Interested in Business Spend Management? Coupa’s Looking for ISVs

The software vendor on Monday launched its own App Marketplace. Find out what makes it different.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

August 16, 2021

4 Min Read
Business spend management word cloud

ISVs specializing in, or wanting to get into, business spend management have a new option.

Coupa Software on Monday launched its own App Marketplace.

It’s a bit different from the marketplaces with which the indirect channel is already familiar — think AWS Marketplace, Ingram Micro Cloud, Pax8.


Coupa’s Nigel Pegg

“We’re a lot more specific in domain,” Nigel Pegg, vice president and general manager at CoupaLink Technology Ecosystem, told Channel Futures.

Coupa targets business spend management — the outflow of money and associated processes — rather than a swath of IT capabilities. Think of it as a cloud-native peer-to-customer relationship management giant Salesforce, Pegg said. (More specifically, Coupa competes against different SAP and Oracle products, among others.)

For example, say a customer uses Coupa to manage supply chain design and planning. You, the partner, might want to develop collaboration software that lets your client communicate with suppliers, and track all those interactions. Therefore, the company is looking for partners (ISVs, really, because they already have their own software) who facilitate functions such as supplier communication, document organization, tax compliance, and so on. Along the way, partners may connect Coupa’s business spend management to other systems such as ServiceNow or Workday and more.

“Partners add a more holistic view,” Pegg said.

Why Is Now So Important for a Business Spend Management App Marketplace?

Coupa says COVID-19 influenced leaders’ decision to create the new platform. That’s no surprise, considering how the effects of the virus forced organizations to reevaluate practically everything about how they do business.

“Companies have emerged from the pandemic with a newfound appreciation for managing spend effectively and comprehensively,” said Roger Goulart, executive vice president, alliances and business development at Coupa. “Coupa’s BSM platform is a core system of record for them, with the expectation that it can be extended to deliver even more value.”

Pegg agreed.

“In an indirect sense, yes, the pandemic is a huge proof point that agility, and that being nimble, are going to be the new normal,” he said. “The lightbulb has gone off in a lot of enterprises that we need to stay adaptable and flexible.”

Perhaps more to the point, though, he said, is that business spend management has reached a point of maturation that accommodates an app marketplace.

“The marketplace is meant to deliver that [agility] in a way that’s really cost effective, really efficient,” Pegg said. “It’s providing turnkey solutions rather than putting the burden of integration on customers.”

For a while, clients did their own implementations.

“The ‘o’ in Coupa actually stands for ‘open,’” Pegg said.

But, that meant systems were taking a long time to go live. Coupa set out to fix that.

“We wanted to enable an ecosystem around our platform so they could have prebuilt apps connectors, automation between systems,” Pegg said. “We’re a very partner-oriented company.”

How ISVs Make Money on Coupa’s App Marketplace

Coupa runs a tiered partner program. “Silver” represents Level 1. Therefore, just like other layered programs, the more the partner invests, the more Coupa does on its end. For instance, if Coupa is “proactively marketing with you,” that’s Gold. And Platinum entails an “active co-sell motion where the field is actively helping to close and win deals,” Pegg said.

Coupa offers consultation with partners as well as solutions consulting. When a partner jumps on board, Coupa starts with a business value analysis to make sure the ISV’s app is a fit. After that comes certification.

“Coupa’s made a substantial investment in the programmatic aspects,” Pegg added.

As Coupa ramps up its new App Marketplace, expect to hear more from the vendor.

“The marketplace is a constant conversation,” Pegg said. “How can we better tailor the platform and add more value?”

ISVs eyeing the business spend management sector would do well to consider it. Research firm IDC sees business spend management as a core part of digital transformation, which analysts expect to reach $6.8 trillion in investment through 2023.


Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Kelly Teal or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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