If you’re not using the cloud your costs will be higher than your rivals’

Ravi Thakur, SVP customer success and service delivery at Coupa, talks about the future of the cloud, how it will reduce costs and why businesses are missing out if they’re not using it.

What types of customers do you work with?
We work with customer across all different verticals and regions. We have customer in healthcare, retail, financial services and technology sectors, and we have customers in almost every country in the world. We work with all different size of companies, from Fortune 500 companies to Fortune 50 companies.

Some of the world’s most high profile start-ups like Uber and Spotify are also deploying our solutions and we are working to expand our reach further into this market and beyond.

What are some of the biggest benefits your customers get from the cloud?
The cloud presents the opportunity to drive things faster within a company with the technology you are picking up. It also eliminates some of the thinking process within a company that often complicates the decision making process. As companies get bigger, decision making processes become more complicated. Cloud solutions eradicate many of these complications as they are more tightly limited on the choices available to users.

Are you planning to expand your cloud offering?
Coupa is looking to expand into many areas within the spend management space. We are doing this carefully and we want to make sure that we are looking at where our customers are going and the way the market is being shaped.

We want to make sure any expansion fits with our philosophy on how we would like companies to spend and the challenges they have today. We are looking at services, procurement and contract lifecycle management, and some other areas we would like to expand into within the next few years.

How has the cloud market evolved over the past few years?
The market has really matured over the past number of years. We are seeing a lot more solutions being offered in the cloud and all sorts of companies, new and old, are moving their solutions to the cloud. We have seen organisations go from being a little sceptical to a full adoption and integration of cloud technologies for almost every IT system.

What would you say to businesses not interested in using or selling cloud services?
Whoever is not using the cloud is missing out and their costs will be more than their competitors and peers’. In the competitive, capitalist market we operate in, you need all the advantage you can get and if you are spending money you don’t need to, you will be at a competitive disadvantage and this has the potential to kill your business in the long-term.

Is it right for everyone?
Every company needs to make the decision about how best to run operations efficiently and the best fit. It is safe to say that cloud is generally suited to most business processes, there might just be some specialist businesses and business processes that on-premise solutions are better suited to. In these rare cases, it would only be right to adopt on-premise solutions. You shouldn’t just go with the cloud for the sake of going with the cloud.

What are the security issues surround the cloud?
Most of the security issues around the cloud are based on how much emphasis your cloud provider places on security. Most mature SaaS providers have invested hugely in securing the data they house (technology and human capital), perhaps more than individual companies can afford to invest on their own.

While security issues are evolving and hacking becomes more sophisticated, it is important to keep an eye on how the biggest companies are investing and how they are dealing with these security issues.

What do you think will be the next big thing in the evolution of the cloud?
Connectivity will be the next big thing. The cloud offers the ability for things to be connected more efficiently across standardised systems – from health apps to warehouse stock.

In terms of software, a user interface is essential. It helps with managing all the information that is made available by the communication enabled through the deployment of cloud solutions. With the improved connectivity and everything able to communicate efficiently, I think we are just at the beginning of how the cloud will transform everything we do.

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