Partners Can Accelerate Your Business-Maturity Programs

Joe Henderson & Kevin Farrell
Read time: 6 mins
Partners Can Accelerate Your Business-Maturity Programs

For some, there is a natural tendency to distrust the use of consultants. It can be seen as a lack of confidence for the current workforce’s skills. Employees and teams perceive consulting as auditing and a fact-finding mission for organizational restructuring. For one of the authors, his personal experience was in delivering a large analytics project and then being told a firm would be brought in to do it again.

As Joe explained, “I rankled at the intrusion until I was told my project identified such a large savings opportunity that due diligence required validation. With that explanation, my whole view changed on the reasons why partners are brought in and, in most cases, how they are an accelerant to business change.”

Choosing the right partner and developing an effective business partnership can help you navigate the path on your business-maturity journey.

“Taking a partner-first approach allows our community of partners to share their broader industry perspectives, Coupa platform expertise, implementation experience, and business transformation familiarity to help our mutual customers succeed. With this approach, Coupa can remain singularly focused on innovation and delivering value with our world class Business Spend Management platform.” — Roger Goulart, Executive Vice President of BD & Alliances

Partners bring valuable experience and expertise

When the washing machines break, we call an expert. We don’t know how to fix it; nor even know where to start troubleshooting it. And we are not interested in completing the repair ourselves since we can’t guarantee that it won’t make the problem worse. This is no different than many business problems. We may be great at identifying the problem, but the solution might be beyond our experience; it might also be outside of a timeline that allows us to experiment. Bringing in a partner to help solve a business problem is calling in the expert.

In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcom Gladwell posited that gaining mastery of any skill requires 10,000 hours of effort. For programs that are new or need a quick power infusion, you don’t have that time. Partners see business problems over and over and gain mastery and knowledge by sharing across more than one practitioner. They also see how it’s done elsewhere in your industry and in similar industries and provide valuable, nuanced insights that would be difficult to replicate.

Skills Development Progression Illustration
Figure 1: How will you fill gaps while your internal team gains traction? This example shows the progression of building a Supply Chain Design and Planning Center of Excellence in collaboration with a partner.

Partners help close the skills gap in your organization

Hiring quality talent is daunting and becomes more so as the technology becomes increasingly complex. Sometimes the headcount is exceedingly expensive; sometimes you can’t get the right talent at any price. When technology has vastly outstripped the ability to staff expertise, organizations feel this pinch in multiple business functions.

There is a right-fit model that will allow you to overcome the headcount or skills gap. Partners can augment the gaps within critical skill sets on your team, either through staff augmentation, full business process outsourcing, or somewhere in between. This approach can help build the business case in support of hiring internal staff to support and enhance your thriving project. With the partner filling the gap, your firm realizes value in year one and can complete due diligence before committing to a permanent hiring decision.

Global consultancies are also staffed to run multiple projects in parallel. They’ll design plans that flex headcount into the project when needed and then pull them out when sprints are done. This kind of on-demand human capital is difficult for all but the largest of enterprises and can make the difference between projects that are on time and under budget, or not.

Roadmap for Partners Accelerating Business Maturity
Figure 2: A realistic roadmap helps firms gain immediate value and bakes competency and handoff into the journey.

Partners mitigate risk and shorten project timeline

You aren’t deploying Business Spend Management (BSM) systems every day, but partners are. Dedicated partners make it their mission to embrace change and distill exactly how to extract the most value as technology changes. They store best practices and configuration templates in a success library that reduce implementation time and lower integration risk. This advanced partner experience adds another key element — they understand how to utilize Coupa Community Intelligence for better outcomes. Firms that have successfully deployed hundreds of projects know which success metrics to drive. By leveraging these experienced partners, clients mitigate risk and shorten their projects while producing measurable savings.

Outsource to partners for the things you can’t or don’t want to do

Modern business thrives on specialization. When deciding how to scale your business, a strategic decision may be to not own all functions. Either your team is not good at it, or the effort would pull talent, energy, and resources away from mission-critical endeavors.

In a real-world example, numerous retail organizations run dedicated fleet programs and leverage a logistics provider versus owning hardware and driver programs. Business Process Outsourcing is not a blind hands-off process and still requires oversight. Coupa controls such as Spend Guard monitor transactions for fraud and negative spend patterns, ensuring that financial control remains high while execution is handed off. Value creation is highest when your company focuses on its core strengths, and the right partner will ensure you can do that.

Partners are the best way to deploy Coupa

Our goal of delivering a world-class Business Spend Management solution is secured by a partner-first approach. Our partners are experts in creating implementation programs. Coupa is the expert in creating the industry’s best Business Spend Management platform. Our comprehensive partner programs combine industry expertise and best practices for world class implementation. We collaborate with a community of more than 200 partners to ensure that there is a specialist organization that knows the ins-and-outs of each of the components of our solution.

Learn how the right partner will enable the full value of Coupa 

As you’re considering your next step along your business maturity journey, work with our Business Value Engineering Team on identifying the right partner. Selecting the right partner can be the key to unlocking the full potential of your Coupa deployment. Your partner’s expertise will allow you to focus on creating, defending, and delivering the competitive advantage that makes your organization unique.