No business operates in a vacuum. Companies rely on strategic suppliers and vendors to run their businesses successfully. Today, a new consensus is emerging - leaders can’t innovate or execute on their goals in isolation.
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Internal forces are pushing CIOs to collaborate with vendors and suppliers strategically and from a data-driven perspective. External forces are pushing CIOs to play a bigger innovation role to keep pace with demanding macro conditions and competitive pressures. Enterprises that partner more effectively with strategic vendors and suppliers are better positioned to meet both challenges. Terzo enables stronger relationships and increased alignment both internally and externally. By transforming vendors and suppliers into partners, Terzo helps CIOs drive business results.
Before founding Terzo, Brandon Card spent his career at large enterprise technology companies, most recently Microsoft. He worked in leadership roles in cloud portfolio management and sales. During his career, Card interacted with Fortune 500 CIOs and other functional business leaders who focused on new cloud technologies and cloud migration for digital transformation. Card experienced first-hand the many challenges CIOs faced managing third-party vendor ecosystems. “I observed the CIO role becoming more challenging, as more was being asked of these leaders in the ‘technology first’ world we operate in today. As more business value shifts towards ‘tech enabled’ business strategies, CIOs were relying on strategic vendors more and more. This necessitates a shift in the relationship and magnifies the importance of strategic vendors,” explains Card. As a result of the pressures CIOs faced, Card was repeatedly provided by customers to ‘create a CRM, but for the buyer.’
Determined to change things for the better, Card teamed with long-time friend, Al Giocondi, who had similar experiences during his years in sales at IBM and Oracle. The duo leveraged top CRM tools to manage their customers but realized their customers had no platform for the other side of the ‘handshake’ - to manage the vendors. Subsequently, Card reached out to another friend, Pradeep Thangavel, who was a top principal engineer at Freshworks. The three came together to found Terzo in March 2020 and bring the Vendor Relationship Management (“VRM”) concept to market. Through the firm’s VRM, enterprises gain insights that allow them to drive innovation, improve governance, increase collaboration, and optimize performance. “We’ve been able to move quickly, because our three co-founders strongly empathize with the customer problem and bring the right technical skills to build the right solution,” adds Card.
With the Terzo platform, organizations can improve their vendor relationships and optimize joint outcomes, including responding to global challenges. The core functionality of the Terzo platform is its ability to centralize siloed data. Today, vendor data is managed in general purpose tools like spreadsheets and email. Valuable adjacent data is distributed across different platforms and tools such as the ERP, P2P, IT Ops, risk management systems, and more. The existing approach —spreadsheets, emails, and point solutions—leave users wanting more fluidity of process and comprehension of purpose. Terzo is unique because it’s built like a CRM; it contextualizes enterprise data together with people to generate actionable insights.
“Terzo aggregates data in the platform creating a true vendor hub. This organized, structured data allows customers to have visibility and develop insights to make faster and smarter decisions,” explains Card. This rich contextualization creates a bias toward action that can accelerate business results. Enterprises outperform when they combine the power of their data with their people, including increasing data-driven collaboration and decision making.
The platform profoundly connects people from different departments on complex, multi-stage processes like procurement and engages them beyond procurement in a holistic vendor management lifecycle. “While data is critical, people still drive performance at large enterprises, so we embrace the mission to improve people-performance. Ultimately, we see this as an internal opportunity but eventually extending across company boundaries to ensure that suppliers, vendors, and customers are all collaborating together throughout the full lifecycle,” asserts Card.
Terzo is tailored to the CIO the same way CRMs are tailored to the CRO. This enables a new level of collaboration and accountability with internal and external stakeholders. Collaboration is proven to increase innovation and speed-to-value. Further highlighting this aspect, Card explains that Terzo is currently working with a Fortune 100 company to integrate their SAP ERP data into the Terzo platform to gain real-time contracts committed to actual spend comparisons for the first time. They are also bringing in apps like DocuSign for seamless integration of procurement workflows and contract execution. This delivers a more complete digital transformation, offering customers process visibility for demand management and prioritization. These digital transformations are reducing procurement cycle times by 50-80 percent.
Delivering Digital Transformation
“The difference with Terzo is, we bring in all the key stakeholders—internally and externally—connecting them to the critical processes and data. Our customers have their teams and data highly integrated to process, which helps them to make smarter decisions faster,” points out Card. The platform includes ‘no-code’ workflows to the line, complete with the ability to customize workflows, save default flows and reuse, review or audit work. The workflows have easy builtins like approvals and tasks, making the configuration possibilities suitable for simple tasks or complex projects. “A lot of our design is geared to increase productivity and visibility for the distributed workforce and the remote workforce of today,” explains Roger Laforce, Terzo’s CTO.
Furthermore, business leaders find themselves at the helm of a vast and complex supplier and vendor ecosystem. Amongst this complexity, leaders want to understand where they can reduce overlap and upgrade inputs and capabilities. Digital and cloud migration are two areas where these aspirations are put to the test. “Corporate leaders want better processes, documentation and visibility, so that they can reduce the number of non-essential vendors and have more addressable relationships with their most strategic providers. In addition to performing, CIOs are expected to also cut costs, reduce single points of failure, increase diversity and reduce environmental impact all at the same time. Terzo helps business leaders make and track progress across these difficult requirements,” adds Laforce.
Describing the product architecture, Laforce continues “Terzo is a native cloud architecture, so we designed the product to leverage the strengths the cloud provides: scalability, performance, distributed users sharing one workspace, integrating with multiple and disparate data sources to create a unique set of capabilities.” This new approach allows companies to pull together investments in point solutions and legacy tools, to centralize data and insights where the people are completing the work.
Connecting Teams, Powering Innovation
Terzo also addresses the many challenges associated with innovation and the concept of speed-to-value. CIOs are expected to enable an innovative and agile organization, which generally means reducing the time between insight and value realization. Today it includes delivering high responsiveness to workforce shocks, like the sudden requirement to have remote workers in essential roles. What CIOs understand better than anyone is that they can only be as nimble as their strategic vendors because their organizations rely on a combination of internal and externally sourced capabilities to operate. Terzo maps your cross-functional teams to their vendor counterparts, so the line and leadership know who to go to when things need to be done quickly. Terzo improves the connectivity of relationships between large organizations by mapping them out properly, so less time is wasted searching for the right touch points for discovery, collaboration or escalation.
Terzo is helping large enterprises enable new priority procurement pipelines, which increases the visibility of ‘innovation purchases’ to accelerate buying cycles for critical strategic initiatives. If a CEO wants his company to be comprehensively refreshed with newer tools, and it takes procurement 18-24 months to onboard new vendors, confirm product evaluations, clear infosec, and issue a PO, it becomes impossible to deliver on the goal. Terzo allows CIOs and procurement leaders to classify projects and inbound demand to improve prioritization and standardize processes. This means the most important initiatives are prioritized and routine tasks don’t fall on the floor.
Using Terzo’s no-code custom workflows with embedded approvals, organizations can reduce their intake-to-procurement time for innovation purchases by 80 percent. This drives ROI upward for strategic initiatives by increasing speed-to-value. Moreover, enterprises can use Terzo’s contract intelligence tool to understand the vendor ecosystem in a cross-functional way to improve the quality of planning and executing large migrations and surfacing opportunities to reduce redundancies.
Unlocking Value through Strategic Relationships
Terzo’s goal is to be the CIO command center for vendor lifecycle management. Terzo’s VRM platform transforms transactional relationships into strategic partnerships. The company is on a mission to transform vendor ecosystem management from transactional procurement cycles to fluid, collaborative, innovative, continuous planning cycles that have a constant eye on risk and opportunity.
Currently, Terzo’s services span contract intelligence, relationship management, demand management, custom workflows and vendor 360 reporting. The firm intends to expand the VRM capabilities to address vendor risk, compliance, and performance in the near term. The team also has a healthy pipeline of AI-driven initiatives, which will drive information product value. Terzo is the CIO dashboard, which drives innovation by aligning internal strategic objectives with the capabilities of third-party suppliers. It can make IT and procurement much more strategic, a sort of weapon capable of driving company performance instead of being seen as a cost center.
“We are trying to help companies realize that collaboration and maintaining relationships with their vendors is critical to driving business results. We are fostering a win-win situation for both the buyer and the vendor side of the relationship,” states Card. The customer wins because they get the solutions and the service they need to deliver business results. The vendor wins because they can improve customer satisfaction and responsiveness. Terzo strongly believes that enabling enterprises to work together as partners will speed value-to-market, increasing innovation in the economy. “These ideals ultimately support a world with more possibilities, less waste, and more sustainability for all,” concludes Card.
Los Angeles, CA
Brandon Card, Founder & CEO
Al Giocondi, Co-Founder & Head of Sales
Pradeep Thangavel, Co-Founder & Head of Engineering
Eric Pritchett, President & Chief Operating Officer
Roger Laforce, Chief Technology Officer