At DPW Amsterdam 2023, Brandon Card, Co-Founder and CEO at Terzo, discusses the rise of his organisation amid the COVID-19 pandemic and how it used the disruption to its advantage.

Terzo means third in Italian.

With the two founders having Italian heritage, they chose to describe what they set out to build – a platform that brings third parties together.

Terzo uses powerful AI technology to extract, analyse, and visualise its customer’s contract data. Terzo’s AI data extraction capabilities also reach beyond contracts and can solve an organisation’s document problems, from invoices to POs and more. Its platform was designed on the foundation of contract intelligence, providing business teams the necessary data to improve productivity, optimise spend, reduce costs, and manage risk and governance across their entire supplier ecosystem. Terzo is the first solution to provide critical data and terms to both legal and business teams to make decisions together.

Terzo’s journey

Brandon Card is the Co-Founder and CEO at Terzo. His company’s journey’s start was an interesting one, having been founded days before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that then ensued. But, reflecting on the disruptive nature of the situation, Card believes it actually helped get Terzo up and running quicker. “It just accelerated our timeline because we wanted to build fast,” he reveals. “When we put the team together, we had this concept that we wanted to get the product out as fast as possible. We knew that with Covid happening there was going to be a huge shift in how people were working. People were going to need to buy new solutions faster and it’s going to be harder to control spending. We knew procurement was going to have a host of challenges across the supply chain with this interruption with Covid. Our team on the engineering side believed we need to build faster.”

This led to Terzo’s team on the engineering side of the house to work diligently throughout the rest of 2020 and into 2021 on building code and new releases with the vision of getting the Terzo product into the industry quicker. “We thought we might be able to help procurement given the challenges they have now with all of these new needs that the business is going to bring,” he says. “We probably built the product about 50% faster just because there were no distractions so there’s pros and cons when everything happens in life. Our team really worked well together and they buckled down and they took that time to focus on Terzo. It’s something I’m very proud of this team for doing that.”

Brandon Card speaks with CPOstrategy at DPW Amsterdam 2023

Developing relationships

A big part of what Terzo does revolves around strengthening relationships by uniting teams to unlock insights so organisations can make smarter decisions and maximise value from suppliers, customers and partners. Card believes this mantra holds the key to long-term success in procurement.

“It’s critical for us because when we think about whether we’re doing spend analytics or contract intelligence, it’s all about understanding the relationship with these different entities you’re working with,” discusses Card. “We’re not there yet but my big vision in the future is to build an enterprise relationship intelligence platform to understand every single business that you’re working with, whether it’s a customer, a supplier or a partner. The truth with these big organisations, a lot of their suppliers are also partners or customers. These relationships are very complex and they’re very critical to innovation.

“If you’re doing anything in the cloud right now, if you’re doing anything with AI or even autonomous driving, you need partners to get this done. You can’t build it in-house. And years ago, people would build in-house. When we were young growing up in the nineties, everyone had to build their own data centres and build their own software. We’re in a world now where you can go and turn things on online in a few minutes, and that’s where we want to be so you can push product out faster, competitive advantage, and I think these relationships are critical to procurement having a competitive advantage and driving value for the whole business.”

Procurement’s place

In today’s world, procurement is in the driving seat. The function isn’t siloed anymore, stuck in a back-office room and out of the way of everyone else. Despite such significant innovation, there is sometimes a perception that procurement is still boring. For Card, he believes one of procurement’s biggest challenges is changing that age-hold mentality of procurement within a c-suite.

“It’s about educating the CEO or the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of large organisations just how critical procurement is. A lot of them just don’t understand,” he tells us. “That’s the challenge we have, and that’s something we want to change. In the future, the CFO is going to treat the head of sales the same they treat the CPO. Right now, the chief revenue officer gets special treatment in every organisation. If you run sales, you’re treated differently because you bring in revenue. If you’re procurement, you’re lucky if you’re at the table. But I do see that changing.”

While Card believes this shift is already beginning to happen with younger CFOs, change such as this doesn’t happen overnight. “By doing this, you’re going to have a really balanced organisation and reduce risk while optimising their costs,” he discusses. “Ultimately, they’re going to be more efficient, and the teams are going to be working a lot better together. There’s going to be a better culture when leadership buys in because then procurement feels valued. They work harder, and that vibe carries throughout the organisation. That’s something that we want to help push for procurement but we know it’s going to take time.”

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