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SAP Ariba vs Coupa Comparison 2021

by Arthur Zuckerman

Procurement processes today are being made easier by digital and cloud-based tools. Two of the most popular ones on the market are SAP Ariba and Coupa. These tools help automate procurement processes and make them more accurate than if these were handled by simpler solutions. Both platforms help users manage their inventory, purchases, payments, and other sourcing activities, among others. 

However, which one is better? In this article, we’ll give you our official SAP Ariba vs Coupa Comparison 2020 verdict. We’ll offer an analysis guided by key comparison points, including their feature sets, pricing, integrations, and others. But first, let’s get to know each of these solutions. 

An Overview of SAP Ariba

SAP Ariba is another product from the famous market leader SAP. Ariba was acquired in 2012 and became a part of the SAP software family, which is touted to somehow have a hand in around 77% of the world’s transactions. And SAP Ariba, being a comprehensive procurement solution, on top of being a spend management platform, is one of the major nodes of the world’s transaction network. 

The platform allows companies to have more visibility and control over their procurement-related processes, ranging from purchasing to payments. All of these are done via an easy-to-use interface and intuitive dashboards. Key features include supply chain collaboration, supplier management, invoice management, procurement, spend analysis, financial supply chain management, and strategic sourcing, among others. 

Plus, it has a robust reporting and analytics module that can reveal company spending habits. This way, you will be able to track, monitor, and optimize your finances and processes better. Also, this solution is great, not just for large enterprises. It is also flexible and affordable enough for SMBs. Furthermore, you can take SAP Ariba on the go, thanks to its Android and iPhone apps. Lastly, as it is a customizable solution, it is being offered via quote-based plans. 

SAP Ariba dashboard

Coming from a popular software provider, SAP Ariba offers best-in-class procurement features that will help you streamline your operations.

An Overview of Coupa

Coupa is a popular spend management platform used by large enterprises. It is a go-to platform for many famous brands, including Aon, Lear, Unilever, and even Salesforce. Key features include predictive spend insights, a robust procurement feature, strategic sourcing, supplier management, contract management, and payment support. 

All of these plus more, are fitted into an easy-to-use interface that is intuitive to all levels of tech-savviness. Furthermore, the platform includes modules for clear analytics and inventory management. With Coupa, you’ll have 360-degree visibility over end-to-end processes, from procurement to payments. 

Like SAP Ariba, you can take Coupa on the go. The software provider offers you access to your Coupa system via its mobile apps for iOS and Android. Moreover, it integrates well with other business solutions, including Salesforce, SnapLogic, Octa, NetSuite, and MuleSoft, among many others. Lastly, just like SAP Ariba, Coupa is offered via personalized quote-based plans.

coupa dashboard

Coupa is an enterprise-grade spend management platform built to adapt to your existing software ecosystem.

SAP Ariba vs Coupa Comparison 

In this section, we’ll analyze both platforms in some points of comparison. These will be (1) features, (2) usability, (3) integrations, (4) flexibility, and (5) market connectivity. After this, we’ll give you our official SAP vs Coupa comparison 2020 verdict. 

1. Features

Both software solutions have comprehensive features that span from spend management to payment management. As mentioned, both are top popular platforms, and they both have more or less the same features. 

Also, these two platforms have advanced capabilities, including leveraging community data. Users can connect with suppliers and other entities on both their networks. Thus, they benefit from business intelligence taken from community data and even save with others. 

However, both are usually used in tandem with ERP solutions. SAP Ariba is usually paired with SAP ERP. And, Coupa can be integrated with any ERP platform. If you are looking to find suitable platforms to pair with these tools with, you can also browse and compare ERP software here. 

So, when it comes to features, we say it is a tie between the two. 

2. Usability

Given both are top applications, they have high usability. Usability here means the likelihood of getting used because of ergonomic design, which includes the effectiveness of the tool, ease-of-use, and the enjoyment of users while using it. 

In this SAP Ariba vs Coupa comparison point, it is a really close battle between the two. And, our review team doesn’t have a unanimous verdict. So, we’ll call it a tie. However, we’ll disclose why it is not unanimous. 

Firstly, in terms of effectiveness, it is a unanimous tie. Its because both software solutions deliver on their features’ promises. Secondly, both are enjoyably easy to use. They have clean interfaces that house the comprehensive feature sets. It is effortless to get to a page, a report, or a setting. Thirdly, our team seems to be split on which interface is aesthetically pleasing. So, given this, we just have to declare it a tie at this point in the comparison. 

3. Integrations

As both SAP Ariba and Coupa are platforms that usually are part of a larger technology stack, it is important that they integrate well with them. In this regard, we would say that SAP Ariba is better. This is because, as a SAP product, it integrates seamlessly with other top SAP products. This way, you wouldn’t look for any other software provider if you are a power SAP user. 

However, Coupa can also be integrated with any system through its API. Many users integrate it with a long list of accounts payable software, financial tools, analytics, ERP platforms, and many others. Being used by large enterprises around the world, it works with web-based and on-premise systems. 

For this point of comparison, it is a close one. However, SAP Ariba edges Coupa out a bit. 

4. Flexibility

Here, we have two kinds of flexibility: horizontal and vertical. Vertical flexibility pertains to the scaling up or down in relation to company growth. Horizontal flexibility pertains to how many kinds of organizations a solution can support. 

For horizontal flexibility, both software can be used by almost all kinds of organizations that can afford them. The barrier to horizontal flexibility is really the price point of these platforms. So, for this sub-criterion, we say that it is a close battle. Both products can cater to different types and sizes of organizations looking to use them. This is only if these organizations can afford the software service. 

In terms of vertical flexibility, on the other hand, it is virtually a tie. Both SAP Ariba and Coupa features can be scaled up or down relative to your needs. Both solutions are offered via personalized quotes so the feature set you’ll receive is customized to your operations. Also, should you want to have more features or capabilities added in, you can easily contact their representatives. 

As SAP Ariba has a narrow win in one sub-criterion, we give it the narrowest of wins when it comes to flexibility against Coupa. 

5. Market Connectivity

As mentioned, both SAP Ariba and Coupa connect you to wide supplier networks. However, when it comes to market connectivity, we think SAP Ariba takes the cake. This is because it has a broader range of businesses and organizations it is connected to. Thanks to its other SAP products that accumulated user bases throughout the years, SAP Ariba offers you a connection to the world’s largest B2B marketplace. 

Suppliers in the Ariba Network can tap into a growing and lively directory of millions of companies. It is touted that this network does business at more than twice the volume of eBay, Alibaba and Amazon combined.

Coupa’s network, on the other hand, cannot be underestimated. It also possesses the largest Business Spend Management community. So, if you are looking for good deals, you will find it with other Coupa users when it comes to procurement and savings. You can source together with other companies there. The same goes for Ariba, but Ariba just has a bigger network. So, again, Ariba wins this one. 

What’s the Best Procurement Management Tool for You? 

This comparison battle is quite a close one. However, our official SAP Ariba vs Coupa comparison 2020 verdict would be a close win for SAP Ariba. Thanks to its extensive market connections, users will be able to find goods and deals quite easily worldwide. Also, if you are already a SAP solutions user, then Ariba is your product. 

Of course, Coupa is no slouch. It rivals SAP Ariba when it comes to features and usability. Also, it stays close when it comes to flexibility and integration. But, like our split votes when it comes to who wins usability, it can all boil down to aesthetics when you choose a program. 

In such a case where you get the same deals, capabilities, and pricing from both products (meaning all things being equal), then it may just be a matter of taste when choosing which one fits you. Aesthetics play a role, and some think Coupa has a superior interface. Of course, there are others that believe otherwise. 

Lastly, if you really want to know which one fits you best, it’s best to check the live demos of both products. This way, you’d get a firsthand look at them. 

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