Archive for Concur

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

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 30, 2018 by itnerd

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.



5 Tech Trends Influencing SMB & ENT Businesses in 2018: SAP Concur

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 9, 2018 by itnerd

With 2018 here, here are a few insights from executives at global travel and spend management company, SAP Concur, on what technology trends will shape businesses big and small and impact employees most in the new year. Here are the topline trends:

  • The sophistication of small business. Historically, enterprise tools have been too costly for small businesses but in 2018, small businesses will adopt cloud-based enterprise tools at a faster pace to enhance business functions.

Historically, enterprise tools have come with an enterprise cost, effectively pricing out many technologies for small businesses. Not anymore. The rise of the cloud has leveled the playing field by ushering in a world of web-based apps that are cost-effective for small businesses to deploy as they position themselves for rapid growth. In the coming year, small businesses will adopt cloud-based enterprise tools at a faster pace to enhance business functions. For example, we expect technology will help small businesses tackle traditional functions such as corporate travel management as well as take advantage of emerging technologies like chatbots. We will also see small businesses prioritize enterprise tools that are built to scale, poising them for growth while growing alongside them. – Christal Bemont, SVP and GM of the Small, Midsized and Nationals Business Unit, SAP Concur

  • Preferences, predictive analytics, and personalization will change everything, including business travel.

“Technology is surpassing business travellers where they are and forecasting their next move. Predictive analytics will transform the traveller experience by anticipating, recommending and booking optimal travel itineraries based on past experiences, calendars, user profiles and preferred loyalty programs. Advanced technologies will take personalized travel experiences even further with customized room temperature, amenities and entertainment preferences ready upon arrival. On top of that, virtual concierges will offer 24/7 assistance to book dinner reservations, reschedule meeting spaces and request rides.”– John Dietz, Vice President, Concur Labs, SAP Concur

  • Conventional expense reports are no more as businesses embrace paperless processes and a greater breadth of payment and reimbursement options.

As advanced technologies become further integrated into travel and spend management software, expense reporting will automatically happen in the background and save employees time to focus on business priorities. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and scanning recognition technologies will continue to eliminate manual expense reporting tasks, while paper receipts will become obsolete with the standardization of e-receipts and countries like France, Spain, China and Japan deregulating paper receipt documentation and validation. Machine learning and automation advancements will also make it easier to spot patterns across data, leading to a decline in expense fraud. In tandem, non-traditional payment technologies like Blockchain and vCards will fundamentally change the way transactions and reimbursements are handled, becoming the new norm for managed travel programs. – Hendrik Vordenbaeumen, Vice President of Product Management, SAP Concur

  • Business traveller safety to remain a C-suite level priority, and turn to analytics to solve it.

In light of recent events and natural disasters, business traveller safety is a growing concern. When employees are traveling, the business is responsible for their well-being and safety, and yet GBTA found that nearly one in three travel managers do not know how long it would take their company to confirm the safety of every employee after an incident. This is a c-level responsibility and executives need to be assured their company can reach and account for their travellers during emergencies. In the year ahead, we expect duty of care to remain at the top of c-level priorities. Businesses will continue scrutinizing their data, systems, processes and procedures to determine how they can improve their ability to locate and communicate with their employees when the unfortunate occurs. Mike Eberhard, President, SAP Concur

  • Invisible employee spending becomes visible (and manageable) with data

Employees are gaining more access to and will spend more of corporate funds across more spend categories using more payment methods than ever before. This trend is poised to heat up as even more GenZ workers hit the workforce and are paying more supplier invoices directly with company checks; booking and managing travel directly on their mobile devices; and using corporate, ghost, virtual, or even personal cards for just about everything.  This employee-initiated spend has fast become the largest unmanaged spend category in almost every company’s financial program largely due to the fact that there’s minimal or no forethought or oversight from finance and procurement managers into this spending. It doesn’t have to be this way. The technologies available to automate and track this spending have caught up with technologies used to spend the money. The future is here. With a better understanding of where employee spend is really happening and the categories it comes from, finance and procurement managers can develop a strategy to better manage it proactively and ultimately save money. – Guy La Corte, GM of Americas Enterprise Business, SAP Concur

Find out more about SAP Concur here.

Concur Finds That Business Travellers Like Uber In Quebec

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 27, 2017 by itnerd

With the news that Uber is potentially leaving Quebec because of a disagreement between them and the provincial government over rules for ride sharing companies, Concur took a look at their data and found that Uber had a huge amount of growth with business travellers to the province earlier this year.

As it turns out, business travelers to Quebec are going to miss Uber when it goes. Concur, which represents 57 per cent of the global business travel and expense management industry, found that businesses travellers have been increasing their use of Uber in Quebec in the first half of the year, demonstrating that consumer habits are bleeding into corporate travel preferences.

Concur compared Uber usage among business travellers from Q1 2017 to Q2 2017, finding:

  • Uber transactions among business travelers in Quebec are up 37.4 per cent quarter over quarter.
  • Users expensing Uber in Quebec are up 45.7 per cent.
  • Spend on Uber in Quebec is up 42.9 per cent.
  • Companies with employees expensing Uber rides in Quebec are up 33.1 per cent.

Will this sort of data help get the two sides in this dispute closer together? We’ll have to see. October 14th is the date that Uber plans to exit the province if they can’t come to an agreement.

Concur Makes Three Announcements At GBTA 2017

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 17, 2017 by itnerd

This weekend Concur announced a number of new offerings to improve corporate travel at the annual GBTA Convention 2017. Here is a short summary of announcements:

  • Concur announced an expanded partnership with Airbnb. Corporate travellers will be able to search for and book Airbnb listings embedded within the Concur Travel platform. Itineraries and e-receipts will also sync with Concur Expense.  This is the first time Airbnb listings will appear on a corporate travel partner’s platform.
  • Concur announced the availability of Concur Locate and Active Monitoring, which gives businesses the tools they need fulfill their duty of care and find, inform and communicate vital information with employees who are travelling in minutes during times of crisis and uncertainty.
  • Concur Travel has new features that reduce time and costs associated with booking and managing travel. The features include new TripLink supplier connections and increased adoption, virtual cards for hotel bookings and branded fares to offer low-cost airfares bundled with select travel perks.

Concur Locate and Active Monitoring is available now. The Airbnb offerings and new Concur Travel features will become available in the coming months.

Airbnb Listings Now Available Within Concur

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 14, 2017 by itnerd

Concur today announced the availability to view and book Airbnb listings embedded within Concur Travel.

Embedded listings allow travelers to search for Airbnb listings directly on the search results page of the Concur online booking tool. The tighter integration will deliver greater flexibility for businesses to offer alternative lodging choices to business travelers within their existing travel management program and policy framework while delivering the ease of use customers have come to rely on from Concur, with itineraries and e-receipts being automatically fed back to Concur to simplify expense reports. Concur is now the only online business travel booking tool with Airbnb listings.

Airbnb usage continues to show strong growth over time, with the number of business travelers expensing Airbnb accommodations increasing by 33% year-over-year in Q2 2017.  In fact, employees from more than 250,000 companies in over 230 countries and territories use Airbnb for work. Concur Travel connects users seamlessly, while allowing organizations to maintain control over spend and compliance with corporate and regulatory requirements.

Airbnb listings are expected to be available in the coming months. For more information, visit the Airbnb blog.

Concur Launches Operations In South Korea

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 1, 2017 by itnerd

Concur, an SAP company and the world’s leading provider of travel, expense and invoice management solutions, today announced its expansion into South Korea. Concur will join SAP’s Seoul office offering Expense solutions to large conglomerates, enterprise businesses and multi-national companies with operations in South Korea.

Barry Long has been appointed as Vice President of Global Sales, Asia Pacific for Concur, and Jaesung Kim is Head of Sales for Concur Korea. Concur will be building out additional sales, solution consulting, marketing, service delivery and business development teams in the coming months.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, among its current customer base in Korea, Concur saw more than 125 percent year-over-year growth in expense transactions, and more than 113 percent growth in reimbursed expense spend. According to the Global Business Travel Association’s BTI Outlook, total South Korean business travel spend was $32.6 billion in 2015. The BTI Outlook projects spend volume will grow at a rate of 4.4 percent per year through 2020, outpacing the 2.6 to 2.8 percent economic growth.

South Korea currently ranks among the top 10 countries for business travel spend, according to the Global Business Travel Association. With today’s launch in South Korea, Concur is now operating in all 10 of the top global markets for business travel.

SAP, which acquired Concur in 2014, will help fuel Concur’s go-to-market strategy in South Korea. Concur offers a fully connected travel, expense and invoice platform ecosystem that integrates its products, suppliers and partners. This open platform connects spend data to deliver insights that help customers and partners run their businesses more efficiently.



Concur Unveils First Integrated Traveler Risk Management Solution & Active Monitoring Service

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 15, 2017 by itnerd

With heightened uncertainty around the world – from terrorist attacks to severe weather –businesses identify travel security as one of their top challenges in 2017.

To address this issue, Concur today unveiled the first integrated traveler risk management offering – Risk Messaging and Active Monitoring – to help businesses find and share critical information with employees at a moment’s notice during a crisis.

Concur, the world’s largest provider of travel and expense management solutions, is uniquely positioned to deliver this offering.

  • Risk Messaging leverages Concur’s comprehensive travel and expense data set, giving travel managers immediate visibility into employees that may be at risk and empowering them to take action.
  • Active Monitoring services include 24/7 monitoring, communication and assistance services – from pre-travel guidance to emergency safety information.
  • This can be severe weather, global health crises or terrorism attacks – anywhere in the world, at any time of day. For example, following terrorist attacks in Nice, France, Concur was able to locate employees within the hour.

Concur previewed new travel risk management capabilities at its annual Fusion customer conference in Chicago. Concur Risk Messaging and Active Monitoring will become available to global customers in 2017.