How what3words Used Visibility of Their Stack to Reduce Software Spend

We spoke to Financial Controller Charlie Maynard on why what3words switched to Cledara, and how it’s been helping their processes.

Charlie Maynard
Computer software
London, UK
Software count

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Chances are, you’ve heard of innovative location technology what3words (W3W).

The company has divided the world into a grid of three-meter squares and given each square a unique combination of three random words: a what3words address. This allows users across the globe to find, share and navigate to precise locations using just three simple words. For example, the entrance to Cledara’s HQ can be found at ///

W3W is used in over 170 countries by thousands of businesses across numerous industries, governments, NGOs and even in disaster response operations. 

The company has raised over $136 million in capital from investors such as Intel, Aramex, Deutsche Bahn, Subaru and the Sony Innovation Fund and back in April, when they also switched to Cledara to manage their software subscriptions in one place. 

This last detail piqued our interest so we sat down with Financial Controller Charlie Maynard to learn more. 

Charlie joined what3words in May 2020 and is building a promising career at the company, having been promoted twice since joining. Actually, we like to believe that his promotions coincided with him bringing Cledara into the organization. Ok, that may be a stretch... But either way, it’s a great outcome!

“Just in the process of setting up Cledara, we’ve reduced our software spend by over 10%.”

Preventing overspend thanks to better visibility

“Before Cledara, we put most of our software and office expenses on one card," Charlie explains.

“In our minds, we were just making it as simple as possible but as we scaled, having all of our expenses on one card made things painfully difficult to track. Although we had certain controls in place, our manual system simply wasn't enough to help us track the expenses and budget owners.”

This lack of control and visibility made them potentially vulnerable to overspend.

How Cledara helped

Today, Charlie has full visibility over every single software subscription and enjoys visibility and control all in one place. 

“We can now very easily see what the teams are spending and who is in charge of each subscription. And we can check and update budgets when we need, if someone needs to upgrade a plan.”

But it’s not just about making it easy. Cledara has also actively cut costs. 

“Just in the process of setting up Cledara, we’ve reduced our software spend by over 10% because we have caught a lot of subscriptions that did the same thing and we don’t need anymore.”

“I'd say that today we have increased visibility and increased control over everything, and that has enabled us to stay focused on growing what3words.

Month-end becomes a breeze

“Our month-end was a bit of a nightmare before Cledara,” Charlie recalls.  

“It all fell on our bookkeeper and me and it took a huge amount of time and resources to work out where the transactions are coming from and who were the right people to chase for invoices. You also are conscious of wasting other people's time, so you want to get it right.”

“And then there is the chasing itself. No one wants to chase and no one wants to be chased.” Not an ideal situation but one all too familiar to most finance teams.

How Cledara helped

“Cledara’s invoice automation saves us easily 8-10 hours a month.”

“And I love the fact that you can see who spends what. The transaction flow is really smooth and it integrates well with our processes. It’s really a game changer.”

Less friction, better collaboration

Before Cledara entered the picture, any subscription decision needed to go through Charlie. Pretty soon he felt like he was an unnecessary bottleneck for approving budgets, sharing card details ensuring teams had access to the software they needed. 

How Cledara helped

“Today, we don't have to remind people about expenses and receipts because they know what they're responsible for every month. That makes it much more efficient on our side.”

“We can just agree, assign that card and off they go. That gives us more control, but it also gives team managers more responsibility and more accountability for their spend.”

Charlie’s highlight - UX that requires no training at all!

“I really love Cledara’s user experience. It's really, really simple. With other software we roll out to our teams, we often get many more questions."

“But with Cledara, people just knew pretty much straight away how to get started and use it. They had their invite, they could see exactly what they've been assigned and the cards they needed to get the software they needed. It’s brilliant!”

The free what3words app, available for iOS and Android, and the online map enable people to find, share and navigate to what3words addresses in over 50 languages to date.

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