Making Cents

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SaaS Customer Success movement pushes customers to redefine "success"

 

In a previous post, my colleague Ravi Thakur eloquently articulated the kevin turnerKevin Turnerevolution of the Customer Success movement in enterprise software, and outlined the differences between customer service and Customer Success.

 

As he explained, Customer Success represents a shift in the mindset of how software vendors interact with customers. SaaS companies are aligning on this more proactive, partnership-oriented approach to software implementation, and the term Customer Success is popping up in marketing materials and org charts across the industry.

 

Using the system does not equal success

Now somebody just needs to tell the customers. Customers can benefit greatly from leveraging this more proactive approach on the part of vendors, but what I find working in the Customer Success

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Get Inspired at Coupa's coming out party in Europe

I'm very excited to be welcoming over 250 finance and alex kleiner  Alex Kleinerprocurement leaders from all over Europe to Coupa Inspire EMEA next Thursday, 16 October at the Rosewood Hotel in the heart of London. This is Coupa's "coming out party" in Europe.

 

For the past couple of years, we've had a big, multi-day Coupa Inspire event in San Francisco for our North American customers and prospects. Last year we had a half-day mini-Inspire event here in EMEA. This year we have a full-day event, from breakfast through to evening reception.

 

The expansion of the event is indicative of the market interest we're seeing all over EMEA. Over 40% of conference attendees are coming from outside the U.K. Fourteen different countries will be represented, so this is truly an opportunity to connect with and learn from

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Customer service is dead. Long live customer success!

 

Customer success has become a buzzword in high tech ravi thakurRavi Thakurover the past few years, with the phrase increasingly cropping up in sales presentations, on business cards and org charts. But what does customer success really mean? Is this just customer service with a fancy name?

 

Done right, customer success is more than just an aspirational job title or a new spin on the customer service function. It’s really an evolution of customer service, requiring new skill sets and mindsets to staff the customer success organizations that are cropping up in tech companies.

 

The customer success model aligns the interests of the service provider with the interests of the customer in a quantifiable way. It denotes an organization that’s much more

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Sales negotiations should be a tango, not a breakdance

 

It’s the end of the quarter, and I’m in my office, tied to my Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 12.33.00 PM  Rob Bernshteynphone and email waiting for the last few outstanding deals to come in, same as at the end of every quarter. This is business as usual in virtually every company in my industry, enterprise software, and in countless other industries as well: many of the deals close at the last minute of the quarter or end of the year.

 

We all know the drill. Customers think they’re going to get the best price and terms by waiting until the last minute, when they have the vendor’s back to the wall.

 

There are good reasons for that, mainly that it very often works. As a vendor I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there is a strong incentive to lower prices to make the quarter, especially for a public company. Many companies do just that.  But, does it have to be this way?

 

For enterprise software, the shift to the cloud and its subscription-based, recurring revenue business model lowers the stakes around the one big bang sale somewhat, but let’s be

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How Software as a Service is like eating pizza at a restaurant

What does pizza have in common with software? It comes in four pizza pie

different delivery models, as outlined in this brilliant infographic designed by Albert Barron, a software client architect at IBM.

 

As Barron explained in a recent LinkedIn post, he coined the "Pizza as a Service" analogy to help explain the modern software business landscape to a non-techie friend. 

 

As Barron notes in his post, techies rival texting teens for figuring out ways to communicate with as few characters as possible. That was the case during a bike ride where Barron and friend were talking technology when his friend got lost--not literally, but by all the technical jargon and TLAs (three letter acronyms) Barron was tossing around. Somewhere in the conversation

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The Coupa Fast 5: Filling the digital leadership void

Who should lead organizations into the digital future? digital voidHow involved should procurement be with payments? Can you automate and centralize procurement without centralizing AP? Leaders at Coupa customers Juniper Networks, TD Bank and Molina Healthcare contribute their thoughts on these matters, and we also look at two new supply chain and procurement studies. 

 

Keep up with the changing finance and procurement landscape by reading the latest and greatest articles about the cloud, strategic procurement and finance and supplier innovation, all in one place.

 

Coupa 1CIOs should step into the digital leadership void

In many instances, a company’s most promising digital leader is the CIO, says Bask Iyer, CIO of Juniper Networks. "Good CIOs have experience leading the organization through transformation. They have the real world experience of delivering change over and over again.”

 

Coupa 2Focusing on payment terms delivers value

Payment comes at the end of the procurement process, so not your job, right? TD Bank's Carolyne Booth argues that recognising the value of payment terms and activities in the procurement process is actually core to good procurement and deserves more attention than it sometimes receives.

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Square CFO Sarah Friar: Mentoring, code camps can help advance women in STEM

 

Earlier this year, The Financial Women of San sarah friarSarah FriarFrancisco selected Sarah Friar, Chief Financial Officer of Square, a Coupa customer, as its 2014 Financial Woman of the Year. The award recognizes Friar for her leadership roles in corporate finance and in high technology startups, as well as for her passionate advocacy for the advancement of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.

 

Friar will be honored at a luncheon in San Francisco on October 2. Coupa is proud to be a co-sponsor of the luncheon, which benefits FWSF’s scholarship fund. We had the opportunity to chat with Sarah about her journey from intern at a gold mine in Ghana to managing partner at Goldman Sachs to the C-suite at Square, where she is actively involved with College and High School Code Camps that bring together young women studying or interested in computer science.

 

 

Coupa:  It seems that many girls self-elect out of STEM fields at a young age. Why do you think that is? And how were you personally able to avoid that fate?

 

Sarah: At Square, when we look at just how many female engineers are available to hire, we're looking at about 20% of the class. If you look up the funnel at the high school level,

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For spend analytics you can trust, there can be no “other”

 

In my last post, I talked about how timely access to dipan karumsi  Dipan Karumsidata can help procurement organizations avoid embarrassing moments with suppliers. Now let’s turn our attention to getting quality data downstream.

 

This requires not only having broad adoption of the eProcurement tool, but also having a well-defined category taxonomy and making sure people know how to use it accurately. The taxonomy is where many organizations fall down; they simply don’t put enough time and thought into developing it, and thus create continuous challenges in getting access to quality spend data. 

 

Developing a well-defined taxonomy takes discipline and thought. Yet, in the rush to deploy the system, organizations may create a bare minimum of categories without

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Legislating honesty creates procurement bureaucracy overload

 

In my previous two posts on how we can improve the jack miles-headshotJack Milespublic procurement process, I’ve talked about how procurement differs in the public and private sectors and why it’s unfair to compare the two, and pinpointed the protest process, which is unique to government procurement, as one area that’s ripe for overhaul.

 

The other major area for improvement is human capital – namely, taking better care of the people who oversee and implement the public procurement process. They need to get paid more and work in an environment where the best ideas can be brought to bear on the problems of the day.

 

I spent most of my career in procurement in the private sector before I transitioned to the public sector to work as Secretary of the Department of Management Services for Florida under Governor Rick Scott. I have observed a shortage of

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In a government procurement protest, there are no winners

 

Why does our government get procurement outcomesjack miles-headshotJack Miles like the healthcare.gov website and $600 toilet seats? One of the biggest reasons is the protest process, which adds a dimension of risk and uncertainty that isn’t part of private procurement at all. This process needs to change.

 

I experienced a protest first-hand as Secretary of the Department of Management Services for the State of Florida. We were procuring healthcare for state employees. I had inherited a very tight timeline; we had to run the procurement and get everyone insured before the mandated open enrollment deadline.

 

We designed a county-by-county procurement, wherein at least two health care companies would be assigned to provide coverage in each county, so employees

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