The client is a classic fast-growth start-up. Founded as a delivery service for convenience items, they soon had company-owned locations in hundreds of cities, in multiple countries. They reached $1B in revenue, took on 5,000 employees, and even developed private-label brands. In addition to offering multiple categories of products, they also rotated short-term specials and promotions.
Having achieved phenomenal growth in a competitive market, they turned to Coupa for a solution to upgrade their outdated procurement function, and travel and expense function. And, after considering several possibilities, the company turned to Grant Thornton as their implementation partner.
One seamless approach, two very different audiences
The solution had to work for both user and executive audiences. The employee audience was remote, disproportionately new, and, in some cases, part-time. In addition to independent contractor delivery partners, the company operated their own local distribution centers. These centers were key to their success. They positioned a single, company-owned location as a differentiator from services which delivered from multiple businesses.
The second audience was managers, including C-suite executives, who were looking for the kinds of controls essential for operational oversight and strategic insight in a growing enterprise. Of course, such controls are also required for important thresholds such as any future IPOs.
Combining speed and strategy
Given the pace of their growth, and the client’s reliance on disparate and sometimes manual systems, the solution had to be implemented quickly. Specifically, they needed P2I, InvoiceSmash, and Expense implementation in ten weeks. This required a partner who was fully comfortable with an Oracle ERP, highly responsive, agile, and ready to adapt to their culture. The partner also had to be capable of creating the kind of controls which facilitate strategic success and long-term growth. According to Grant Thornton Managing Director James DePalma, “Any partner had to be willing to push the boundaries of the possible. At the same time, they had to ensure that the deliveries at the core of the client’s success went on without interruptions.”
Any partner also had to go far beyond software expertise. To meet its goals, the project required sophisticated change management skills. This meant quickly identifying stakeholders; crafting key messages; and thoughtfully segmenting, timing, and sequencing communications.
User friendly — and executive friendly
The approach was straightforward. Fortunately, Coupa had developed an extraordinarily user-friendly interface. The Grant Thornton solution complemented that interface while integrating it with the client’s procurement processes and adding controls and transparency. They would also develop and implement a change management plan.
The three partners — the client, Coupa and Grant Thornton — worked as one team. They met the ambitious projects goals, implementing in ten weeks and on budget.
From when the founders made their first delivery in a minivan, they have achieved an astonishing success story. Coupa and Grant Thornton are pleased to have helped them write the next chapter.
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