Trufa, Inc.

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June 2, 2014 Issue

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Finance Applications for SAP Customers

About Trufa, Inc.

Trufa delivers True Finance Applications, which enable enterprises for the first time to analyze in real-time vast amounts of operational data, identify opportunities for improvements, and understand their impact on financial performance.

With our product Trufa Scoop, SAP customers can inspect their source, make and deliver operations for opportunities to free up cash sustainably.

Ralph Treitz

“At Trufa, we are helping people to go to the next step, to simulate the future, to ask, ‘What if I would take a position and change the premise of my company in this way or that way; what impact would that have?’ We are calculating this impact in dollars and cents; measuring the impact of the financial efficiency of the company on working capital. That is what we are doing.” - Ralph Treitz

Trufa, Inc.
530 Lytton Avenue, 2nd Floor
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Trufa, Inc.
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Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – June 2, 2014

CEOCFO: Mr. Treitz, what is the concept behind Trufa?

Mr. Treitz: I would say for the last twenty years, the industry has been very successful in generating software for supporting all the operational issues in the enterprise, ERP software, CRM software, supply chain management and all of the operational areas are pretty much covered. What we have not covered that well as an industry is to support decision makers. Today, decision making is supported by data, tools to “make the data” and reporting. In the end, as soon as the decision maker sees numbers, figures and graphs, these individuals have to start thinking about that by themselves. At Trufa, we are helping people to go to the next step, to simulate the future, to ask, “What if I would take a position and change the premise of my company in this way or that way; what impact would that have?” We are calculating this impact in dollars and cents; measuring the impact of the financial efficiency of the company on working capital. That is what we are doing.


CEOCFO: What goes into the decision-making process in how you provide a result? Are you taking in potential world trends in the economy for the next year or two or three? Are you taking into account the weather in an area where that might be important?

Mr. Treitz: The origin of the data is in the company. There is such business and process know-how buried in IT systems and databases. Today, untangling such data is coined as big data. All of the IT systems are holding an immense amount of information about what we are doing, how processes are working, how satisfied is a customer, how much does the customer purchase and so on. Therefore, we know a lot in principal about the companies, how they work and how efficient we are. However, we have to make that tangible. Big data is by nature not really tangible for a human being. We are collecting that data and making that tangible and actionable. This is not generic knowledge, such as if you would buy a report from an industry analyst who says, “Gas will become more expensive in the future because we have trouble in the near east.” On the contrary, we look very precisely into behaviors, the genetic code of a company, and apply statistical methods to identify meaningful behavioral changes. This is a sea change. It is significantly different from how analysis was done in the past where you are typically working with reports and case studies and generic data. At Trufa, we are working with the very precise data of each individual company.


CEOCFO: Would you give us an example of what a user would ask for?

Mr. Treitz: That is a great question. For instance, I am the CFO, the person who is responsible for the working capital in the company. I am looking into one of the longest process times that I have. This is the time called DSO, Days Sales Outstanding, the time between sending out invoices and the time customers pay. Typically, I have a target payment term, like thirty days or so. I can see some customers pay on time and some pay late. I have a gut assumption I can improve my DSO but I wonder, how I can make my customers pay more punctually or even accept shorter payment terms? You could simply tell customers, “You have to pay after twenty days.” That might make them turn away and go to a competitor. On the other hand, a satisfied customer might potentially accept shorter payment terms. So, I would like to learn what makes a customer satisfied. I can see that precisely from my very own data now. For instance, in a specific customer situation, we can easily reveal that customers react on shipment punctuality. Therefore, whenever I am shipping in time, which is the time in which the customer was promised to get the goods, in many of these cases, customers are accepting shorter payment terms. Therefore, if I learn that, I can work within my company to say, “Today we are shipping eighty percent in time, so if we would increase that to eighty five percent, then, we could save something like three or four days of DSO and that would deliver this monetary outcome.” In a large company, we are easily talking about something like forty or fifty million dollars, just from such a change.


CEOCFO: When you are approaching prospective customers, do they believe you are able to provide what you say? Can they get their heads around the concept? Is there an aha moment when they do understand?

Mr. Treitz: There are two of those moments. The first one is something that we can get very easily and very quickly - usually after a few minutes when we show them our application on the iPad. The iPad is a very easy to access user interface. A CFO sees, after a two to three minute demonstration of our product, which is named Trufa Scoop, that there are things possible that have not been possible before. That is the first one. The second “aha moment” is when we promise executives that they can see their own data in our application in 1 week. This is such a huge benefit. Consider that in many enterprises the normal lead time to roll out software is weeks or months. We can do it within a week. Whenever a customer would like to see Trufa Scoop with their very own data we give them a program to extract the data from their systems, we load the data into an in-memory database and they can use their iPad to access their very own data all within one week. It is so easy for us to do that that we are offering that free of charge and we are calling that the One Week Challenge. Within one week the customer can see Trufa Scoop live with their own data. These are the two aha moments; one is after five minutes of the demo, and the other one is a week later with their own data on their iPad.


CEOCFO: Would you tell us about ease of use? What does someone have to input to come out with the right result?

Mr. Treitz: We made it very simple. This is one of the reasons why we took the iPad as a user interface. Second, we built an application, not a tool. Most of the enabling technology in big data that you can buy today are tools. Tools are something for IT people. They have to work with it first, weeks and months before users may get access, they program it, they customize and integrate it into an IT environment all to bring a tool to state where it makes sense. We are selling an application. An application is something that you start to use immediately. Microsoft Word is an application. You start the program and you can type something. You may work a little bit until you type stuff in a way that you like it, but you can start to work immediately without much training and IT ado. It is the same way with our application. The application knows what an order to cash process is. The CFO is using Trufa Scoop and the order to cash process, the process steps and it is all done with just tapping and moving with the slide of a finger. It is very easy to use for people who are not IT savvy or statistic engineers. Regular business people can understand how to improve a process and by that the working capital of their company.


CEOCFO: Where did you find the biggest challenge in putting the offering together?

Mr. Treitz: To put it together, the biggest challenge is that you need a ton of know-how, processes, data structures and so on. Therefore, this is why we have a terrific mix here. We have people who have been developing and optimizing enterprise software for years, and we have people who are providing more sophisticated technology expertise, young engineers who are using the latest and most innovative technology in the market. We need that mix of people. That is the real challenge for building the Trufa Scoop application.


CEOCFO: How long has it been available or are you still in the starting stages?

Mr. Treitz: We released Trufa Scoop on April 4th, some weeks ago at the DEMO Enterprise event in San Francisco. The company was funded in early December. However, the work on the application and the preparation go back another three years. We have been working quite intensively before we really had it in a compact ready-to-use application with the appropriate functionality, validated by charter clients and advisors. We pushed ourselves to achieve results which had not been achieved before. For instance, in the early days, a simple request and related set of calculations would run, technically, for something like one hundred or one hundred plus hours. We are now able to run that same request in seconds.


CEOCFO: What is the strategy for the next six months to a year, as to rolling out the product?

Mr. Treitz: We are rolling out Trufa Scoop to customers now. We are expanding the product. We have a road map of additional functionality and also providing different access points for different kinds of uses in the enterprise. We are rolling that out to companies worldwide, also getting their feedback in the improvement process for the product.


CEOCFO: How do you get a foot in the door to even demonstrate your product?

Mr. Treitz: It is a mix between leveraging our contacts and targeting the right decision-makers in the right companies and industries, We have people who are very experienced, who can network and quickly get to the C-suite to demonstrate value. The other approach is a high-impact, face to face lead generation effort. It is through introductions, recommendations and tailored events. That is highly targeted to the office of the CFO, and the core industries we serve – such as high tech, pharmaceutical and consumer goods companies, etc.


CEOCFO: Has a similar concept been tried in the past?

Mr. Treitz: Concept-wise yes there are companies that look at enterprise data and offer predictive analytics tools. However there are 2 fundamental differences in what Trufa brings to the market today. The first is the big data approach that I have referred to. In 2002, we started another company in IT optimization which took advantage of this big data approach at a very, very early point in time. We have innovated, refined and improved this approach from more than a decade. The next difference is relevance and time to value for the business user. The deficit of all of the tool-type products in the market today is they are made for statistical nerds. They are made for specialists. They are not made for the CFO. I once met a CFO who said, “I have a team in my company of twenty data scientists. It is a terrific team. They are brilliant people. The only problem I have with them is whenever I am coming with a question; they are getting back to me with the answer three months later, when I have forgotten what I wanted to do with the information and in many cases it became irrelevant in the meantime.” This is what we have to overcome. We need something for business people who are knowledgeable about their company and responsible for making decisions, but who are not data experts or rocket scientists. They have to make decisions for the future of the company and we are enabling them to digest data, to simulate that data and to make their decisions for the future with confidence in the potential financial impact. That is the big advantage where no one has really gone before. The innovation we are bringing to market was confirmed by the venture capital company who is backing us – Accel Partners.


CEOCFO: What did you learn in previous ventures that have been helpful at Trufa?

Mr. Treitz: If it goes into my personal development, it is simply that I love to understand my customer’s problems. Making the customers problems your problems is helping the customer out of trouble. That is something that I really started to love more and more in my personal career. The key is guiding customers to find solutions they could not imagine before. How should a customer know what he wants before we tell him what he can do? It is just that they had never thought that something like that was possible. This is the combination that is driving me; providing really new ways to solve problems and taking the customers problems very seriously and providing something which is very helpful from day one on. Speed to value. That is the driving motivation here.


CEOCFO: Why pay attention to Trufa?

Mr. Treitz: Trufa demonstrates the impact and monetary outcomes of potential operational changes. We are enabling simulation of the future and fast decision making. The dollar figures that our customers see coming out of their very own business data are truly amazing. People can achieve real benefits from Trufa Scoop very quickly, very easily. From our perspective, if a customer would like to drive their company forward, then we are the right partner for them.


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