From Measuring Savings to Delivering Undeniable Value
Our “ability to execute” and our “completeness of vision” have once again positioned us in the “Leaders” quadrant in one of the industry’s most influential reports, the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Procure-to-Pay Suites for Indirect Procurement 2016.
We’re very happy about that of course, and at the same time we feel a tremendous responsibility to our customers not only to continue to deliver measurable value, but increasingly to deliver what we call Value as a Service.
What is Value as a Service? Up until recently, the enterprise software industry in general, and in this industry in particular, has been focused on features and functions, on the ‘how’ of procure-to-pay processes.
A key idea behind Value as a Service is that customers ought to be thinking less and less about the ‘how.’ They should be focused on the ‘what.’
We now have the technology to build just about any feature or support any process one might want, and deliver it in the cloud as a service. But that’s not the conversation we should be having. The conversation we should be having is, what is the value we are driving towards?
We started that conversation last year at Coupa Inspire, our annual community get together in San Francisco, by introducing the Real Math of Success. Dozens of Coupa customers showcased the hard cost savings they had achieved by partnering with Coupa. They shared these numbers publicly, telling their stories on video and holding up placards with some impressive savings numbers.
This year, we had dozens of new customer stories to tell, and many of last year’s customers were back, with even bigger and more impressive numbers written on their placards.
We’re seeing clear and tangible evidence that companies are achieving continuing value by partnering with Coupa. And I personally had a number of people ask me, how can my company get numbers like that?
This year at Inspire, we elevated the conversation, starting what I hope will be a long-running and dynamic conversation about Value as A Service.
That can be a difficult conversation to have, especially since the way companies buy technology has not kept pace with how Software as a Service has changed the nature of buying technology products.
We still fill out these 1000-line+ RFPs, but in doing so we become so focused on features and functions and checking every box on everyone’s list that we get bogged down in the ‘how’ and lose track of what it was we were trying to do in the first place.
At Inspire, we introduced three things we hope will contribute to a more focused conversation about quantifiable value.
The Coupa Value Discovery tool uses benchmark data from our platform and publicly available data to estimate what might be achievable for a particular company in each of the areas where we commonly see companies realize value.
It’s a great tool for starting a conversation about partnering with us, to get a feel for what kind of value such a partnership might yield—before you fill out that epic RFP.
Our executive advisory board convened for the first time. This is a group of a dozen procurement, finance and IT leaders that have implemented Coupa at their companies and are getting tremendous value from it. They shared their stories at Inspire and they’ll be contributing to the Value as a Service conversation in events, webinars and articles throughout the coming year.
Finally, we gave every attendee an advance copy of my forthcoming book, Value as a Service: Embracing the Coming Disruption. Think of it as my position paper about the future of enterprise software. It will be in bookstores in August.
My position is this: Product companies in every industry are converting delivery of their offerings to the as-a-service model. The buyer no longer has to purchase, house and maintain the product in order to receive its benefits. The coming disruption is that people will focus not on the delivery method or the attributes of the product, but on the value delivered. This is the vision we’ll be executing on in the coming months and years.