Last week, I joined Coupa’s Inspire event in Las Vegas with my colleagues Jeffrey and George. It was Coupa’s 10th Inspire event and the first big public event since it was acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo. A constant messaging that we saw throughout the event was around Coupa’s comprehensive and open platform approach. Besides being able to see guest speaker and NBA legend Magic Johnson in person, we found a few product and strategy updates that were interesting and unique:
- Accounts-payable invoice automation. One highlight of Coupa’s go-to-market strategy is that it aims to focus beyond procurement function to the CFO office. We also found some similar strategic shifts to focus more on the CFO functions of Coupa’s competitors. During the economic downturn and resulting uncertainty, the CFO office will take more leadership and responsibility to guide the organization through the crisis by securing healthy cash flow, liquidity, and operating efficiency. As a key congestion point between procurement and CFO functions, accounts-payable (AP) invoice automation will become a key competition area for providers to gain the trust of the CFO office. Forrester’s research indicates that e-invoicing compliance, advanced AI capabilities, and digital B2B payments integration are the three differentiating factors in AP invoice automation.
- B2B payments. Coupa Pay is unique. It is neither a payment acquirer or processor nor a bank or card network. Coupa does not touch payments directly but has shaped its vision to be a payment connector and orchestrator since day one. It aims to build an open B2B payment platform by leveraging new payment technologies such as virtual cards and APIs to connect the dots of multiple disconnected systems, such as ERP, procurement, and digital banking systems, in the B2B payment journey. This aligns well with Forrester’s B2B payments research that has found that, in the B2B payments space, the disconnected system is the primary pain point and that integration and interoperability are the top priorities. At the event, Coupa also announced the expansion of its payment product portfolio into treasury and working capital spaces to connect more silos in the CFO office.
- Sourcing and supply chain. We discussed CXO concerns about supply chain risk and the significance of Coupa’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts. We learned about Coupa’s work with CFOs to improve supplier value management, manage sourcing risk, and reconfigure collaborative supply networks for greater resilience, and in terms of sourcing and supply chain, we could see the strengths of Coupa’s domain-specific innovation via its Community.ai offering, together with its customer advisory board for product co-innovation.
To learn more about AP invoice automation, B2B payments, digital procurement, supplier value management, and collaborative supply networks, Forrester clients can read Forrester’s relevant reports (see the below links) or request a guidance session or inquiry.