Now that the dust has well and truly settled on Coupa Inspire I have the following observations. I have given countless summaries of the day to the many eager people back at base; from Coupa Consultants in the UK to our OPS team and delivery people in Cluj and to the various managers within our business, all keen to know how it went.
That in itself is my first observation. I have never had so many people within Xoomworks so tuned into the day and so keen to know how it went. Coupa is a key part of our business and recognised as an important part of our expansion plans and it is so great to have so many people bought into this and wanting to know how the relationship is developing.
The main points of my feedback to all these many people goes something like this:
1. Developments to get excited about
Unlike many events I have attended with other software companies where the whooping seems to be forced on people, with Inspire there was significant substance to their ongoing system development with some brilliant, status quo challenging, solutions in the pipeline, particularly the advances in electronic invoicing and innovative add ons to the expenses module. All were showcased with utter precision by Raja Hammoud, VP Product Marketing & Management. At one stage our head of business development was tempted to text a few of his previous employers and suggest to them they give up now!
2. The management team from Coupa are top drawer
The presentations from Rob Bernshteyn, and Alex Kleiner showed a clear sense of leadership, not just of their team but of the whole procurement marketplace. And this extended to the many other Coupa team members we all spoke to during the day. In Europe they are growing rapidly but they don’t seem to be rushing to hire just anybody – they are clearly hiring well with some great people at all levels. We are working with many of them on a day to day basis and we know that this show of professionalism is not just skin deep.
3. The Coupa Advantage program is a real game changer
They have been working on it in the US and are now starting to roll out globally. For me it is a real game changer for those of us in the Enterprise market. To be able to offer ready-made content from day one at negotiated rates fit for the largest organisations supplied from the largest suppliers is a fabulous initiative. We have been discussing this at Xoomworks for several years but recognised that we did not have the reach to achieve what they are trying to create. And then adding in a charity donation element to this is a master stroke. In his key note speech Rob Bernhshteyn challenged the audience to write to him suggesting worthy charities in Europe. I did write to him the following day and by the weekend my suggested charity’s bank account was already holding a substantial donation from Coupa – that is “putting money where your mouth is”. Thank you again.
4. Blowing our own trumpet a little
Our stand was much like everyone else’s stand – a table, a table cloth and a banner – but the list of our Coupa clients listed on our banner compared to others really showed what a great partnership we have with Coupa and the wonderfully diverse experience we now have with implementing their solution. Given that Coupa is rightly obsessed with measurable customer success and they recognise that with a SaaS solution the key to recurring revenue is to show quantifiable savings year on year, then it is great that they place so much trust in our ability to unlock this for our joint customers. It felt like we were the third year students at fresher’s week, it felt great to be part of Xoomworks.
5. Breakout sessions
I have to acknowledge the great breakout session delivered by our client, Patti Wilson from Swiss Re and our senior solutions consultant, Kelly Lewis. It is a really interesting story of how they have created a global template that they have then trialled in one location before embarking on the global master plan (see highlights of session here). I sometimes get a little distant from the delivery side of things these days so it was fun to carry out the initial interviews with Patti as we developed the themes of the presentation and she chatted about her challenges and how they are getting on. It has been a while since the first roll out, which we supported, so hearing how things are continuing to progresses is great. From the standing room only audience with lots of nodding heads, it seemed to hit the spot as an informative session for all.
6. Open, collaborative atmosphere
Last observation was the atmosphere in all the rooms throughout the whole day. The openness of all the attendees to mingle and enjoy each other’s company – it is rare, I feel, at events like these to create such an atmosphere; that secret ingredient that releases that natural Britishness to just stand in a corner and talk to the one person you know! We had so many great and open conversations with Coupa, prospects, clients and other partners. Not sure what the catalyst was that sparked this openness but it worked.
So a truly fabulous day – I can’t wait for 12th October 2016 for the next European Inspire in London.