Q&A with Black Diamond CEO, Randy Werder
What does Black Diamond do?
Black Diamond brings direct insight and visibility to the performance of an organization. We are the largest global advisor of OneStream Software, the world’s leader in Enterprise Performance Management. How advanced a company’s finance and operations reporting capabilities are directly links to overall performance. This is where we focus.
Many articles have been written about the value of “cloud financials” but it comes down to two basic principles. First, we skip all of the layers of inefficiency and bring technology directly to the finance and business unit leaders to let them self serve the information they need. Second, we dramatically increase the financial and operational competency of everyone in the organization.
What’s your vision for changing the way finance is done in today’s digital world? What is Black Diamond’s broader mission?
We are working with many clients on what comes next after digital, and our broader mission is to provide practical examples of next generation analytics and performance signaling. Even after 30 years of technology and innovation investment in finance and accounting there continues to be a large gap in the way processes are actually done. We are “pre-internet” in the way these processes will be executed in the future and everything will change drastically. Today access to information, trends and basic analysis is difficult, but AI and Machine Learning is changing this and leading the way in how we operate. We see a vision in the very near future where almost every core process in finance and accounting will be digital and automated. Where we will be creating applications (similar to the iphone) for purpose built analysis and scenario modeling.
There are a lot of vendors in the Cloud Financial Close and Cloud Financial Planning & Analysis categories, but you’ve gone all in on OneStream. Why?
The origin story of OneStream helps explain our rationale to be 100% committed to this particular company and platform. The founders of OneStream were the original creators of Hyperion Software, which at one point owned 80% of the CPM market. Hyperion transitioned to Oracle through acquisition and basically died a slow death, very little innovation or new capability was introduced. The leaders of OneStream, and all of us who had worked with the technology, knew that Hyperion had been a good start but there was so much more possibility.
OneStream set out to do something that had never been done, bring all of the disparate technologies and capabilities into a single solution and data model including financial reporting, budgeting, analytics, tax, account recs and much more. OneStream was created 100% in the cloud and is now the standard platform for innovation in finance and operational reporting – similar to how Salesforce is seen for customer success..
You are OneStream’s fastest growing global partner and won the 2022 Partner Innovation Award. What makes you such a great partner?
Several of the leaders of Black Diamond have come from the top consulting firms in the industry, and while we all learned a lot, none of them were that great to work for. When Black Diamond was founded we tried very hard to create an environment we would want to work in and be proud of. Our people have a passion for OneStream and for solving client problems, and we try very hard to support this in every way possible. We provide full transparency to all of our employees in our performance, challenges and successes and work to almost do the opposite of everyone else in our industry. We have something special at Black Diamond and we strive to protect it. And most importantly we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
Black Diamond works with some of the biggest companies in the world. Why do so many Fortune 500 companies choose a relatively new service provider as their partner for digital finance transformation?
The leaders and team at Black Diamond have been pioneers in the CPM industry and most of us have 15+ years of consulting and corporate experiences leading transformation and innovation. While the firm is relatively new, our experience isn’t. Customers get that and appreciate our focus on the platform they’ve chosen. We founded Black Diamond to be 100% dedicated to OneStream and this focus has allowed us to build an incredible track record of success. We learn something new about OneStream everyday, and our willingness to share our knowledge openly with the OneStream community has also brought us a lot of awareness and recognition for our skills.
You and your Chairman, Carl Yost, started Black Diamond a few months before the pandemic hit. How did that experience shape you and the company?
The resolve we had for Black Diamond and OneStream was unrelenting and we never wavered in our belief that we were building something important. If anything the pandemic gave us more courage to keep moving forward. We doubled down and hired a lot of people at the height of the pandemic, and continued to hire all throughout the shutdown. This growth in a difficult time proved to be foundational in our story and we are grateful to every client and employee who trusted us.
Black Diamond was named by Silicon Review as one of the 50 fastest growing companies in 2022. What do you think is the secret to this kind of growth and how do you sustain it?
We created Black Diamond to be the destination of choice for anyone who wanted to make their career in OneStream. We learn from each other every day and the collaboration that has come through a remote work environment has really helped. In order to sustain the growth, our people must continue to deliver challenging projects to great customers. OneStream was built on 100% customer success and we all live this every day. Our future success is tied directly to the enjoyment we get out of helping each customer on their OneStream journey.
Black Diamond is a tech-enabled services company at its core, and invests quite a bit in products and accelerators that extend the OneStream platform. Why is this such a focus for you and so needed in this space?
The power of OneStream is the power of the platform. There are endless possibilities for value from point specific solutions from ITFM, Strategic Finance or People Planning, to enterprise solutions in Healthcare or Financial Services. The Black Diamond OneStream framework is recognized as one of the most innovative solutions in the market and we have a strong foundation on which to build future products and solutions.
Why do you think Tercera is a great partner for you in this journey?
This was an easy decision for Black Diamond. Many of the other investment partners didn’t see the full potential of OneStream and cloud services. The line between service provider and software company is really blurring with the cloud revolution, and Tercera was fully committed to technology and services that would create the most value for customers and employees. The more time we spent with them the more we liked and respected them. One story that solidified our view of Tercera is when our operations manager commented on how much she liked working with them, and how respectful they were to her and everyone else on our team. Let’s just say Tercera is unique in the way the treat and respect everyone and that was very important to us.