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Coupa Success Portal

Top Procurement Challenges and Recommendations


Already using Coupa? Want to get the most out of your deployment? Check out some of these best-practice recommendations. There's a good chance you're not saving as much money as you could.

Have questions? Talk to your Coupa Success Manager to learn how you can implement some of the best practices listed below.

  • How do I drive supplier enablement?
  • How do I get more suppliers to accept electronic invoices?
  • How do I get more suppliers to accept electronic purchase orders?
  • How do I drive more spend on contract?
  • How do I improve spend transparency?
  • How can I avoid budgetary overspend?
  • How can I use Coupa to further cut opex?

Drive User Adoption

You bought Coupa, you implemented it, and you deployed it to your user community. Now what? The foundation of a successful deployment is high user adoption. It's critical to the success of any enterprise software roll-out that your employees actually use the new software. While Coupa's ease-of-use helps ensure high user option that's optimized, we recommend that you follow a few easy steps both with your initial roll-out and later into the deployment, to reinforce existing user behavior.

Here are some key tips for driving user adoption

  • Make Coupa the central hub for all matters associated with spend management:
    • Set up buying policies in Coupa to help your users understand your company's policies and ensure they request the right items and services.
    • Create web forms with embedded questionnaires for requisitions that require non-standard information, like business cards that include an employee's name, number, title and other specific info.
    • Incorporate more catalog items by leveraging Coupa's robust standard integrations and Coupa's hosted catalogs.
    • Leverage Coupa's open API's to integrate with other procurement or invoicing systems.
    • Upgrade Coupa support to Gold or Platinum to broaden coverage & expedite response times.
  • Encourage online ordering as a means for users to save time & gain productivity:
    • Train users to write free-form requests, if they can't find what they need in Coupa catalogs, even when they don’t know what supplier to buy it from. This saves them the run-around of having to identify and contact Procurement as the system will route the request to Procurement on their behalf.
    • Illustrate how users can save time by bundling items frequently ordered together into order lists. For example, if a new employee joins the company they can just select the appropriate order list which includes all relevant goods they need versus searching for each of them individually (new hire kits).
  • Deliver ongoing training and attentive support for everyday needs:
  • Proactively capture user feedback and engage them to champion S2P:
    • Appoint Coupa champions across divisions and get them Coupa-certified.
    • Invite users to participate in focus groups and Beta testing.
    • Prominently place Ask an Expert links within Coupa to encourage a constant feedback stream.
  • Measure adoption rates, and then act on good and bad performance:
    • Create usage dashboards within Coupa Analytics.
    • Share adoption KPIs widely.
    • Publicly reward power usage.
  • Mandate Coupa as the golden source for all procurement analytics:
    • Use Coupa Analytics to create multi-layered, drillable views.
    • Create a savings program to track your own performance over time.
    • Share ROI results broadly.

Drive Supplier Enablement

When it comes to your suppliers, you can't force them to change the way they do business. The transition to Coupa should be as smooth for them as it is for you. Our enablement experts will work with you and your most strategic suppliers to set up direct integration. Coupa makes it easy for you to enable ALL of your suppliers with quick-start alternatives.

  • Engage Coupa's expertise:
  • Prioritize your suppliers:
    • Your Implementation Manager works with you to prioritize suppliers based on invoice volume, PO volume, and spend.
    • If you have not prioritized your suppliers, the best practice would be to identify the suppliers that you send the most transactions to (both POs and Invoices) and start your enablement work there.

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  • Continuously collect supplier email addresses:
    • Save time while onboarding suppliers into Coupa, by kicking off a task force to capture and record as many supplier email addresses in advance. You can start this even before the implementation kickoff. We see many customers held up early on, due to missing accurate contact email addresses.
  • Encourage suppliers to join the Coupa Supplier Network by migrating existing catalogs into Coupa first:
    • By moving supplier catalogs into Coupa, we can influence supplier interest when orders come through by messaging “an order is awaiting your review on the portal… please register here to get it”.
  • Build the requirement to process invoices and purchase orders, via Coupa, into 3rd party provider agreements:
    • As part of your RFX criteria, specify that your company uses Coupa for e-Procurement and score each supplier on their agreement to adhere.
    • During a contract negotiation with the supplier, specify that the supplier will do business electronically with you via Coupa. This way, the supplier is able to start the enablement immediately after the contract is signed. For any contract renewals, do the same.
  • Educate your business champions & suppliers on key Coupa Differentiators
    • Train your buyers or any staff that has frequent contact with your suppliers on Supplier Enablement best practices.
    • Consider Supplier Enablement certification, so they become enablement experts.
    • Refer suppliers to the Supplier section of Coupa's Success Portal.
    • Send Supplier Communications to inform them on the system transition to Coupa and leverage talking points to provide instruction as needed.
    • If you are interested in outsourcing your Supplier Enablement Program or would like additional resources to drive your Supplier Enablement, consider using a Coupa Certified Partner for Supplier Enablement.

Drive Electronic Invoicing

There are obvious benefits with electronic invoicing. It saves you time and money. When you process your invoices more quickly, it also helps ensure that your suppliers get paid on time and any discrepancies get sorted out ASAP. Coupa offers several methods of electronic invoicing to make it as easy as possible for both you and your suppliers. Suppliers can submit electronic invoices in the following ways:

  • Using the completely FREE Coupa Supplier Network (CSN). They can flip PO's into invoices, submit contract-backed invoices, and even submit unbacked invoices if you give them permission. This is one of the fastest ways to get started and it's suitable for suppliers with a low to medium volume of PO's.
  • Tighter integration with your suppliers, such as cXML. This is suitable for suppliers with higher volumes of PO's.
  • EDI methods.
  • Supplier actionable emails, which enable suppliers to flip a PO into an invoice starting directly from the emailed PO. This is great for low-volume suppliers.

Coupa offers these options and more, to provide a wide range of flexibility to you and your suppliers, keeping the onboarding process as frictionless as possible.

Drive Electronic PO Transfer

Coupa offers several ways for suppliers to receive orders for suppliers of all sizes. Suppliers can:

  • View their open orders on the Coupa Supplier Network (CSN), for FREE.
  • Tighter integrations, such as cXML, allow suppliers to receive PO's directly from Coupa to their own systems. This is ideal for suppliers that deal with a higher volume of transactions. This is the obvious choice for suppliers with cXML punchout site support.
  • Emailed PO's, for other suppliers.

Drive On-Contract Spend

Have a good contract management strategy to guarantee you capitalize on the savings you already negotiated for?

Are you getting the right discounts?

Are you getting the best value out of preferred suppliers?

How do you measure and track off-contract spend?

Coupa provides you with key insights into these areas and helps ensure you can have a positive impact on your company's bottom line. Follow these steps to get going with Coupa Contracts:

  1. Highlight the benefits of contract utilization:
    • Ensure how your buyers and power users in Coupa understand how spend alerts and expiration date alerts should be used to trigger future sourcing events or manage internal consumption.
    • Educate your buyers on how to leverage contract intelligence to negotiate better deal terms with suppliers (examples: annual rebates, volume discounts, etc.).
    • Train Sourcing Managers on how to scrutinize sourcing and contract dashboards to identify off-contract activity or non-PO invoicing.
  2. Optimize system rules:
    • Enable invoicing directly against contracts, revising cXML specs to include contract numbers under Master Agreement references.
    • Configure approval chains, contract approvals, and validation rules.
  3. Leverage out-of-the-box reports and dashboards to track Contract Activity:
    1. Monitor on/off contract activity using out-of-the-box Dashboards or configure deeper analytics using Coupa Analytics.
    2. Track PO and invoice activity against each contract as it occurs.
  4. Use Coupa Alerts to make you aware of maverick spend activity in a timely manner:
    • Configure spend or contract event alerts via Coupa Contracts.
  5. Promptly engage sourcing:
    • Configure sourcing alerts to engage Sourcing professionals to manage off-contract spend or optimize existing contract terms.

Improve Spend Transparency

Spend transparency is all about knowing where your company money is going. Coupa makes this easy with our easy reporting tools, including the advanced Coupa Analytics module.

Check out these resources and helpful tips to further improve spend transparency and make your reporting life even easier:

  • Leverage the Purchasing Classification Engine to auto-classify spend based on keywords: For free-from requisitions, Coupa can automatically populate the commodity field, based on keywords that your users enter in the description. Coupa uses the purchasing classification engine to do it.
  • Mash-up internal & external data: Coupa Analytics' unique data mash-up capabilities let you combine internal and external data, like pricing trends, so you can make better informed decisions.
  • Create custom views: Give users at the right level/role the ability to create views and schedule reports to understand spend across the organization.
  • Download to Excel: Click once to download to Excel and export the data you need for additional insight. Or, use scheduled reports to have the results of your custom views sent to a select set of Coupa users.

Stay Within Budget!

Use Coupa's budgeting tools to make sure that everyone stays within budget. Budgets offer a great deal of insight into real-time spend against budget lines for a given period. Not only can budget owners see this right from their Coupa home page, they can be added right into the approval chain for transactions that go against their budgets. Depending on the amount of control your budget owners require, you can put them in the approval chain on all transactions, or just the ones that would go over the budget. Is going over the budget unacceptable? Not a problem, you can configure Coupa to enforce a hard stop on transactions that would exceed a budget line.

Read more about Coupa Budgets to learn exactly how to get them set up and get your team within budget!

Cut Operating Expenses

Use Coupa’s meaningful benchmark analysis, to learn from the experience of others and apply that learning to making more informed business transformation decisions. Enable users to be in-the-know and get fast responses to their questions using Coupa’s Ask an Expert feature. Instead of leaving users with unanswered questions, or answering the same question over and over again through an external helpdesk, that might be supporting your users, you can provide faster responses and also save time and money by directing them to Ask an Expert within Coupa.

  • Reference Coupa Benchmarks to identify areas for improvement:
    • With benchmark analysis, Coupa customers can quantify the savings they generate, and see how they stack up against other similar organizations for 18 different key performance indicators.
    • Follow best practice “ways to improve” for Requisition, Purchase Order and Invoice benchmarks.
  • Eliminate paper processing:
    • Issue PO’s electronically and set up suppliers to receive them electronically.
    • Ensure all suppliers are set up for electronic invoicing via their preferred method.
    • In early phases post go-live, connect to 3rd party scanning solutions as an add-on.
  • Automate matching processes:
    • Mandate suppliers to reference PO# and procurement contact on invoices.
    • Configure 2-3 way matching rules to ensure the goods/services being billed align with orders and receipts.
    • Define invoicing and receiving tolerances as well as approval routing rules to flag non-matching invoices and route them immediately for review and resolution.
    • Communicate matching policies to suppliers.
  • Improve Req-to-Pay cycle times:
    • Increase productivity and reduce cycle times by leveraging Coupa’s approval settings to remove unnecessary/redundant approval hierarchies, rationalize approval limits, and increase self approvals.
  • Offset operating expenses by securing early payment discounts:
    • You have streamlined and reduced invoice processing cycle time using electronic invoicing, approval flows, automated matching, and exception routing. Now you can take advantage of early payment discounts with your suppliers based on existing payment terms that are perhaps being left on the table. Leverage liquidity dashboards to highlight potential opportunities for early payment discounts.
    • The flexibility offered via numerous supplier invoice options and fast-to-no enablement needed are advantages that enable customers to switch from P-cards to electronic invoicing. Customers can offer suppliers early payment discount terms as a more attractive alternative to credit card percentage fees.
  • Enable AP/Finance/Ops personnel for mobility:
    • Enable users to approve directly from their mobile devices or right from email with no extra log-in steps.
  • Improve business agility with an FAQ knowledge base:
    • Use Ask an Expert to set up categories for your users to self-select and categorize their questions.
    • Set up Ask an Expert categories by functional area like purchasing, sourcing, expenses, etc., or by general categories like public vs. private questions.
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