It’s Time to Evolve Back-Office Operations

Anthony Tate
Anthony Tate
Director, Product Marketing, EMEA at Coupa

Anthony Tate is Director, Product Marketing, EMEA at Coupa. He is passionate about tech, in particular the role of people, process and technology in organisational strategy and how to successfully drive digital transformation. Anthony holds an M.A. (Dist) in Marketing Communications and a B.A.(Hons) in Commercial Studies from the University of Westminster, and he current resides in London, England.

Read time: 6 mins
It’s Time to Evolve Back-Office Operations

We all know that the back office provides critical administrative and logistical support that allows front-office staff to do their jobs. Yet many enterprises have for years recognized that their back-office operations and technology systems aren’t keeping up with front-office requirements, with siloed internal processes most often the biggest obstacle.

You can't provide a great customer experience if your back office is rigid and inflexible

While for years the focus of most enterprise technology initiatives has been on the front office, the time has come to focus efforts on the back office. Evolving the back office delivers compelling benefits including improved employee experiences, real-time business insights, continuous innovation, and unleashing capacity to drive long-term strategic initiatives.

Take ownership of today’s macro-economic challenges and become a prominent leader

Business Spend Management (BSM) provides a clear picture of costs that CIOs and other IT leaders can leverage to persuade the C-suite and steer the business successfully. And they can do it based on spend data, not guesswork. And with that power, IT leaders can enhance their brand by evolving their organization’s tech stack to deliver increased value across the enterprise while simplifying the IT environment and reducing risk.

Get insights on how to align your initiatives with the CEO’s digital agenda by listening to Mickey North Rizza, VP of Enterprise Applications Research at IDC.

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BSM gives IT leaders the data and answers they need to constructively engage with CFOs, including the type of hard data CFOs are looking for to justify and support new technology deployments. Armed with the right level of financial literacy and intelligence, IT leaders can confidently impress and persuade the CFO.

IT leaders must collaborate at the highest level to succeed with back-office initiatives

Yet to pull this off, IT leaders are called upon to effectively collaborate with teams and leaders across the enterprise, including, most importantly, with their organization’s CFO and CPO. Food for thought:

  • When was the last time you had coffee with your CFO? 
  • Do you have the tools in place to answer your CFO’s questions? 
  • How are you ensuring that your tech stack isn’t inflated for the business needs?
  • Why not have all tools that touch spend, along with shadow IT, part of one platform?
  • How are you managing costs and IT spend today?

The tech you need for making a lasting impact

For IT leaders tasked with evolving back-office operations, it pays to have data-driven answers. The same way ERP and CRM revolutionized data for the back office and front office, Business Spend Management is uniting companies’ revenue and spend data across silos.

BSM is a comprehensive approach (and software category) for managing all the ways the company and its employees spend money — through procurement, invoicing, expenses, and payments — as well as the related processes that initiate, control, and optimize this spend. BSM offers a way to optimize all spend-related operations across business units, meet ESG initiatives, improve resiliency, and to finally answer the question, “Are we paying too much for this?”

In a world determined to move to the cloud, BSM provides a holistic cloud-native platform that breaks down enterprise spend silos and enables the entire company to effectively manage, track and analyze their company’s (or their department’s, or team’s) spend. Coupa is to BSM what Workday and Salesforce are to HCM and CRM.

Leading Companies Use Coupa for BSM
Leading companies use Coupa for BSM

Evolve your back-office tech with a smart evolution

Today, budgets are in flux. Operations are in limbo. Some of yesterday’s long-planned investments are now out of the question, and there’s a greater need to curtail spending and risk. Yet IT leaders are finding it difficult to know what their organization truly spends money on across its many siloed business units and departments.

The financial story of how an organization purchases its raw materials, supplies, technology, and services often requires a detective to piece together. The same goes for an organization’s risk profile. The primary components are fragmented across dozens of core systems and workflows, as well as thousands of suppliers. Lurking within all this dispersed data, for example, is a glut of wasteful licenses and shelfware waiting to be clipped, as well as partners with worrisome security practices waiting to be flagged. Other departments and teams have a similar opportunity.

It’s time for IT leaders to unite all these disparate systems and data sets and provide the entire enterprise — including their own IT teams — with full visibility into and effective control over all spend activities.

Coupa’s BSM platform gives you the tools needed to cut waste and satisfy your CFO

Coupa covers every aspect of a company’s spend, spanning AP, supply chain, treasury, contract management, expenses, supply chain, contingent labor, etc. This comprehensive visibility — combined with Coupa’s community intelligence and customized prescriptive recommendations — provides the tools you need to cut waste, stop leakage, and reduce risks.

Discover 6 truths about Business Spend Management technology by reading our white paper for IT leaders evaluating procurement platforms.

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Part of what makes BSM its own category — as opposed to a collection of point solutions — is the value it generates in sharing data across business processes. Just as CRM makes customer data available to marketing, support, and product teams, BSM makes clear and prescient spend data available to all. This data is shared across all business units and end users, so everyone in the organization can easily see, understand, and respond to how the money flows, including being able to identify places money shouldn’t be flowing and stopping it.

Coupa is easy to implement and integrate

Coupa’s open, cloud-native platform makes integration simple, and the platform has a very low maintenance burden. For example, one enterprise has 15 FTEs to manage the organization’s CRM implementation, but requires only one FTE to maintain and enhance Coupa.

Coupa also has a spectacular adoption rate by end users. Why? Because the unified system’s UI is truly simple and easy to use from day one by every employee. Compare that to a dismal adoption rate by enterprises that try to use their ERP system for spend management.

Coupa’s unique and free community intelligence service

Coupa’s community intelligence uniquely provides a rare peek into the spending patterns of your peers. For over a decade, Coupa has been safely gathering anonymized and normalized data on how businesses spend. With nearly $2.5 trillion of spend on the platform, Coupa uses this community intelligence to benchmark your enterprise spend against similar organizations, highlighting the areas for you to best focus improvement efforts on.

This free and unique-to-Coupa service offers valuable benchmarks and AI-driven, prescriptive advice to Coupa users on how to fine tune their operations for higher efficiencies and to save costs, delivering trackable bottom-line savings. For IT purchasers, to give one example, it makes buying 5,000 new laptops that are trustworthy and at the best price available a breeze.

Coupa BSM powers smart back-office evolution

BSM is the software category that organizations will be thanking themselves for one year from now. There aren’t many categories — including ERP, CRM, HCM — that can say the same. And the BSM-driven increase in financial efficiency can offset other high-priority, strategic projects.