; but then expressing waning optimism because five months have passed and Obama has yet to announce a federal spend management plan or appoint leadership seats at two major federal procurement groups.

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Growing in Development

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Growing in Development

Great product ideas come from everywhere and everyone.  Might be a developer, might be one of our crack marketing people, might be a customer, might be my mom.  Our ears always perk up when a suggestion, whether big or little, comes our way.  Because of this, our ambition to continually innovate, and a zeal for helping companies spend smarter, we are growing our R&D team.

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Benchmark against the market and spend smarter than your competition

 

What percent of purchasing requests get rejected right out the gate? How long does it take to get a request approved? How many suppliers do you have set up at your company for electronic PO and invoice handling?

 

Every company is different when it comes to metrics like these, but what if your company had visibility to the aggregate data from across the Coupa customer network?

 

What if you learned that, on average, 30% of spending requests are rejected, and your company is only rejecting 2%? Wouldn’t you want to consider implementing stricter spending approval policies, now that you have real data to justify this change?

 

What if you learned that, on average, turnaround time from requisition to approval took two hours, while at your company the average is three days? Wouldn’t you consider simplifying the workflow and approval routing process at your company so that employees can get the goods and services they need to do their jobs faster? How much administrative burden and expense would that eliminate?

 

What if you learned that most companies have at least three suppliers per commodity category where they take advantage of pre-negotiated discounts and conduct all transactions electronically? Wouldn’t you consider leveraging Coupa for streamlined electronic PO and invoice handling via the Supplier Network in order to save on transaction costs?

 

With Coupa’s new Benchmarking Analytics, all this pivotal data, and more, will be at the purchasing organization's fingertips. Procurement and finance professionals will be in a position to compare their performance against the market, learn from the community and apply smarter spending practices at their organizations. To learn more, check back on www.coupa.com on June 15th, or contact your sales representative for a private screening of the new summer release.

Benchmark against the market and spend smarter than your competition

Third in a series of ’sneak peeks’ at Coupa’s blockbuster summer release.

What percent of purchasing requests get rejected right out the gate? How long does it take to get a request approved? How many suppliers do you have set up at your company for electronic PO and invoice handling?

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Encourage Employees to Crowdsource for Greater Savings

Crowdsourcing?  Say what?!? The official definition from the term's originator, Wired Magazine's Jeff Howe, is "the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call." 

 

Applied here, we're talking about extending responsibility for finding the best deals and saving the company money beyond the procurement or purchasing department to the entire employee population.

 

At my previous company I always used the preferred airline where we supposedly had some sort of negotiated rates. The funny thing was that if I went on to Kayak.com or Southwest.com, I could easily find a better rate. How come my company didn’t allow me to take advantage of these great deals?

 

Of course, the same holds true of a significant amount of other types of spending that takes place at companies today. If I need a new projector for our sales office, should I call someone in purchasing or review an internal online catalog of options from which to choose? Maybe, but what if I can find a better deal on Overstock.com? Why can’t I select the item, get it approved, and then purchased by our procurement group?

 

With Coupa’s new irequest capability, I can go to practically any website (like Overstock.com in the example below), find the item I want to buy, and simply click the irequest button on my browser's bookmarks toolbar. The item is then instantly clipped to my Coupa shopping cart, along with behind-the-scene supplier information that will facilitate an online transaction later. I can then get the purchase approved via the normal workflow process and Procurement can then decide if they want to add Overstock.com to our company's approved supplier list.

 

Coupa even helps the Purchasing department place the order on my behalf with inline company credit card info, shipping addresses, etc. Think of it as a Digg-like buyer bar to facilitate the e-commerce transaction with the best deal for the company. The benefits of punchout, without the hassle. The entire organization can be leveraged to help the company spend smarter, and Procurement can help facilitate the process.

 

 

Encourage Employees to Crowdsource for Greater Savings

Second in a series of ’sneak peeks’ at Coupa’s blockbuster summer release.

Crowdsourcing?  Say what?!?

The official definition from the term’s originator, Wired Magazine’s Jeff Howe, is “the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call.” 

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No more surprises! Coupa to introduce executive dashboards with leading indicators for business spending.

With layoffs on the rise (the economy shed another 552,000 jobs in May), the topic at the kitchen table these days tends to be about how to cut costs and manage household spending.  Can we cut our cable bill?  Refinance our house? Spend less on travel or entertainment? 

 

It's no wonder that internet companies like Mint.com and Pageonce.com are growing rapidly.  They help millions of consumers better understand their spending habits, and alert them to recent activity that brings them dangerously close to blowing the household budget and overspending. 

 

I rely on one of these services to provide me with leading indicators of my personal spending.  Lagging indicators, like the bills collecting in the mailbox, don't help me spend less. By the time you get the bill, it's too late.  The damage has been done.

 

Business is struggling too.  But what are companies doing to proactively manage their spending?  Most organizations set annual budgets, but have limited visibility to actual spending throughout the year.  And they certainly have no visibility to leading indicators of potential over-spending.  The situation is actually pretty bleak for most companies, and quite frankly, their application of technology to rectify the situation is lagging.

 

Borrowing some of the concepts from the consumer internet world, Coupa will introduce Spending Alerts and Predictive Spend Analytics as part of its Summer 2009 release. Coupa customers will be able to set alerts to warn the right people if the Marketing Department is on a spending trajectory that will likely cause them to go over budget for the period.

 

CFOs can then drill in to the Coupa application and proactively set some simple controls that can prevent overspending before it happens. The CFO can look at the real-time spending forecast, and then plan accordingly or make adjustments to spending approval levels well in advance of the actual spend taking place.

 

With these simple but powerful before-the-fact insights, smart companies will get on top of spending to get the competitive edge they so need in these tough economic times. 

Designing for Usability

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Designing for Usability

It’s been pretty well known that employees hate filling out purchase requests.  Why?  Because companies make their employees fill out tedious forms or they have an antiquated system that takes employees way too long to do a process that should be so simple.  I hear about it all the time from companies looking to make the switch to Coupa. 

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