Executive Interview: Oversight Systems CEO, Patrick Taylor

Oversight Systems is an Atlanta-based SaaS company founded in 2003. Oversight’s business solutions help monitor transactions by acquiring data and analyzing it to detect erroneous, fraudulent or wasteful transactions. Oversight’s solutions are specialized for Travel and Expense, Purchase Cards and Procure to Pay services. These solutions can be purchased separately or bundled to suit a business’s needs.  Oversight recently announced its new automated transaction monitoring solution for Accounts Payable (AP) FCPA/Anti-bribery and Corruption Risk.  Together with its Travel & Expense (T&E) FCPA solution, they enable companies to efficiently identify and remediate potential anti-bribery and corruption risks.  Companies using Oversight typically reduce the cost of process compliance by over 50 percent and can increase the overall scope of their auditing capabilities.

Oversight Systems was founded by current President and CEO, Patrick Taylor. Mr. Taylor first came to Atlanta to pursue a degree at Georgia Tech. Afterwards he attended Harvard’s Business School where he obtained his MBA. Mr. Taylor has over 25 years of experience in the business/software industry, working for companies like Oracle, Red Brick Systems and Symantec. He was also the VP of Marketing for Internet Security Systems (ISS, now IBM), Air2Web and Nexidia before founding Oversight in 2003.

Tell us about the target market for Oversight Systems.

Oversight delivers analysis. Under the hood we have AI capabilities. What we’ve got that’s very unique is domain expertise, so we’re able to go clients and say, “for travel expense this is kind of analysis you should be doing.” We offer a turn-key approach by integrating analytics into our product. Companies can focus on improving their business instead of designing analytics.

Tell us about the problem Oversight addresses for its customers?

Most of our customers are generally large corporations. They are interested in controlling their business processes (e.g. travel expenses, p-card, expenditure-related business processes). One of the things businesses want to focus on is the elimination of waste. Our customers are already trying to do that. If you look at all of the choices available today, you can easily try to randomly sample some of the transactions and try to inspect them yourselves. The problem with trying to do that is that a small percentage of your employees or a small percentage of your vendors cause virtually all of the problems. You find that 10 percent of the people cause the majority of the issues. So when you’re pulling out a sample, most of the things you’re looking at are going to be okay. That confirms that most of the people in the world are trying to do that right thing, but when you are used to looking at samples that are okay, you start expecting everything to be okay. What we bring to the table is that we bring advanced algorithms and AI techniques to show customers more interesting data. We bring back maybe three percent of transactions. So instead of randomly sampling 20 percent of transactions, we say, “hey, look at these.” All of these samples might not be worth investigating, but they’re at least interesting to look at. To go back to the “needle in a haystack” analogy, we’re going to at least deliver to you a pile of sharp things.

What do you find to be a key differentiator Oversight brings to this space?

Obviously there are lots of analytics solutions. There’s a lot of BI tools and offerings. The difference between us and them is that they bring you the analytical tools to use, but now you have to come up with the analysis and algorithms. We have customers like Google and GE who need a finished product. They’ve only got so much time to build a unit for analysis. What really is unique about us is the time we cut out by delivering a pre-built solution that integrates with most spend management solutions such as Concur, TSYS, Oracle, SAP, and major credit card providers such as American Express, Visa and MasterCard.  We say “We think you should be able to control your financial operations.” We think about analytics; we bring domain expertise embedded in solution.

Tell us about the type of customer using your product.

We primarily serve companies with over $500 million in revenue, but really the number of transactions is a better measure of a company need for Oversight. Specifically, our users are people in the finance departments and those controlling these types of transactions. As long as you care about controlling the waste and risks [compliance]  in those business processes, we’re going to be a good fit. Over time, I expect to see smaller companies using our solution.

What can we expect to see from Oversight in the next year?

Over the next year we will continue to develop our solution and stick in the business processes. We’ve recently been working in the international market. Business start asking things like, “Should we go ahead and change currencies from dollars to euros and do any transactions?” What we do is help identify companies that are going to be problems. If the exchange rate going through a particular company is higher than average or than it should be, for example, we can identify that and help save money.

Tell us about your personal involvement in StartUp Atlanta.

I first came to Atlanta to attend Georgia Tech’s business school. I spent some time after that in Silicon Valley and getting into the startup business world myself. John Imlay had a huge impact on startups in Atlanta and inspired many including me. He made it his personal mission to help emerging companies. It’s not just how I can help, but I want to help. It’s important to give back, and frankly, it’s rewarding to give back. That’s the way I started getting involved. I want to see people with an interesting product idea and try to figure out what we can ask them to help them get to the next level. That’s how I tie into StartUp Atlanta and other companies with similar initiatives.

Tell us about the training and support available for your product.

We’re fortunate because you don’t need to learn detailed programming to use our product. Most of our training occurs in two ways. One, there’s some in-user training that’s not terribly difficult. People generally get the basics of using our user interface, but some of the finer details come later. We like to try to give training for the solution in layers. The second area where we do support and training is actually around how you use our solution for your analysis. It’s not so much how does the program work, but rather how do you make this work for your company. We have a lot of companies using this product, so fortunately we have a lot of experience to draw from when helping new customers.

Is there a demo or free trial available?

The test drive is a little different than a demo in that what we’ll do is that we’ll take 90 days of your data and perform the analysis on it. So it’s more than a demo. You’ll get to see how our product works for your company. It gives you meaningful data for you to understand how we work. We have an interesting philosophy: We treat our prospects like customers and our customers like prospects. As a prospect, you’re going to see exactly what you would get as a customer. When I say we treat our customers like prospects, one of the things we do with our contracts is that they are all cancelable at your convenience. That means any month you want to quit, you can. We want you to be happy and satisfied every single month. We don’t want to have the mentality of, “Their contract is almost up, it’s time to come around and make them happy.” We know that you need to be happy every month. We don’t deserve your money and your business if you’re not. It puts pressure on us to deliver, and it comforts customers to know that they are going to be taken care of. We better be able to do what we say we’re going to do.

When is the next opportunity where a potential customer can connect with you?

Most of our actual customer interactions occur online via webX or over the phone. We do go to the National Association of Purchasing Card Professionals (NAPCP) conference amongst a few other trade shows throughout the year. The easiest way to get in touch with us is through our website.

Additional Resources

Try Oversight Test Drive

Download Oversight Spend Analysis Report

Connect with Oversight Systems

Rebecca Seasholtz

Rebecca is a senior Materials Science and Engineering major at Georgia Tech. She specializes in soft materials (i.e. plastics and textiles) and has also worked extensively with functional materials for electrical applications. Rebecca is originally from Grayson, GA and likes to spend her free time running, cycling, drinking coffee, or hanging around the campus house of a ministry she attends at Georgia Tech. Contact Rebecca at [email protected]