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Coupa is a company of talkers, passionate about sharing tips, tricks and advice for improving finance and procurement and saving companies of all sizes time and money. But we’re not the only people with opinions and ideas. We’d love to hear from you so join the conversation!
- May 10, 2017
- Sanket Naik
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In the world of technology, there is a long history of sharing information, best practices and code. In the 1950s and 60s, universities were early adopters of computers, and in keeping with the academic principle of sharing knowledge freely, they shared with each other what we today call hacks—tips and tricks to help each other modify the operating system to bend these new machines to their will.
This spirit of sharing has persisted over decades, despite the efforts of the big commercial software companies to squash it. Since the 1990s, the release of major new programming languages in the form of open source has become the norm, and the vast majority of programming languages in use today have a free version.
The industry today is built in no small part on this shared knowledge. It is in that spirit of sharing that today we launch the Coupa tech blog. We are aware that we stand on the shoulders of giants, and we also feel like we have a little bit of knowledge to contribute to the industry.
When I came to Coupa, the company had literally just moved out of a garage to the Amazon cloud. At that time, no one was really looking at the cloud on a large scale except for Salesforce. The on-premise software versus Software-as-a-Service conversation was just getting started. People were still of a mind to keep their data in their data centers.
In sales cycles, we had to pitch Amazon pretty hard, especially with regard to security and scalability. Most prospects wanted to know when we were going to move off of Amazon into our own data center, because it was considered a good resource for small development shops, but not large enterprises. It was assumed that as you matured, you would move into your own data centers, like Zynga did.
That never made sense to us. Amazon was innovating faster than we could have. Whenever we did a total cost of ownership analysis, it actually worked out the same or cheaper, because it's not just the service that you’re getting, but the labor, the automation and the governance behind it.
Today we are hosting a global enterprise financial software business on Amazon, running a huge volume of transactions in six regions across the world. So we know a little bit about that, and global security and compliance.
Nowadays we don’t have to sell it so hard; we’re seeing customers who have already fully vetted Amazon and are comfortable with it. It helps that other big enterprise software companies such as Workday are moving out of their private data centers to Amazon. Today you’re more likely to be asked, “why aren’t you on Amazon (or Azure or Google Cloud Engine)?”
Another thing that’s become more mainstream since we started: Ruby on Rails, the open source language we use for development. Back when we started, Twitter was the only company of note using Ruby. At one point they had had a big outage with their messaging system, which was blamed on Ruby on Rails.
That made the road to proving its viability tougher, but there was a big community around it and David Williams, who's our VP of technology, believed strongly that this technology platform would help us scale as a company. So, we’ve been part of the rise of Ruby in the cloud.
We’d like to use this space to connect with developers and engineers to share the knowledge about tools and technology that we’ve acquired through these experiences, whether that’s exploring tech trends, providing tips on how to write code or prototypes for a new technology, or how to do specific integrations, or explaining the technical details of how we do updates at Coupa.
Eventually, we hope to build a technical community of developers, engineers, and architects around Coupa, similar to those that Workday and Salesforce and other big tech companies have. We see this blog as a step in that direction.
We believe the adage that "none of us is smarter than all of us." We’ve benefitted on our journey from the knowledge and expertise shared in tech forums, meetups, workshops and blogs over the years, and we’d like to contribute back, in the tradition of learning from each other and exchanging ideas that has always helped the industry move forward.
Even though we have learned a lot, there's a long way to go and we're always open to conversation in the form of comments and guest posts.
Our team is eager to share with you. Please stay tuned.