Top Insights From Our Executive Advisory Board

Kendra Von Esh
Kendra Von Esh
Executive Strategic Advisor, Coupa

Kendra Von Esh, a former CIO at Veolia, has been a trusted advisor and CIO for the past decade developing value added strategies and solutions transforming businesses with technology. Von Esh joined Coupa last year to leverage her executive experience and active involvement in CIO communities and industry boards to create inspiring dialogue and change strategies cross-functionally.

Read time: 8 mins
Insights from Our Executive Advisory Board

Coupa Inspire is almost upon us, and with it the first anniversary of the Coupa Executive Advisory Board (EAB). The EAB is the brainchild of Kendra Von Esh, a former CIO who implemented Coupa before joining the company to act as executive advisor to other CXOs. She quickly found that the conversation about undertaking a cloud procure-to-pay transformation must include executive leaders from at least three disciplines: procurement, finance and IT.

Von Esh recruited four leaders in each functional area to talk about their experiences taking spend management to the cloud and elevating it to a strategic function within their organizations, and the EAB was formed. Over the past year, they’ve shared their insights and best practices in many industry forums, including on our blog. As we prepare to welcome new members to join their ranks, we are pleased to present some of their most popular posts.

A brief history of spend management in four acts – Mike Jacobs – CPO, Staples

There’s never been a better time to be in corporate procurement, writes Jacobs. He started his career in consulting, and over the last three decades, has watched the function move from the back office to the executive suite as the focus has shifted from transactional buying to strategic sourcing and proactive spend management.

With the tools and technology available to manage spending now, we are entering the fourth and final act in the history of spend management: A technology enabled, end-to-end approach to providing procurement and business stakeholders greater transparency and control over how third party spend is allocated.

4 out of date purchasing models to kill with SaaS technology – David Hearn – CPO Advisement Services

New technology is helping us break new ground in purchasing and procurement. To make the most of it, we face a new challenge: Breaking through some of the mental models around the function that have formed over the last 20-30 years, says Hearn, former CPO of Juniper Networks.

Killing off old mental models when the situations change is very hard, and as a result people are self-limiting on what they can do throughout the source-to-pay process because of the way they’ve always done things in the past. In this two-part series, Hearn outlines the four mental models that must change in order to move purchasing and procurement into the broader, more strategic, technology-enabled function of spend management.

Trove of data, touch of flair the best ways to win CFOs over – Ron Pachura, VP, Digital Banking, Fiserv, and Todd Dooley, Former VP Finance H&R Block

“What if I told you I could save $120 million in 18 months?” That’s an elevator pitch that would be sure to get a CFO’s attention. In our Inspire CFO panel last year, finance leaders Pachura and Dooley shared their tips for pitching spend management initiatives to a finance executives.

One of the biggest challenges procurement leaders face is understanding that persuasion is a process. What seems obvious and urgent to procurement may seem less so to others who have different priorities. The panelists agreed that inspiring more CFOs to embrace the digital opportunity involved due diligence, a trove of data, a touch of marketing flair, and a healthy dose of patience thrown in for good measure.

IT-business partnership is the key to successful cloud adoption – Victor Tung – CIO, Corporate and International, BMO Group

The cloud is the future of IT, providing a more flexible, scalable and cost-transparent way of delivering technology to the business. While it’s not the dead simple, no-IT-needed, lower-cost delivery model many seem to think it is, neither is it something to be afraid of, writes Tung.

This is just the next step in the evolution of enterprise IT, similar to the move from mainframes to open systems. Now as then, IT and business leaders must partner to figure out how to use the new model successfully within the context of their business. That begins with sorting out why it is that a business unit wants to use cloud technology, and setting the right expectations.

One non-profit’s path to the cloud – Paul Tuxford – Head of Client Change, Transformation and Integration, Avaloq, and former CIO, The Global Fund

The Global Fund was formed in 2002 to fight the three major diseases of poverty affecting the developing world — AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

As a public-private partnership, it raises and invests $4 billion annually in 474 programs operating in over 100 countries. Over the past 10 years, the organization has distributed 600 million mosquito nets, tested and treated 15 million people for tuberculosis and currently keeps 8.6 million people alive by providing antiretroviral therapy for AIDS.

Over the last three years, the organization undertook an initiative to upgrade its technology infrastructure to meet its growing and changing needs. Practically, that meant transitioning infrastructure and applications to the cloud. Tuxford describes that transformation and recommends best practices for other organizations looking to do something similar.