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Creating Certainty in an Uncertain World

Whether they’re well down the path of digital transformation or just exploring an omnichannel strategy, many executives are asking, “How do I prepare for what’s next?” When the pace of change is faster than ever, the past can’t illuminate a clear future. How will your business optimize cost, revenue, and margin when the future is unpredictable? Kick off Outperform with Andres Reiner, President and CEO of PROS, and special guests from leading global businesses, to learn how technology can help create certainty for your employees, your customers, and for your business.

About the Speakers

PROS President and Chief Executive Officer Andres Reiner joined the company in 1999. He was appointed to his current role in November 2010 and also serves as a member of its board of directors. Reiner has led PROS to record revenue growth, fueled by his vision and strategy around innovation, customer success and helping people achieve their full potential. Under his leadership, the company has expanded its global reach and scale, introduced numerous new products, entered new markets, grown its partner ecosystem, completed four acquisitions and more than tripled the size of the team. Reiner has held a broad range of leadership roles that provide the breadth of experience and understanding of how to drive growth. In this series of increasingly responsible roles, he has led products and product management, marketing, global alliances, science and research, and development of the company’s next-generation software portfolio. Prior to joining PROS, Reiner held various technical and leadership positions in software-based companies including Platinum Technology and ADAC Healthcare Information Systems. Reiner serves on the board of directors at Paylocity Holding Corporation (Nasdaq: PCTY), a cloud-based provider of payroll and human capital management software solutions. He is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). Reiner received the Ernst & Young 2015 Entrepreneur Of The Year Award® in the technology category for the Gulf Coast. He earned a B.S. degree in computer science from the University of Houston.

David Neeleman is that rarest of entrepreneurs, a man who has created and launched a multitude of successful, independent airlines, including the USA’s Breeze Airways, JetBlue and Morris Air (sold to Southwest), Canada’s WestJet and Brazil’s Azul. Neeleman was born in Brazil while his father was Reuter’s São Paulo Bureau Chief. His family moved to Utah while he was still a child. His career began in 1984 when he co-founded a low-fare carrier called Morris Air with June Morris, the owner of Salt Lake City-based travel agency Morris Travel. As President of Morris Air, David implemented the industry’s first electronic ticketing system and pioneered a home reservation system where calls are handled by reservationists working from their homes. Following the sale of Morris Air and a short period with Southwest Airlines, Neeleman took the electronic ticketing system that he had initiated at Morris Air and developed it to become Open Skies, the world’s simplest airline reservation system, which he then sold to Hewlett Packard in 1999.

Neeleman then founded JetBlue Airways in New York and spent a decade as Chief Executive Officer (1998 to 2007) and Chairman (2002 to 2008). An amazing success by any measure, JetBlue was an instant hit with travelers and was the first airline to earn $100 million annually within five years, thus becoming a “major” airline fastest. JetBlue has won countless awards and accolades including Top Low Cost Airline for Customer Satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates and Best Airline by Consumer Reports. It won Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards for Best U.S. Airline for seven consecutive years. After JetBlue, it was Brazil’s turn to experience Neeleman’s magic in bringing new planes and low fares to many markets that had never seen nonstop service. Azul, launched in 2008, now serves more than 100 destinations with an operating fleet of more than 140 aircraft. Neeleman now turns his attention back to the US domestic airline industry with his new airline Breeze Airways. Breeze began commercial service on May 27, 2021 and now operates 39 routes in 16 cities from San Antonio, TX, to Providence, RI. Neeleman plans to re-invent low cost travel with nonstop service between secondary and tertiary markets across the USA.Breeze currently operates 13 Embraer aircraft and has orders for 60 new Airbus A220 aircraft which start delivery in October and will be delivered one per month for the next for the next five years.

Sheila Jordan is an IT executive who excels at solving complex business problems enabled by technology. She understands how technology can add value to a business and can define the IT vision and strategy to lead a team to successful execution. Jordan is known as a change agent and a passionate leader who successfully inspires and motivates a team, working collaboratively across an organization.Jordan specializes in transformational change leadership —most recently at Symantec, the global leader in cyber security—driving the transformation of Symantec’s business through two large divestitures and six significant acquisitions. This included splitting IT operations when Symantec separated its security and information management operations—a highly successful, transformative initiative accomplished in nine months.

Todd Mueller is a skilled corporate leader with extensive experience in all aspects of pricing to drive value within organizations. His experience includes comprehensive overhaul of pricing functions with 2 distribution companies. Specific initiatives range from customer profitability analytics, to development of market segmentation and pricing guidance, along with redesigning sustainable pricing processes, and implementing pricing software.

Full Transcript

Andres Reiner: Hello! I'd like to extend a very warm welcome to all of you joining us today at Outperform 2021. More than half of our audience has been with PROS for over a decade. Some of you for over 30 years. I want you to know that no matter how long you've been our customer, how big or small you are, you're part of the PROS family. At PROS we do what we do because we see ourselves as an extension of your teams. We like to think that we're as passionate about your success as you are. These days, as we all know, the path to success for every business is paved with uncertainty. So today, I'd like to talk about how, as businesses, we create certainty in an uncertain world. We can look at uncertainty in two ways, either as an obstacle or as an opportunity. Our job at PROS is to minimize the challenges that uncertainty throws at your business so you can look towards the stars and dream as big as your imagination takes you. We know that we can never create absolute certainty. The landscape around us is always changing so we can never be done. The most that we can do is get and stay as close to certainty as we can. So how do we do that? Some people say that the best way to create certainty is to be prepared for anything. But how can we be prepared for a future that doesn't exist yet, especially when everything has changed so much and the past can’t help us. The best way to predict the future is to create it in the best way to create a certain future is to innovate. Today, I've invited three amazing PROS customers to share their experience and wisdom with all of us. Let's start by hearing how their businesses are using innovation to create certainty....

Sheila Jordan: At Honeywell, how we use innovation to create certainty is one example I'd like to share is we actually introduced last year our smart virtual assistant. We happen to call it red, and it is the one stop shop for all of our employees to do all their administration work. For example, you can reset your password. You can change your personal mailing address. So some of the HR onboarding functions. You can actually approve expense reports, Pos, purchase orders through our procurement and contracts team. So we're still using those backend application systems but the reality is we're doing it one way through red, which is our smart virtual assistant through AI and machine learning to really make this employee experience as best as it can be. And the cool thing about it is Red get smarter and smarter and smarter with all of these interactions. In fact, last week I looked at the data and we have 24,000 employees using Red and the resolution time, the time to actually meet the resolution time has gone down by almost 60% so think about the speed and the certainty of which you can move those more administration track tasks across the organization much more efficiently.

David Neeleman: I've always had this concept of empowering the front line, and once you have certainty that you can take care of customers and there's no retribution, you know, if you make a wrong decision, we'll just coach you and help you make the right decision. But that's, you know, it's really important that when you give people the power to help customers, that they feel empowered, that they feel confident, that they have certainty that they're going to be taken care of and they're going to be backed up. So that's really critically important. And then obviously with our customers, you know, we get into a little more, but the certainty of being able to kind of contact us even though we have a call less contact center, you can't call us, we can call you, but you can't call us. So the ability for them to get on with us and to get a response and hopefully under 10 minutes and get your problem resolved and to know that we have your contact information where every single person we have it. And so certainty that if there's a delay or some type of cancellation or irregular operation that we're in, we're in constant contact with them and connection. So it gives them certainty in our product.

Todd Mueller: We live in a B2B world and everything is really highly negotiated, both cost and price, and the uncertainty in those negotiations really makes it difficult for our sales team. So we're using a machine learning and AI algorithms to really help provide them real time information right at their fingertips so they can better negotiate with more certainty and those negotiations with both their vendors and customers to get a better end result for the company.

Andres Reiner: What great insights. I learn so much from our customers, so I can't leave it at that. I'll talk more with David, Sheila, and Todd during the next 30 minutes. Let's explore this theme of creating certainty in an uncertain world from three angles. How can we create certainty for employees, for customers and for the overall business? Let's start at home inside of organizations with employees. For too many companies, creating certainty for employees is all about control. In this model, managers tried to create certainty by controlling what employees are doing and how they're doing it. We end up building a very complex scheme to ensure that nobody can do something bad for the business. As a result, most sales oriented technologies are really tools for management oversight. It's like a central command. Managers get a dashboard with levers that they can tweak to maximize the overall sales strategy. In this centralized approach companies can create list prices that nobody transacts at. Then they force reps to go through a deal desk to get approvals for discounts. The more deals go through the deal desk, the more everything slows down and the sales reps who can't make decisions on their own become a mere conduit between the customer and the deal desk. A deal desk is designed to add consistency and simplicity to the sales process, but most of them make decisions based on human interpretation of an incomplete picture. So what happens? Salespeople get guidance that they feel it's arbitrary, out of touch and inconsistent. They feel robbed of their autonomy to meet their sales goals and for customers to experience ends up feeling complex, impersonal, and slow. So what is salespeople and customers do? They try to work around the deal desk. This should not come as a surprise to anyone. It's human nature. People rebel against control, particularly when it gets in the way of achieving the goals they're being measured against. But what if we took a different approach. Instead of controlling employees, let's help them succeed. Let's flip the model from a control to empowerment, trust, and transparency instead of using tools and process to maximize or fiscal sales strategy. Let's use them to maximize the outcomes of each and every sales transaction. And let's give the tools to salespeople so they can manage sales outcomes directly. Managers can still have a dashboard that highlights sales trends over the past year, actual sales versus targets. But what reps really need is very specific, data driven guidance on how they will win this deal with this customer today. I would argue that given the right tools, the right guidance and the right data driven insights, your employees will naturally do what's right for the business. You will not only waste less energy on control, you will also be more certain about the sales results because your employees will be more certain about winning deals. Are you skeptical? Let me explain. We can create certainty for employees by following a simple principle. Make it easy for them to do a better job. This doesn't mean digitizing existing business processes to make it easier for them to do their job using the same old best practices. And it doesn't mean adding processes designed to improve business outcomes that only frustrate everyone. This principle means giving employees what they need to make the right business decision that ultimately wins customers. It means minimizing human guardrails, manual overrides in calls to managers for complex approvals, changes, or exceptions. You've heard of the uncertainty principle in physics that says it's hard to predict how particles will behave. The good news is that because of technology like artificial intelligence, we can better predict how people will behave. Specifically, we can learn how our customers behave. So we can better serve them and earn their loyalty. Some people are not big believers in AI. They don't think the world is ready for it. Some even feel threatened by it. But we don't think of AI as a way to replace workers. We see it as a way to connect them so they can learn from each other in real time. Think about it this way. Many companies have this big annual sales meetings where reps come together to share their knowledge in sessions, panels and meetups. A good AI algorithm is like connecting with every rep in your entire organization at any given moment, not just once a year. Here's what this looks like. Let's say I'm a sales rep preparing for a customer meeting. I need to prepare pricing and final terms that will help me close the deal when I sign into my portal. I see my target offers in prices and any available discounts laid out for me based on the terms that I selected. In the background in the AI algorithm has looked at all the deals my entire sales organization has won and loss that mirrored the deal I'm trying to close. In real time, the algorithms have also examined internal and external data signals like inventory levels, competitive pricing, or commodities to give me a winning price. It's a good deal for the customer and it achieves my target margin. And because the deal falls within predefined sales guidelines, I have the autonomy to close it myself without going through a Deal Desk or a long approval process. If I'm a pricing manager instead of spending all my time parenting individual deals, I set guardrails using insights from the AI algorithms. And I can fine-tune them over time. We end up with a self-running system that gives both the rep and the managers visibility into real time market dynamics. None of this is a mystery. It's not a black box, it's a clear box. I know which data the algorithm is considering, and I know the rules it uses to make its recommendations. And I have direct fine-grained control over those rules. This is the beauty in the power of incorporating AI into your selling motion. You can learn from every outcome, the successes and the failures, and then share those learnings with every seller. No human being has the time to talk to everyone else in their organization, and they don't have the ability to crunch all the data they gather from inaccurate picture, especially in today's world where customers expect answers in real time, only computers can do that. With a continuous learning system driven by you can create a continuous learning culture at any given moment. AI algorithms can examine every deal, whether one lost or still in progress, picking out the patterns and summarize the insights to help you win. There's no better way to compare notes to share lessons from every rep. Every deal that are always up to date. In this virtual world, all of your reps can collaborate in real time to help everyone else win. You cannot do that at a sales meeting, because to thrive in this world, which is so uncertain, learning once a year, or once a quarter won't work, you need to be learning all the time. If you internalize the importance of data driven decisions and employ the tools necessary to constantly learn and adapt, you will set your employees up for success. Then, if you combine your continuous learning with an infrastructure that has automated guardrails in approval workflows, your employees gain the freedom to do their jobs with minimal approval triggers, and suddenly your team can move at the speed of business. Sheila Jordan of Honeywell is a strong advocate of employer autonomy and of using AI to make it easier for them to do a better job.

Andres Reiner: Sheila, welcome to Outperform. What do you think of this philosophy of flipping the model to one of empowering your teams with the tools they need to run at the speed of business?

Sheila Jordan: Oh, it's such a great question, and I would say that I completely concur with that, that new philosophy. And let me give you an example what we're doing in Honeywell. So as we all know, we have one. We have 110,000 employees in Honeywell and 83 countries, and sometimes the employee experience is not seamless. There's some friction in the system. We've got all these applications to do all these different kinds of work. And so last year, we introduced our first ever smart virtual assistant for the organization, which we happen to call Red and Red is the front end of which you can do all of your employee tasks, whether that's resetting your password, whether that's changing your personal email in the HR system, whether that's approving expense reports, whether it's POs. So think about all the administrative tasks one has to do, and now you can go to one, stop shopping at red and get those things done. The interesting part about Red is we use a technology that is all AI and machine learning, so it's getting smarter and smarter and smarter as it's having those interactions. In fact, we just recently used it during the pandemic. It can actually be a push messaging for certain relevant parts of our audience. So if we're returning back to the office, we can send a message back to our location or geography in India. If we're sending messages about vaccination, we can send those messages. So it really is this friend, this ongoing, you know, always with you, always on smart virtual assistant that can really help with most of the administrative tasks for our employee base. So we're super excited about using that across the organization.

Andres Reiner: That's awesome how you're building this AI tool to help every employee. So what's been your experience of using AI to help your teams win?

Sheila Jordan: Yeah, it's a great question as well. So obviously, you know, we use PROS. We're a big believer of PROS where we roll that out into all of our strategic business units and have a plan to roll that out to all of our global business entities by the end of this year. And what we're seeing is, you know, in the past, most of the data was tied up in transactional systems. So you think about your ERP or your CRM and you know, you go to those different solutions to do certain things. But you know, I've studied data for the last 20 years or so, and the reality is when you can pull that data out of the transactional systems and begin to look for insights. And again, with AI and machine learning, you can find insights of those kernels of truth that allow you to see things you otherwise wouldn't have seen. As we all know, everything in the pandemic in the last 18 months, everything as we know it has changed. We have issues in supply chain. We've got issues, you know, as we think about inflation, we're seeing inflation. So we have all these challenges that are happening. And when you can look at that information and think about that in a context of pricing, it really does change the game. We've also used our technology for the deal desk. So enabling and empowering the sales team with more pristine data around pricing and bundling and the things we get to offer just makes them smarter. And allows them to offer even a more compelling offer to our customers across the globe.

Andres Reiner: That's incredible. And I talk about AI as helping to power this continuous learning culture, you talk about harnessing data and leveraging algorithms. And I talk a little bit of how that actually helps create this continuously learning culture. What is your perspective on that?

Sheila Jordan: Yeah so I think it's fantastic and I think it's finally here. So and the reason I say that is because historically, again, we have all this information in our transactional systems and often we're running the business, looking in rears, looking in our rearview mirror. But now the technology and the technology, the software, the AI algorithms have really caught up, and it's super useful to be able to do a lot of this analytical work kind of behind the scenes and offering up those solutions. So by the nature of the technology and where we are today, it is continuous learning. When we're sleeping, it's still looking at those using those algorithms and providing knowledge and investing through that data to really create some crisp recommendations that one can use, whether it's in sales or pricing or product management or offers or even what I'm doing on the smart virtual assistant for our employees. So the time is now like it really is now that we can actually deliver on something that we've been talking about for the last five or 10 years. And leveraging that all the information and this plethora of data that sits in our organizations and our enterprise to really create it, to become meaningful insights and helpful insights that can strengthen the relationship with, you know, have the data be that we can offer to our customers the products and services that they want? We can understand what they're using and why, and that actually feeds into our product roadmap. So net net is becoming a much more frictionless and just smarter exchange with our customers.

Andres Reiner: Yeah, it's incredible how you're not only using AI and data to help your teams win more, but also to learn about your end customers and to help improve your customer loyalty. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Sheila Jordan: Yeah, it's exactly what's happening. We're, you know, we have five strategic business units across Honeywell, one of which is now the Honeywell connected enterprise. So think Honeywell is becoming a software company that we're linking together all the things in all the things across that Honeywell has traditionally sold into this offering of software so that everything's connected. So think IT OT become connected and you can actually see the efficiency of how your buildings and your real estate and your data center are being run. That is all driven by data and machine learning and AI, so we can now see all this information and data so that at any given point, I can look at it. Let's think of a global head of real estate, can look at a facility in some other location and see, is the HVAC system up, are the sensors working? Do I have my the data center servers up and running? You can actually see the capacity, the utilization and be able to take action all within the analytics because we're bringing together that AI, I'm sorry, we're bringing together that IT and OT information.

Andres Reiner: That's pretty amazing, Sheila. Thank you very much for being here at Outperform and sharing your experiences. We're grateful for the amazing partnership.

Sheila Jordan: Well, thank you. We have PROS deployed in most of our strategic businesses with a plan to finish by the end of this year, and it really is making a difference. So thank you very much.

Andres Reiner: Thank you. We're grateful. We've explored how to create certainty for employees by making it easier for them to do a better job. Now let's take a look outside of organizations to our customers. How do we create certainty for them? Think about the companies you trust and enjoy doing business with on a regular basis, when you engage with them, you feel respected, supported and important. Airlines and online retail are two great examples of industries that have been revolutionizing the end-to-end customer experience. They make the purchasing process seamless from searching for what we want to discovering product options, pricing them, buying them, tracking them, to making changes or returns to repurchasing the entire customer lifecycle is fast, convenient, simple, low hassle and ultimately fulfilling. We can get exactly what we want when we want it at the price, that feels right. In a game, it's about control. First, customers want visibility into every aspect of their relationship with us, their account, their profile, their order status, their buying history and so on. Next, customers want self-service options. The most important currency we have is time. People want what they want now. They want to place orders and access, their information at any time without having to call or wait on hold. For example, no one should ever have to reach out to a human and an airline if their plans change. Where there are managing a passenger group, travel or cargo. I should be able to do everything 100% online. If a customer has to wait for business hours to call and get what they need, we failed them. If there's this storm that wrecks havoc on travel and, everyone calls at once and no one can get through, we just add to our customer’s stress. We want to do the opposite. The easier we make it to do business with us at any time and at any place, the more loyalty we’ll capture. In the more loyalty we capture, the more we can learn what our customers want and don't want, the customer lifecycle becomes a virtuous one. Cell service generates a much richer data set for AI algorithms that drive this virtuous cycle. Based on what we learn from these algorithms, we can take better care of our customers. For example, we can remind them about reorders, encourage them to subscribe to products they order frequently, and make micro refinements to pricing. We can also make it easier for customers to find offerings that are perfect for them, like products they may really want, but didn't know we were even selling them. When we talk about creating certainty for employees and for customers, we see similar themes. Control, autonomy, visibility, transparency and moving at the speed of business, the fact is whether we're conducting business with consumers or with another business, the experiences should be the same. Nobody wants to go through a complex buying process for anything. Come to think about it. Why do we even need to separate B to B from B to C? The model should be B to P or business to people, all people, whether in our work lives or personal lives, want transacting to be fast, simple, hassle free and fulfilling. We may not have this level of convenience in every buying market, but it's not because we don't want it. It's because in some markets, companies are behind. They may use antiquated systems, including spreadsheets. Their processes may be too manual. Not only do they take too long, but they also create an inconsistent experience for customers. For example, a customer may get a completely different offer depending on the channel they use to engage with your business. Because those channels aren't connected this forces the customer to shop around even within your own company, to get your best offer. This is time consuming and frankly frustrating. Wouldn't it be better if, no matter which channel customers used to engage with us they always get the best offer created for them to fit their exact needs at that exact moment. Wouldn't it be great if we could offer them that certainty and earn their loyalty? David Neeleman is famous for giving customers what they want and what they didn't know they needed. He joins us now from somewhere on his travels. Thank you, David, for joining us. David, you're a strong believer in self serve, and in fact, when you launched Breeze airways, your vision was to make it 100% self-serve. Why?

David Neeleman: Well, you know, when I started Jet Blue, you know, the mantra was this is a customer service company just happens to buy airplanes. Well, a lot has changed in the plus years? 22 years since I started, JetBlue technology has come a long way. And people's preferences have come a long way. And one of the things that as an app user of Amazon and Uber and other Amazon have other apps, what I discovered is I don't want to call it anyone at Amazon. I don't want to talk to anyone at Uber. I want to just have my app experience. And I want it to be complete. And so when we started Breeze, this is now a technology company just happens to fly airplanes. And what that means is that we want we want people to have a complete an experience completely that's flawless execution from the minute they book their reservation until they pick up their bag at the carousel. Technology has come a long ways and we're taking advantage of that and our customers are loving it. We're seeing NPS scores that I've never seen before. Unbelievable in the 80s because people really love the experience.

Andres Reiner: That's great. Congratulations. Why do you think more businesses having adopted this philosophy?

David Neeleman: You know, that's a really good question, you know, back years ago, I mean, when I had my first airline, Morris Air, we took everyone and sent them home to do reservations. We had a call center that was 100% people were at home. And then when I started Jet Blue, it was the same thing. And you know, this was in 1999 you know, we're almost in 2022 here. And you know, you still have people that have call centers. There's absolutely no reason why people can't work from home in a call center. And I think it's just business inertia. It's control, it's whatever. But it's people start a certain way. It's really hard to right the ship and go in a different direction. And you know, it's so great to be able to start with a clean white piece of paper. When I started Jetblue, I said 100% of our people in our call center will be at home period and they are today basically 22 years later. And you know, now we've said 100% of the people will have a call less contact center. I think we've had almost 200,000 interactions with our customers since we started four four months ago. I think last year we had 71 outbound calls where people just get frustrated and said, please call me, we call them. But otherwise, we can resolve all the issues digitally without having to ever make a phone call or having them call us.

Andres Reiner: That's great. And I imagine you're learning a lot from all these digital experiences and about the customers and in their preferences, which which in turn will create a lot more loyalty.

David Neeleman: No doubt about it. I mean, I was shocked yesterday when I saw the numbers and we've been flying since the end of May. And, you know, here we are in October. 29% of all of our customers today that are bookings are repeat customers. Incredible, I've never seen that for such a short period of time, and that means that it's working and people are loving the service.

Andres Reiner: Every business can digitize the full customer experience, and not only you create more efficiency, but like you said, you actually create a more loyal customer because the experience is going to be so much better.

David Neeleman: Absolutely.

Andres Reiner: Thank you very much for joining us at Outperform. We're incredibly proud of our partnership and look forward to seeing you soon.

David Neeleman: Thanks for all you do for us. You're really helping us maximize those revenues.

Andres Reiner: We've talked about creating certainty for employees and certainty for customers in the wonderful thing is, when we do that, we create certainty for the business. We achieve better financial results by arming employees to make better business decisions and by creating a better customer experience. And the engine for this flywheel effect is continuous learning based on data. The more we learn from every successful or failed interaction, the more we can guide employees to success with each customer. And the more we learn from customer buying patterns, the more we can guide them to be more loyal with us. We start by making the right offer to win their business. The right offer is an intelligent combination of products, which includes cross-sell and upsell recommendations to meet the customer's exact needs. Then we set the right price for that offer. Customers today are much more knowledgeable of market prices to capture and retain them, we have to respond to market trends very quickly. If we're way off market, we'll lose a loyal customer instead of expanding our business with them. When we deliver the same personalized offer at the same price across every channel, we can meet the customer wherever they want to buy. And if we engage across multiple channels, they get consistent offers at consistent prices. Arming your sales team with real time data to drive wins with offers that matter to your customers at market oriented prices, will drive top line growth, higher win rates and higher profitability on those wins. This strengthens the virtuous cycle as your customers learn that they will get consistently optimal deals from you. In understanding your customers buying pattern helps you better predict demand, which helps you better predict the opportunity you have to execute against your strategy. To sum it all up, when your employees win your customers, when your company wins, everyone wins. The certainty principle for your business becomes make it easier to consistently outperform by creating certainty for your employees and your customers. Todd Mueller, Vice President of Pricing at Graybar, has been living this principle, and he's living proof that it works. I'm so happy he can be here to tell us all about it. Hi Todd, so great to see you. You talked about using AI and algorithms to help your go to market team to drive more certainty with them, can you expand a little bit on that?

Todd Mueller: Yeah sure, we we're using the PROS AI algorithms through the Guidance tool that's really helping the sales team get more and more certainty, better guidance really right at their fingertips at the time of negotiation. It's helping them both from a price and a cost perspective. So they can negotiate at the time of the order really with the customers, as well as making sure that they have the right cost on those orders. This is a dynamic. It's not your typical segment, just kind of broad-brush stroke type of guidance. It's very dynamic, really tailored to the individual customer and dynamically calculated at the time of the order. So it's something they know is really going to work. It's something that they can trust is really tailored for that customer and is going to be about the best information they can have.

Andres Reiner: It's great to see you embracing AI and algorithms to help your team win. Tell me, how have they embraced this and how has adoption been?

Todd Mueller: Yeah, so adoptions really been really good. We've had great results, there's obviously always some skeptics who feel that they know better than the tool, and frankly, some of them have 30 years experience and more contacts with their customers, so they probably do. But the vast majority of our sales reps have really been using it to great success. And, you know, I think we've been able to show that the results are there and they are the people who are using it are really seeing strong uplift.

Andres Reiner: That's great to see. And then you've seen also in this market a lot more volatility, whether it be raw material costs or inflation. How has embracing algorithms helped you with this?

Todd Mueller: So I think the algorithms have really helped us be more adaptable to the changing market dynamics. We've actually built a whole commodities piece within our application that's providing the pricing guidance that allows it to fluctuate up and down as the commodity prices are changing. So we can really respond in a very fast manner. But then you combine that with the AI learning capabilities that quickly adjust to the market dynamics. And it really makes for a winning combination. It's been something that, as I said, I can't go into the specific results, but it's shown a lot of uplift for us in the company.

Andres Reiner: It's great to see that the uplifts, have you been able you talk about receiving uplifts? Have you been able to quantify those and measure those based on your deployment?

Todd Mueller: Yeah, we did. Actually, we basically measured all of the transactions that we use the tool for and the 1/4. And compared it to the prior quarter. And we're able to very measurably see that for those transactions using the guidance that had a significant uplift in margins, which is something we've struggled with as a company, frankly, for over a decade. And this tool is really made a change for us.

Andres Reiner: That's awesome to see, Todd. Hey, thank you. We're very fortunate to have you as a customer and to be in the PROS family. Thanks for everything that you're doing to help your team succeed. We really appreciate it.

Todd Mueller: Right, Thanks.

Andres Reiner: We definitely live in interesting times because there's so much uncertainty. Everything's so different from just last year. That's why we've evolved or algorithms to give a clear view of what's happening now instead of just looking at the past. Relying on incoming data helps you manage change as it happens. Your response to what changes will be accurate for the dynamics happening right now, because making decisions based on patterns from this time last year or even last quarter won't always help you win. 2020 was a decade ago. What will help you win is being more certain when everyone else is less certain. But as I said earlier, what it means to be certain continuously evolves, so we must continue to innovate. We invest in the science in the best AI in the world because we want to provide that certainty for you, not just a transaction at a time, but for all time. We will continue to invest in innovation because we believe innovation is the only way to deliver certainty in the face of unprecedented and unpredictable change. Our passion at PROS is to be an extension of each of you. And our mission is to help you be prepared not just for what's here now, but what's here next. We're thinking about how we can help you outperform not just now, but five years from now, 10 years from now. We see Outperform each year as an opportunity to share where we think the future is going and to collaborate with our customers to ensure we're helping all of you stay ahead. Thank you all for joining us and being part of our PROS family. We're here to help you embrace this principles, to create certainty for your employees and your customers so your businesses will outperform long into the future.