Artificial Intelligence, Fintech, Robotic Process Automation: Top 10 posts of 2017

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Artificial intelligence, Fintech and robotic process automation were among the top business news trends of 2017. Not surprisingly, posts on those topics also topped the list of our most read and shared blog posts of the year. Contributions on technology innovation in travel and expense management, and best practices for executing a P2P transformation also drew the interest of our readers. Here are our top ten most popular posts of 2017 – just in case you missed one or two:

Artificial intelligence comes to spend management
What happens when a mathematician falls down a rabbit hole into the world of sourcing and procurement? Artificial intelligence (AI) comes to spend management, that’s what.

Paddy Lawton, the aforementioned mathematician and General Manager of Coupa Spend Analytics, tells the story of how a foray into building a reverse auction tool introduced him to the problem of classifying indirect spending. He realized it was a perfect problem to solve with machine learning. With the amount of available data exploding, and compute power becoming cheaper and more accessible, it was entirely doable. He and his team spent six years teaching a machine to classify spending data, solving one of the most vexing problems in procurement.

Robotic process automation 101
Robotic process automation is the next layer of business process automation and digitization. The first level of digitization is ERP. After that come point software solutions to address specific processes outside the ERP. At the third level are APIs, which do data transfer between systems. But, even with those three layers in place, some manual processes remain. This where RPA, the fourth layer, comes in. Todd Dooley of our Executive Advisory Board explains what organizations need to know about when and where to use RPA, and how to get started.

How Fintech is reinventing B2B payments
Though checks are dying in the consumer world, most U.S. companies are still making about 50 percent of their payments by check. Why?

Electronic payments as we’ve known them for the past few decades are only partially electronic. The irony is that in moving some payments to card and ACH, AP departments have reduced some costs and inefficiencies, while at the same time introducing new ones. Now they have to contend with three separate payment workflows—four if you count wire transfers.

To solve this problem, earlier this year, we announced Coupa Payments powered by Nvoicepay. Nvoicepay CEO Karla Friede explains how they are reinventing B2B payments by making it possible to make card, ACH, check, and even cross-border payments in a single, fully automated process.

Riding the third wave of travel and expense management innovation
Innovation in solutions to help employees manage their travel-related expenses has accelerated in the last five years. Never have organizations of all sizes had so many options to choose from, and there is even more to come, says Sunny Manivannan, Vice President, Product and Segment Marketing at Coupa. We are sitting on the cusp of the third wave of technology innovation, a wave that will transform the industry to the point where our kids and our grandkids will not even understand what “doing your expenses” means.

A star is reborn: Mobile expenses app makeover Five years ago, there was nothing hotter in enterprise software than mobile apps. Five years is also an eternity in today’s fast-moving tech world, and mobile design standards and best practices have changed dramatically. So, as we considered new feature requests for the next release of our mobile expenses app, we decided it was time to give it a complete makeover. Ethan Laub, Director of Product Management for Coupa Expenses, takes us behind the scenes to see how customer requests, and platform usage data, guided the makeover.

The battle tested CPO guide to a successful P2P transformation
Building out a procurement function where one didn’t previously exist, or where the function never took hold for one reason or another, can be a career opportunity. It’s also a daunting task. Veteran CPO Greg Tennyson, who has been through this process three times, shares his comprehensive checklist for success. If you’re wondering what to do and where to begin, this will give you the jump start you need.

The no mouse left behind guide to change management
Stacey Taylor loves change. She’s spent most of her career in change agent roles, including her current role as SVP & Chief Procurement Officer at MGM Resorts International. She’s come to realize that most people don’t love change quite so much. However, there are ways to make even the most change resistant people comfortable while you’re “moving their cheese.” In fact, listening to their concerns can help you identify and plan for pitfalls and roadblocks you may have overlooked. That will ultimately help improve your project while also winning hearts and minds of your stakeholders.

E-invoicing: Why aren’t we there yet?
Back in 2000, an optimistic analyst named Michael Killen projected that by 2002, e-invoicing would be widely adopted, and 80 percent of all invoices in the world would be submitted electronically, because it's such a logical thing to do. No one, he proclaimed, would send paper anymore. Of course, here we are in 2017 and we’re nowhere near those kinds of numbers.

So why aren’t we there yet? In a word: people, says Markus Hornburg, Vice President, Global Product Compliance at Coupa. This is a big change management initiative that many organizations remain unwilling to undertake, regardless of their size. However, there are some new factors driving e-invoicing forward, and we may get there yet.

The mechanic’s guide to creating a great place to work
How do you make your company a great place to work? It’s a question our CEO, Rob Bernshteyn, gets all the time, and even more now that Coupa has been named a great place to work. Rob shares what he thinks has worked as Coupa has grown from nine employees to 900. He also shares where his inspiration comes from: an auto repair shop in Brooklyn that he happened on by chance nearly 20 years ago.

C-O-U-P-A: Our vision
Every company faces the fundamental and ongoing challenge of clearly and effectively communicating their vision and their unique value, both to the marketplace and internally. 

How do you help people make sense of what you’ve done, what you're doing now, and what you plan to do going forward? How do you get everybody in the organization aligned around your vision? How do you get prospects and customers to understand your differentiators? How do you make it interesting, compelling and memorable? How do you do it in a way that stands the test of time, and that encompasses who you are now but doesn’t restrict you as you grow?

Our CEO Rob Bernshteyn has thought about these questions a lot, and hit upon an easy way mnemonic for remembering and communicating the answers, using the letters C-O-U-P-A.