Company Challenges Government Agencies to Practice Smarter Spending

Posted on August 6, 2009


08.04.2009 – San Mateo, CA – Coupa Software, developer of an on-demand e-procurement application for smarter spending, announced today that federal, state and local government agencies are invited to use Coupa e-Procurement free of charge for six months to rein in spending and establish control over inefficient procurement practices.

“When you look at the budgetary and funding challenges facing government agencies, it’s easy to become discouraged by the enormity of the problem,” said Rob Bernshteyn, CEO of Coupa Software. “But these are problems that can be remedied, and Coupa is offering to be part of the solution. With our Six Months to Smarter Spending initiative, Coupa is reaching out at the grassroots level directly to the agencies themselves – and offering a helping hand.”

Lately I have been contacted by an increasing number of executives from software companies to government agencies to corporations asking my opinion on where the market is headed and what it means to their particular organization.

Someone once told me that opinions are like . . . everyone has one, so when I was first contacted by a Coupa senior executive asking me for my opinion regarding the above news release I was happy to provide it.  My initial reaction to the six month free of charge program, is that “the concept is excellent, but you will want to frame it so that there is no other way to view it other than representing a convergence of Coupa’s passion to drive value, technological strength and financial will.  Specifically a pay it forward mindset that is reflective of the emerging SaaS world value proposition, which focuses on delivering value to the client first and then getting paid a fair price based on results.”

Unfortunately, and for those who are not as familiar with how truly remarkable SaaS solutions are in terms of the technological breakthrough they represent,  the tendency might be to view this latest Coupa initiative in the same way they would view for example, the “test drive” concept.   That is an “empty calorie” promotion with little in the way of the touted relational substance that is necessary for success.

After all, taking the painstakingly long and winding road journey of JAD sessions and consultant engagements in which processes are mapped and supposedly well understood has produced exceptional results . . . or perhaps not.  With 85 percent of all supply chain initiatives in both the private and public sectors failing to achieve the anticipated results after lengthy “dating” periods in which copious amounts of time and money are spent only to be left at the altar of unfulfilled savings expectations, perhaps a new track needs to be pursued.

Based on extensive research and practical experience, SaaS-based solutions are ideally suited to both test drives, as well as a “try it first” approach that is not available with the heavy-laden, task-oriented equation-based applications of the traditional licensing world.

Now this isn’t implying that expertise and process understanding are not critical linchpins of a sound e-procurement strategy.  Quite the contrary, as they have and will continue to be key elements of an adaptive solution.  The main difference is one of responsibility and the means by which functional requirements are incorporated into an application, and ultimately introduced at the real-world operational level.

With solutions such as the one provided under this initiative, the heavy lifting associated with properly aligning platform capabilities with operational requirements to achieve tangible and sustainable savings is part of the inherent and intuitive characteristics of both the provider and its technology.  In essence, SaaS technology adapts to the way the user operates versus traditional applications that force the user to adapt to the technology.  This of course is where IT or ERP-centric traditionalists have difficulty in grasping a Coupa-type solution and approach.  The belief that it’s just too easy, so it can’t be effective seems to be a stumbling block.

Once again, and in a rapidly changing world where traditional approaches centered on lengthy periods of getting to know “each other” have produced limited results at best, perhaps it is time to consider the possibility that there may very well be a better way.

I am certain that organizations like Kings County, the City of Houston, Maytag, Hershey and the Veterans Health Administration to name just a few, who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to come away with little more than the proverbial piece of coal in their collective stockings, might also be inclined to agree with this assessment.

In the meantime, join me on August 12th as I welcome Coupa’s CEO Rob Bernshtyn to review the program in greater detail, including the reasoning behind its creation as well as what Coupa hopes to achieve by its introduction.

Use the following PI Window on Business On-Demand Player to access the August 12th broadcast:

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