Breaking Down the Silos of Spend

Michael Schanker
Michael Schanker
VP, Strategic Marketing, Coupa Software

Michael Schanker is the VP, Strategic Marketing at Coupa, supporting Coupa's go-to-market strategy, product marketing, segment marketing, and customer marketing teams. He has spent more than 20 years in enterprise software across Marketing, Sales, and Services roles after starting his career in Finance. He has an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a B.S. from Washington University in St. Louis. 

Read time: 5 mins
Breaking Down the Silos of Spend

I’m thrilled to see Coupa named as a Leader in six IDC MarketScape reports, published this week, including Procurement1, Spend Analysis2, Sourcing3, Procure to Pay4, Supplier Relationship Management5, and Buy-side Contract Lifecycle Management6. It’s an honor to be recognized by the IDC MarketScape for all the hard work our team has put into developing solutions that empower our customers to spend smarter, simpler, and safer.

At Coupa, we’re on a mission to develop a comprehensive Business Spend Management (BSM) platform that delivers on our vision of Value-as-a-Service. And while we recognize that the industry at large may still think of these six IDC Marketscape categories as separate processes within a business, we believe that ultimately, innovation in this space will only happen by breaking down functional and technology silos to unite under the banner of BSM.

The notion of breaking down business silos to unite business processes is not new. It started with the ERP systems of the 1990s and has since expanded to include CRM and HCM — the ‘big three’ systems of record for large enterprises. Like these technologies did for other business processes, we believe BSM will become the de-facto system of record for spend.

In many businesses, procurement, sourcing, accounts payable, treasury management and other functions related to business spending are still kept separate, each with their own technology solutions that may or may not share data and insights across departments. However, this approach limits the visibility, control, and agility a business needs to make smarter decisions. Breaking down those functional and technology silos is the key to unlocking the maximum value of every dollar spent across the organization.

Redefining Spend

Even the term ‘spend’ itself is somewhat limiting in its connotations. When most people hear “spend,” they think of procurement and the transactional elements of buying goods and services at the lowest cost. But at Coupa, we realize spend is something much broader. Spend is not about cost, it’s about value maximization. Spend is about your organizational strategy, put into action. This means that BSM is about everything that comes before, during and after the direct action of spending money — from continuously redesigning your supply chain to sourcing, onboarding new suppliers, and constantly managing third party risk all the way to payments and liquidity management. Every step that happens around an actual transaction is an opportunity to uncover and unlock potential value.

Whatever the value drivers are for your business and what you’re optimizing for at a given time — whether that’s cost efficiency, revenue, margin, service levels, supporting sustainable and diverse spend, etc. — your spend is a manifestation of those priorities. The way you spend money as an organization is both the strategy you’ve created and the execution of that strategy. You want to make sure that every action you take is intentional, aligned with your broader strategy, and based on Community Intelligence. This is why we at Coupa say spend is a transformational tool. There is so much value hidden in silos, and only when they all work with each other can it be fully realized.

Maximizing for Value

Now more than ever, having a corporate-level understanding of what value maximization is for your company is critical. When the pandemic first hit, many businesses froze all spending as a knee jerk reaction to widespread uncertainty. But studies have shown that during a crisis, companies that move quickly to assess spend, improve supply chain resiliency, and focus on value drivers are more likely to come out of downturns faster and more resilient.

Forward-thinking business leaders (many of whom we are proud to call Coupa customers) are already bought into the philosophy of Value-as-a-Service and the holistic approach of BSM. And analysts in our industry are also beginning to understand the value of a comprehensive BSM technology platform and strategy. In the IDC MarketScape for Procurement this year notably sounds a lot more like BSM as we define it than traditional procurement. It’s exciting to be on the cusp of such monumental change as we shift our thinking away from the silos of the past and towards a more open future. 

1 IDC MarketScape: Worldwide SaaS and Cloud-Enabled Procurement Applications 2021 Vendor Assessment, Doc #US45015719, February 2021

2 IDC MarketScape: Worldwide SaaS and Cloud-Enabled Spend Analysis Applications 2021 Vendor Assessment (doc #US45015319, February 2021)

3 IDC MarketScape: Worldwide SaaS and Cloud-Enabled Sourcing Applications 2021 Vendor Assessment (doc #US45015419, February 2021)

4 IDC MarketScape: Worldwide SaaS and Cloud-Enabled Procure-to-Pay Applications 2021 Vendor Assessment (Doc #US45015519, February 2021)

5 IDC MarketScape: Worldwide SaaS and Cloud-Enabled Supplier Relationship Management Applications 2021 Vendor Assessment (Doc #US45015919 , February 2021)

6 IDC MarketScape: Worldwide SaaS and Cloud-Enabled Buy-side Contract Lifecycle Management Applications 2021 Vendor Assessment (doc #US45016019, February 2021)