Coupa CEO sees customers and community intelligence both on the rise

SUMMARY:

Spend management specialist Coupa is chalking up some impressive customer logos and getting some useful community data as it does so.

Rob Bernshteyn CEO Coupa on stage Inspire17 370px by @philww
Rob Bernshteyn, Coupa

Coupa just turned in a very strong quarter with narrower-than-expected losses, higher-than-expected revenues and the addition of some impressive enterprise logos to the client list.

The company posted revenue of $44.6 million, up 43% year-on-year, while GAAP net loss was $13.7 million. For the full fiscal year, the company now expects revenue to come in at around $177 million to $179 million. It’s all to play for, argues CEO Rob Bernshteyn:

The spend management market is massive, and we’ve only just begun to address it. As part of this, we’ve asked ourselves, ‘What is the vision we ascribe to, which gives us confidence that we will win this market and that keeps us on the right path, and our efforts to do so?’.

The answer to that is a nifty acronym – C-O-U-P-A: Comprehensive, Open, User-Centric, Prescriptive, and Accelerated. These five “vision areas” are what shape current and future strategy, says Bernshteyn:

Along with keeping our core values top of mind every day we continually explore, test, and execute on these vision areas. Most importantly, we do so in the framework of real business activities. For example, how is this particular new feature enhancing or detracting from user-centricity? Are we accelerating our customer’s path to increase profitability by suggesting that this new business flow is best practice and they should be using it?

We find the C-O-U-P-A vision components to be an effective tool for execution. But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is creating enormous value for our customers and making them hugely successful, the rest will follow-up; that I can tell you.

Customers and community

That said, Bernshteyn is able to point to some impressive additions to the Coupa cusotmer base, such as Unilever – a big SAP customer – and Glencore:

Unilever, a Fortune 500 company and household name with 2.45 billion customers replaced [a] legacy system by selecting Coupa Source-to-Order. Their decision was primarily based on Coupa’s user-centricity, functional fit, ability to integrate seamlessly with other software platforms, and value-driven business case; some of the foundational vision areas that make up C-O-U-P-A.

Glencore, one of the world’s largest global diversified natural resource companies selected Coupa mainly also due to our user-centricity, robot functionality, and our ability to accommodate a global platform rollout in an accelerated and highly effective manner.

The expanding customer numbers also provides an opportunity to tap into increaing levels of data and analytics in support of what Bernshteyn calls “community intelligence”. He explains:

One of the incredible outcomes of having hundreds of billions of dollars in transactional spend and accelerating is the power of community intelligence that we are now beginning to bring to the marketplace. [This is] the ability to look across all the data sets in real-time and provide insight to each individual customers. I liken it to the way many of us use ways to navigate through traffic using community intelligence to do the most optimal thing as it pertains to spend, and we are in the very early innings of that.

He adds:

When we can begin to apply the intelligence of that dataset from across the entire Coupa collective to the needs of each individual customer, it becomes a very, very impactful platform. Obviously, it then attracts suppliers. We have more than three million suppliers that we’re helping our buyers transact with. Obviously, it attracts buyers because they see the value being created. And obviously, it helps our business grow because we are being paid fairly in the middle. But we see it as a way to do something that really hasn’t been done before. The data, both in our financials and in the spend metric, are good examples or sort of symptoms of how that’s progressing.

My take

A good warm-up for the Inspire London 17 conference next month at which the firm will annouce general availabilty of R19 of its offering. Coupa remains one of the enterprise cloud businesses to keep a close eye on. Given the multi-billion dollar potential market it focuses on, this is still early days with a lot of opportunities – and competiton – to come.

Image credit - Coupa

Disclosure - At time of writing, Coupa and SAP are premier partners of diginomica.

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