Carefully consider what is really necessary when making a field required.
This afternoon at lunch, I went to get my favorite drink out of the dispenser. They have this new machine where all you have to do is press the button of the soft drink you want and it will dispense to your cup. There are endless possibilities, you can add lime, cherry, or even vanilla to all of your favorite drinks. However, during the entire process of selecting my drink and it actually dispensing to my cup, I counted 7 different buttons I had to click in order to get my regular diet soda. 7 clicks to get a drink is way too many.
Website designers, and especially commerce sites like Amazon, pay careful consideration to the number of clicks you have to press in order to get an item into a shopping cart. They know that the fewer clicks-to-submission that you have, the more likely you are to purchase all the items in your shopping cart. Amazon even has a “1-Click Checkout" option that saves all of your information and you only have to press one button.
Why do we expect to have an easy shopping experience on our home computer, but we don’t expect it when we buy something for work?
Take a moment and create a test cart in your Coupa instance and count how many things you have to enter manually before you can submit your requisition. Trust me, your users hate filling in boxes. How about at the line level, do you have something required that makes them click every line? Users hate that more than anything!
How can we reduce the amount of clicks it takes to submit a requisition?
The answer is twofold. Default as much as you can so that the fields automatically populate and update based upon who is ordering and what they are ordering. The other way is to reduce the amount of required fields at the Requisition Header and Line level.
Let’s speak to the first suggestion, defaulting fields based upon who is ordering and what they are ordering.
As an admin, you have the ability to default the Department, Shipping Address, Account Code, and any custom field on the requisition, to automatically populate with information from the users’ profile. The user shouldn’t have to select this information because you have already filled the fields in by default for them.
How about the Justification or “Business Purpose” field? This is actually where I advocate making a field required. In a lot of companies where I see a long average approval time, I also find that this field is not required. I believe there is a direct correlation between requiring this field and getting your approvers to approve quickly. When interviewed, managers with longer than usual approval times find that they didn’t have enough information to approve or reject a requisition. If they only knew why the requestor was submitting the requisition they could have approved it much quicker. I strongly advise making this a required field and training your users that completing this field shouldn’t be considered a burden, but a help to the approvers later in the approval chain.
At the Requisition Line level you have the ability to make any of the below fields required, but before you do, please think through your business process.
The number one field I see that is required is “Need By” date. Customers want their users to communicate when they actually need this item or service. However, most suppliers never look at this field. Regardless of what is entered in the “Need By” date, if your supplier has it in stock they are going to deliver as soon as they can. One major supplier, upon electronically receiving a PO, has the item on the truck within 15 minutes. And they never once looked at when the user needed this item.
Making anything required on the item level, and not automatically populating that field, is adding unnecessary clicks before a user can submit the requisition. If you have just two required fields that are not automatically populated and your user submits a requisition with 20+ line items, you just added 40 clicks to the user's process.
If your business process requires a field to be filled at the line level, please make sure your users know about this feature: Clicking the box beside Cat Items to select all line items, and then pressing Edit Selected. This allows them to edit all requisition lines with the same data.
How about the account code? Do you make your users select it every time they submit a cart? Have you defaulted their account code at their user record? Have the users selected their own default account code from their “My Account” settings?
The account code is the single most important piece of information on the requisition line. What account on your General Ledger will be deducted the amount of this requisition. Wars have been waged for lesser offenses than charging the wrong account code! How do we make it effortless for the user? By not making them select it in the first place. Yes, we’ll give them the option to change it, but we want the cart to be smart enough to pull the right account code based on the user’s information and the information for that line item.
Your Coupa Instance has the ability to default to a specific segment based upon the information on the user's record or even the commodity of the line item. This is controlled from the Chart of Accounts page which allows you to default certain segments based off of different information. If you need help with this, please contact your TAM to review the process of defaulting your account codes.
Submission Blocking and Specific Fields
Most of you will review your clicks to submission count and find that you only really want specific information if the conditions are right. For example, you may have a custom field on your Requisition Line for a Services “Start” and “End” date. However, you don’t want to make that field required, unless the commodity in the cart falls under a “Service” commodity. In that case, we would create an Approval Chain with the “Submission Blocking” feature, that prevents a Service commodity from being submitted, unless the Service Start and Service End Date are not filled in.
- Be aware of the number of clicks you require your users to press before being able to submit a cart. The fewer clicks, the more likely you are to increase user adoption.
- Default as many of the requisition fields as you can from the Users’ record. (Department, Account Code, etc…)
- Default the Chart of Accounts to select the account code based upon the users’ information and the information of the items added to the cart.
- Instead of making all items required, use “Submission Blocking” requisition approval chains to ensure fields are entered based upon the conditions you have selected.
- If you need any Half-time Adjustments contact your Solutions Manager or if you don’t have a Solutions Manager contact your CSM to talk about the Solutions Management program.