Why We're Partnering With IBM to Drive Savings-as-a-Service

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IBM & Coupa merger.

IBM + CoupaToday, together with IBM, we're announcing a new joint solution that seamlessly combines IBM Strategic Supply Management with our Coupa Procure-to-Pay (P2P) and Coupa Open Business Network solutions. IBM and Coupa have partnered previously on joint ventures, and this new solution deepens our partnership.

IBM intends to resell Coupa and we have both committed to investing resources to ensure that the unified solution provides more value than either solution alone could deliver to the world's most successful enterprises.

IBM's solution handles deep supplier intelligence, complex contract management capabilities, and multi-faceted risk scores. Preferred suppliers are automatically presented to users in the easy-to-use consumer-like shopping platform that Coupa has become known for, seamlessly integrating automatic compliance with complex business rules into the natural buying process. Supplier collaboration is handled through the Coupa Open Business Network for purchase order, e-invoice and related transactions, at no cost to suppliers.

I'll be on stage this morning at IBM Empower in San Diego talking about our new joint solution, how it fits with our vision for the marketplace and why we think it makes sense in the context of Coupa’s broader strategy. In case you can't be there, here's the scoop.

Coupa's vision is Savings-as-a-Service. We can talk about a lot of important ways procurement and accounts payable (AP) contribute to organizations but the ultimate goal is of course to save the organization money in order to boost profitability, earnings per share, and stock price. That's the only way in which a CEO, a board of directors, and shareholders will consider procurement and AP to be the critical strategic functions they should be.

Our belief is that, in the future, the procurement and AP functions will be unified and led by a chief spend officer with organization-wide bottom line responsibility for spending the company's money wisely. His or her organization will need to capture as much spend as possible through its system and connect to preferred suppliers effortlessly all while processing e-invoices efficiently, with an eye to strategically taking early pay discounts.

IBM has complex contract lifecycle capabilities that help procurement professionals ensure that they're not only getting the best price, they're also protecting the organization from risk by dealing with legitimate suppliers. That's good supplier hygiene, and IBM has a best-in-class solution when paired with Coupa's platform.

We're partnering with IBM because these complex supplier and contract capabilities are important, and we're not building all of them out just yet. We've made a strategic decision to spend most of our near-term energy and resources on unique functionality that helps companies save more by bringing more categories of spend under management, making it so every employee can be a responsible spender.

Capturing spend is a function of widespread adoption and that's where we want to focus our attention: on the end user and supplier experiences. We've already differentiated ourselves in this area and, as we grow, we want to make sure our customers continue to capture as much transaction volume as possible, so they can find those opportunities to save.

Simply put, we know what we do really well and we want to stay focused on that. This partnership allows us to stay focused on what we do well, IBM to stay focused on what they do well, and our mutual customers to benefit.

Bringing partnerships like this one to the market allows us to more rapidly execute on our vision of Savings-as-a-Service.