Today we have selected Michael Petter to take his interview. He is the CEO of Eyvo.
Who are Eyvo, and what do you do?
Eyvo is a software company – We are a dedicated team of engineers and business people solving business workflow issues specifically targeted at corporate procurement. All businesses buy goods and services.
We design, sell and support our Cloud-based platform that contains a suite of software tools and processes for our client companies to go out and acquire whatever they need in a structured, transparent and audited way.
Specific functions we address are purchase order generation, sourcing, asset management, inventory control, receiving, employee expenses, budget, cost control, and multiple integrations into a 3rd party system. We engage with our clients at all levels, from clerical staff to their managers, VPs, Senior VPs, and up to the CEO.
First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
When COVID first hit, probably like every other company, we didn’t know how it would affect us. We immediately took some health precautions by closing our local offices and ensuring that our employees had everything they needed to work remotely from home safely.
Whether it was personal protection equipment, provision of additional computers, improved internet connectivity at home, minimizing travel, and providing mental health support where appropriate. Given the nature of our business, that we already operate in the cloud, this was not such a giant leap for us, and business operations continued uninterrupted.
We found that our clients were also affected to varying degrees, a very small percentage shut down, but mostly we were contacted by existing clients to improve their processes so that they could effectively work remotely; We even offered better financial terms and free licenses to those clients that were severely affected but still needed us to be there for them, and we are proud of everything we did in that respect.
Surprisingly, all this effort resulted in an uptick in business as our clients ordered more user licenses which was a nice surprise. We ended 2021 being our best year ever in terms of revenue.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?
The founder formed the company in Europe about 17 years ago. I noticed many sales-oriented software systems but very few, if any, for the other purchasing side. So we set about designing what we felt was a straightforward, simple-to-understand workflow tool that didn’t require complex deployment or training.
Initially, we were not in the cloud, but it soon became obvious that the cloud was the future, and we re-engineered our entire offering to sit firmly on remote servers and become a ‘software as a service’ platform. Many companies were reluctant to put all the data in the cloud understandably, but as the years progressed, it became more and more commonplace to the point where we are today where it would be unusual not to use a cloud-based service.
Personally speaking, I have always been ‘into’ computers ever since I was 15, playing in my mum and dad’s house, in my bedroom on a Commodore PET – I went on to get a bachelor’s degree and then started work in the City of London where I initially designed commercial banking systems on DEC VAX and PDP-11 hardware; I ended up designing complex finance integrations with legacy systems.
I started Eyvo to try and leverage my experience in banking and finance to meet the obvious needs of procurement and purchasing managers around the world. There was no designated specific software for their use, so it wasn’t a hard sell. Our first client was British Gas in the UK, and then we got Philips Electronics, Lloyds Bank, Bank of America, and other well-known brand names at the time.
How does your company innovate?
Innovation is key to any company’s survival. If you’re not moving forward, you’re going backward. We take a proportion of our revenue each year and designate it for research and development. That manifests itself in us surveying the market, issuing client surveys and determining what our user base wants, and listening to what our inbound sales leads are looking for.
This dictates our annual functional and technical roadmap, which we iterate through during a year so that our main platform is constantly receiving new functionality and fine-tuning.
Did you have to make difficult choices and the lessons learned?
If you mean did we have to make difficult choices regarding our covid preparation, then yes we did because we did not know how this was going to affect us financially; We made a quick decision not to let anybody go and to retain all staff, however, all staff members took an immediate 20% cut for the short term with the promise that the money would be paid back to them plus a bonus.
Everybody understood and agreed with the approach; management stood by the staff, and at the end of the year, it was all paid back, plus a generous bonus to say thank you – Obviously, the lesson learned was that if you are transparent and manage your team’s expectations professionally, then you will not just survive, but thrive.
It was a good example of our company culture at work and our overall team philosophy that our business will only be as good as the people that work in it and that we have to take care of our own. This philosophy worked, and everybody stayed employed. We expanded and are still expanding by adding headcount.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
We did review our tools because everybody was now working remotely, so we needed to ensure that we had good communication in real-time across all functional teams.
Specifically sales, marketing, development, and technical support – surprisingly, we couldn’t find one affordable platform that did everything we needed concerning all of those requirements; we operate as a very tight integrated company so we can’t use one sales system, one tech support system, one helpdesk system, etc.
so we decided to re-engineer our internal systems and spent six months developing a product for ourselves which has been a great success and helps us manage our entire business on one secure platform hosted on our cloud – this is a direct result of the Covid pandemic.
We will continue to use this platform going forward even when we are all back in the office. Our team has improved our project management tools and techniques. We use various systems, including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and a platform called ClickUp, which we find very flexible.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
This is interesting – competitors come and go, and they acquire each other all the time. I would prefer not to discuss who our competitors are by name; they know who they are, and we see them on the battlefield every week, and we both enjoy and relish the competition.
It makes us better; it sharpens our skills and ensures we are not complacent. Fortunately, our business has a huge worldwide market, and there appears to be room for everybody to operate without stepping on each other’s toes too much.
We have a generic platform that will apply to any industry, for a company of any size, working in any language and any currency – that gives us huge potential for operating in any market with any established competitor; we know we can give them a run for their money.
You stay in the game by moving through a cycle of watching, waiting, monitoring, improving, and pouncing when the opportunity arises. As you can see from our online reviews, we are one of the best in the business, and we did not get there by accident.
Your final thoughts
We have seen the pace of change in the world increase through political upheaval, Brexit, various geopolitical crises, and the financial impacts of Covid. This all distills down to a very challenging time for the business world; we feel our mission is to keep our heads down, support our teams, improve our products, be there for our clients at a moment’s notice.
Our clients will attest that we have stepped up to meet the challenges for technical support, customer support, and pre-sales support – we haven’t missed a beat.
We will continue to move forward on this basis while remaining agile and responding to events as they arise. We can do this because we have very little inertia within the business allowing us to operate swiftly and accurately to meet all of our client’s demands no matter where they are in the world.
- Spokesperson: Michael Petter
- Company: Eyvo
- Website link: https://www.e-procurement.com/