Coupa talks to James Bargerbos of Ausdrill Coupa

James Bargerbos
James Bargerbos

James grew up and lives in Perth, Western Australia. He studied Advanced Diploma of Contemporary Music (Bass Guitar) at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and has a Bachelor of Theology at Trinity Theological College in Perth. James has worked at Ausdrill since May 2012 (Cataloguing, Document Writing and Procurement prior to the Coupa roll-out). James has been the Ausdrill Coupa Administrator from 2015 onwards.

Read time: 9 mins
James Bargerbos of Ausdrill Coupa Community Champion 2016

james bargerbosWhat drives you to be involved in the Coupa Community?

I started using the Coupa Community when our Implementation Consultant (David Kernke) introduced me to it. My initial usage wasn’t so heavily involved, but as our company identified more business-case scenarios that could be improved with a system-driven approach (using Coupa), the more I turned to the Community for answers and to request new features where there weren’t already any existing feature requests. My managers also played a key role in encouraging me to raise a feature request whenever a possible improvement was identified or a business-case solution required – no matter how big or small the issue. Quite often I’ve been able to learn about a solution (or at least a viable temporary work-around) just by searching through the forum’s existing threads. I’ve also enjoyed being able to provide others with answers to their questions, and in doing so have been able to sharpen my own grasp of how the system works. Sometimes I’ve been pleasantly surprised to stumble across an existing feature or potential way of using the system that I didn’t yet know about; this is not surprising because of the extensive configurability that’s already available in Coupa.

How do you find the time?

I just try to fit into what I’m already doing as a Coupa Administrator. Using the Community has simply become a standard feature in my weekly work. I say weekly rather than daily, because it’s generally more efficient to find a block of time to just focus on one thing – for me, Friday afternoons is often the best time to spend time browsing and contributing in the Community in a general way. The key thing is that I make an effort of prioritising raising new feature requests, as this is the most important aspect of my use of the community for the sake of my company, and this doesn’t necessarily take much time to do. It’s easy to just think ‘It’s not urgent to raise this feature request so I’ll put it off for another time’ – but if I do that, I’ll never get around to it. You’ve got to ‘strike while the iron is hot’ as they say, and also realise that the way to reduce the amount of urgent issues requiring your time is to spend more time getting to the ‘important but not urgent’ tasks (like striving for a system-driven solution). I also make a point of getting through my Coupa Community email notifications – I find this helps me best keep up to date with the threads I’ve created or am following. There was a period when I was getting to many of these notifications, so I turned off some of the standard notifications to help me focus just on new posts and comments (like disabling the ones that tell you if someone has ‘me-too’d’ your idea, or if someone has liked one of your replies).

What has been your most interesting experience?

I like it that people feel comfortable with venting their frustrations in the community in a non-offensive and sometimes entertaining way. It’s a safe place to do this and I have never personally seen anyone post anything that is disrespectful to others, which is something I’ve been quite impressed with about the Coupa Community. It’s healthy and helpful because it informs Coupa about the key pain points that need to be addressed most urgently. Also, people can often provide answers or workarounds to each other to either solve their issues or else make things easier until an improvement can be implemented. For me, some of most interesting experiences are when I find myself laughing out loud in my office to something genuinely humorous that has been posted in a thread – it can really brighten your day!

Any memorable Coupa user story?

On the Community there is a thread about Bulk Requisition uploads which is asking for a template and an associated user-guide. Quite a few people said they needed something by way of an example Template for their users and a basic set of instructions to go with it. Having already done the work of creating my own version, I was able to share my template and user guide example with others. I was surprised at how many emails I got requesting this and was glad to be able to help other Coupa Admins from around the world in this way. That has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me. What also sticks in my mind is the helpfulness of a few of the key Coupa Community members (particularly Mike Rosier, Philip White and Hazel Brench) and some of the key Coupa representatives who are quite involved in the Community (particularly Tim Durkin, Carl Rydbeck, and Scott Harris).

Anything else you’d like to share?

The other key memorable experience is whenever I’ve seen a feature I’ve been involved in requesting progress to a planned or even implemented feature (sometimes just within a few months!) – and on this point I would say that the Coupa Developers and Programmers are the unsung heroes of Coupa and the Coupa Community.