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Making Cents

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

Integrating booking, expense management systems is the key to negotiating better rates

 

Travel accounts for over sixty percent of employee-submitted expenses, so tony darugarTony Darugar getting a handle on travel spend can have a big impact on the bottom line. Corporate travel booking platforms allow travel managers to define and enforce travel policies, and to take advantage of the best possible negotiated pricing.

 

But how do you ensure employees are making use of the travel booking tool, and that their submitted travel expenses match what they booked through the tool?

 

By integrating your travel booking system with your expense management system, booked itineraries automatically generate employee expense reports, and travel booked outside the system is automatically highlighted.

 

Paystream Advisors’ 2013 Travel and Expense Benchmark report shows that this is a big opportunity for a majority of companies. This is why Coupa was so excited to

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Business continuity in the cloud happens by design

 

In my last post, I talked about how Amazon Web Services (AWS) has sanket naikSanket Naikgreatly improved reliability and decreased service outages over the past couple of years. This is great news, since AWS is by far the world’s largest provider of infrastructure as a service.

 

Still, machines fail, and any company that does business in the cloud and can’t afford outages needs to design their systems to be prepared for them. That’s true whether you’re hosting on AWS, Microsoft Azure or any other cloud provider. Here’s why.

 

You have a car, right? Twenty years ago, if any component in your car failed, chances are you would grind to a halt and you would have to get the car to the shop and get it fixed.

 

Today's cars are designed with computer systems that are constantly monitoring the different components. They are able to alert you to an impending failure, and in the event of failure, they have fault tolerant systems that can

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Cloud-y, with a chance of outages

 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has had some brief, infrequent, but highly publicized outages. As Vice President of Cloud Operations for Coupa, which runs on AWS, I’m sanket naikSanket Naikoften asked about these incidents and what the implications were for our customers.

 

It's the nature of running machines that they will have some issues, as anyone who owns a car knows. All hosting providers, cloud and on premise, have occasional outages. Servers fail, disks fail, and natural and man-made disasters occur.

 

Data center  outages don’t normally make the news, because hardly anyone has ever heard of most hosting providers, and their outages don’t affect that many people. AWS outages get more coverage is because the Amazon.com brand is a household word, and because some of the world’s most popular websites are hosted there. When AWS goes down,

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How can procurement be more strategic? Think like sales.

 

As the leader of a company that provides solutions for procurement, rob bernshteyn ceoRob BernshteynI go to a lot of procurement events. On every agenda there’s inevitably a session about how procurement can become more strategic. And inevitably what comes up is, “we've got to get better talent”. “We’ve got to break down silos.” “We’ve got to manage supplier risk—if we’ve got to have certain materials and suddenly our supplier is out of stock, do we have another one to replace them?”

 

These are all-important and basic staples of the procurement role. But as a CEO at these events, I find myself thinking, no one’s going to get a pat on the back for this, no matter how well they do it. That’s just keeping things going, and if that’s all you do, you’re a commodity. It's like riding a bike—just about everyone can do it. It’s not that interesting. But how many people can do flips and tricks and make you go wow, I didn’t even know you could do that with a bike? That gets people’s attention, because

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Executive sponsors must provide focus, leadership tied to the real decision criteria for buying enterprise software

Earlier in my career, I worked for a midsize technology company where steve sovik newSteve Sovikwe had to select a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.  As the VP of Sales, I was the executive sponsor for the project, and for the first time in my career, I was on the buy side of a major, enterprise-wide software evaluation and selection process. 

 

If you work in sales and have the opportunity to do this, I highly recommend it.  It is an eye-opening experience to see how big decisions get made inside of companies.  I came away with a deeper understanding of just how critical the role of executive sponsor is.  This person’s leadership and active participation in the buying process is crucial to ensure that the best

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No more bad cop: Providing real time spend information helps finance be strategic

 

This time of the year, companies are well into planning for next year. Financemark verbeck organizations are firing up big efforts on a budgeting process that ultimately doesn’t have enough impact on the way people make decisions each day. Real time access to spend and budget information can change that.

 

As our chief in-house user, our finance organization is trying to live at the forefront of using all the functionality Coupa has. I also talk a lot with our customers about how they’re using Coupa and we all learn from each other.

 

Naturally, we talk a lot about managing to budget. I’m a big proponent of using Coupa’s real-time budget information because it brings the budget out of ERP and puts it in front of the business in a way that helps finance move beyond merely reporting after the

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Supplier-provider partnerships key to cost, quality, outcomes in new healthcare era

 

With the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. Obamacare, taking effect in the U.S. earlier this year, healthcare providers downstream are stepping up their efforts to cut costs while still delivering quality care.

 

Earlier this year, Coupa hosted a webinar, Finding Certain Savings in Uncertain Times to chat with two of the healthcare industry’s leading influencers: Curt Miller, chief information officer for Amerinet GPO and Brent Johnson, vice president of Supply Chain and Support Services for Intermountain Healthcare. In this excerpt of our conversation, they respond to an audience question on how suppliers can effectively partner with providers in the new U.S. healthcare landscape.

 

Coupa:  We have a question from the audience: Aside from a massive discount, what can suppliers do to really work better with hospitals and patient caregivers? How can they

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Experts say wider standards adoption needed to cut healthcare costs

 

With the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. Obamacare, taking effect in the U.S. earlier this year, healthcare providers downstream are stepping up their efforts to cut costs while still delivering quality care.

 

Earlier this year, Coupa hosted a webinar, Finding Certain Savings in Uncertain Times to chat with two of the healthcare industry’s leading influencers: Curt Miller, chief information officer for Amerinet GPO and Brent Johnson, vice president of Supply Chain and Support Services for Intermountain Healthcare. In this excerpt of our conversation, they share their thoughts on the increasing importance of industry-wide standards for supply chain efficiency:    

 

Coupa:  How can hospital supply chains be effective when it comes to the various laws and requirements (of Obamacare) without a set menu of data

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Healthcare.gov: What's the goal?

 

President Obama says that healthcare.gov will be “running smoothly” by the end of November. rob bernshteyn ceoRob BernshteynJeffrey Zients of QSSI, one the of the subcontractors involved in building the site, has been appointed to lead round the clock efforts in this direction. He promises “relentless focus on speed and execution.”

 

I have no reason to question Mr. Zients’ appointment, skill or dedication to the task at hand. But there’s something missing. As someone who has led hundreds of large multi-contractor technology deployments, I still haven’t heard anyone talking about the one thing I know is critical for success in a project like this: Clear, measurable goals. The last minute decision to require people to register before seeing the healthcare plans, along with all the finger pointing that’s been going on is symptomatic of a lack of focus on what the success criteria were.

 

Maybe you’re saying to yourself, "Oh come on Rob. It's obvious. What do you mean what's the goal? The goal is that people can register for Obamacare."

 

Okay, how many people? By when? Registered, or enrolled? Or is the goal for them to see

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How CSAA reduced approval chains from 300 to fewer than 20

 

Kathy Stone of CSAA is a Coupa customer and long time procurement professional. She spoke at length during our One Vision Roadshow about implementing Coupa and some of the things she’s helped her organization accomplish. One thing she said that really stood out was that CSAA was able to reduce the number of approval chains from more than 300 to fewer than 20. Who wouldn’t want to do that! We followed up with Kathy to get the details.

 

Coupa: How did you get to a point where you had so many approval chains?

 

Kathy:  It was just one piece of a much larger issue that was mostly due to lack of inter-operative tools. We had a lot of tools to perform procurement and AP functions, but none of them talked to each other. There was no integration

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