Recently I spoke with Coupa Software, a provider of what they call cloud spend management (CSM) solutions. Basically CSM is a combination of e-procurement and expense management capabilities. They seek to automate the purchasing process for mid-market companies in the $100mill to $1bill turnover bracket. They seek to consolidate all non-payroll expenditure into one place giving visibility into allover organization spending. Coupa was founded in 2006 is built on Ruby on rails, deployed on Amazon and is running the expense management for around 140 customers.

It seems an interesting space and I was interested to ask their VP of Marketing, Jason Hekl, how a third party solution could hope to compete with more integrated offerings from the likes of NetSuite and SAP. Expenditure is, after all, a central part of the ERP task set, surely a tool that is designed to manage these processes should at least be fully integrated with these offering and ideally a core part of them? Hekl explained to me that a number of Coupa customers actually use it as a standalone product, happy to have a product that focuses on one area only rather than trying to be all things to all people.

In terms of what Coupa actually does, here is a list of functional areas:

Coupa e-Procurement is a full procure-to-pay platform that is easy to use, fast to deploy, affordably priced, and simple to maintain.  Coupa e-Procurement includes requisitions, purchase orders, approvals management, RFQs and Quotes, Budgeting, Receiving and Inventory, Invoicing and Reporting and Dashboards.

Coupa Expense Management is a complete expense management platform that makes it easy for employees to electronically manage receipts, file expense reports and get the appropriate approvals for purchases outside of the procurement process. With intelligent scoring and prioritized auditing, accounting is able to quickly identify high risk reports that require further attention. Coupa Expense Management includes receipt management, pre-approved purchases, expense reporting and prioritized auditing.

In terms of pricing, this varies by size of organization and number of users, but typically starts at around $12K USD per year. Standard implementations are included free.

Given the breadth of the functionality it’s not difficult to see how some customers are using Coupa as a standalone product – it really does seem to offer end-to-end coverage for expenditure management and oversight.

Coupa released an update today with some impressive results. Some highlights:

  • A 96% renewal rate form existing customers
  • 20% of revenue coming from expansion within existing customers
  • Spend through Coupa has expanded 311% year on year
  • Q2 bookings are up 520% on last year

I was interested to see that Coupa recently released a report that it created using aggregated and anonymized data from organizations using their platform (one of the real benefits that a cloud based software offering brings). Key findings from Q1 compared with the same customer set from Q1 2009 were:

  • Spending up: Median spend increased 5.03%;
  • Time saved on purchase cycles: Average purchase request approval cycle time dropped from 19.4 hours to 17.1 hours;
  • Categories showing increasing spending: Telco & Internet Services, Technology Services and MRO & Manufacturing exhibited greatest increases;
  • Categories showing decreasing spending: IT Hardware, Marketing Services and Transportation Services were the biggest losers;
  • Payment terms held steady: Virtually no change in average payment terms, from 31.87 days to 31.79 days.



  • Ben Kepes

    Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.