Guest Post: SAP Concur’s Voice Assistant Technology Is Bringing Consumerization To The Corporate World

By Kevin Craig, Managing Director, Canada, SAP Concur

Over the last few years we’ve seen the market for voice assistants grow rapidly — estimated to reach $7.5 billion by 2024. While assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are more commonly marketed to simplify life at home, their role at the office is saving businesses significant time and money.

Conversational interfaces are one of the fast-growing trends in tech, and voice assistants have helped bridge the gap between consumer convenience and workplace efficiency. The list of business applications for virtual assistants keeps growing.

Alexa for Business, announced this past November, is one of many new technologies based on trigger-response programs. Voice bots and interfaces, chatbots, and messaging platforms are each capable of capturing and filtering key information and delivering customized responses to users.

For example, SAP Concur—a leading travel, expense and invoice management company— recently announced integration with Alexa for Business, allowing business travellers to ask Alexa about upcoming business trips, flights, hotel bookings, and transportation.

Employees just have to link their SAP Concur account to Amazon, and their voice seamlessly triggers a personalized experience. Workers simply have to say: “Alexa, ask Concur” to access their latest business travel information. They can ask Alexa questions like, “When do I leave for my next business trip?” “What is my flight number?” “What hotel do I have booked?” Alexa will then be able to sort through the traveler’s bookings in the Concur system to retrieve the information.

This development represents a massive shift in workplace productivity and efficiency. Users no longer have to be concerned about keeping records, forgetting about minute trip details—all of this data is stored within SAP Concur software and can be accessed simply by asking Alexa about it.

Alexa for Business also has the power to place conference calls through companies like Cisco, incorporate calendars from Office365 and Google’s G Suite, and access Salesforce data.

SAP Concur has been working on the development of other virtual assistant platforms that seek to improve workplace efficiency. For example, we created a Concur Expense on Slack bot to bring SAP Concur to users, in Slack, where many customers spend several hours a day. With the bot, you can interact with Concur Travel and Expense in a conversational manner, sending requests instead of navigating webforms. This means you can type simple notes and instantly retrieve travel and expense information.

Virtual assistants are bringing the business world into the 21st century, introducing a consumer-driven experience that bridges the gap between convenience and workplace efficiency.

 

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