Travel and Expense

People, processes, and the planet: Create a win-win-win situation with SAP Concur

Camilla Cooper |

Ensuring business travel is worthwhile and risk-free is increasingly challenging. With 90% of senior finance leaders agreeing their key task is to prepare for the unexpected, even rock-solid travel programs and well-crafted travel policies must be ready to change. Whether it’s economic, regulatory, social, or sustainability concerns, the complexity of a simple business trip has never been greater. 

In this blog we’ll highlight three SAP Concur customers who have successfully balanced the needs of employees with their business goals and the health of the planet. By doing so, they are on the path to a more prosperous and resilient future.

Is my business trip worthwhile? 

Today, business travel must deliver a lot of value to a lot of stakeholders. 

Balancing the needs of employees, the business, and the planet means that every travel booking must deliver rigorous duty of care whilst adhering to ever-changing industry regulations. It must also be fully justifiable in terms of policies, cost, and the environment.  

Before anyone hits the “book it” button, they should ask three important questions: 

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Answering these questions isn’t always easy. By giving business travelers the tools to make the best choices, you’re a step closer to achieving a balance that is pleasing to everyone and is also best for the business. 

What are the challenges facing travel and finance managers today? 

Over two thirds (67%) of business travelers say that travel is critical for their career advancement. But they want to do it on their own terms.  

Duty of care and autonomy over changing itineraries is important, with 88% of business travelers forced to take unanticipated steps like spending more time on a trip or using alternate transportation methods in the past 12 months because of unexpected delays, cancellations, or the need to re-route. 

Virtually all (92%) would decline a business trip for reasons like safety, social, or environmental concerns or the potential impact on their work-life balance.  

In particular, 24% would decline a trip that lacked the flexibility they expect to make adjustments to the trip outside of company policy. And this push back could come up against company priorities, given that 42% of travelers believe their businesses are prioritizing cost cutting over travel flexibility. 

For travel managers this means their job has become even more difficult. More than two in five travel managers (42%) anticipate company directives to cut travel costs amidst ongoing challenges will make their job more difficult in the next 12 months, while 31% find successfully managing travel spend difficult because they don’t have access to all travel and expense (T&E) data. 

38 percent of travel managers anticipate a more difficult year ahead due to travelers not using company tools to book or update their travel plans — yet 30% of travelers have been forced to book travel directly with suppliers due to unexpected changes to their schedules.  

Nearly all travel managers (99%) experience disconnects between the tasks their company expects them to perform and the tools, support, and budget provided.  

Managers are asked to demonstrate ROI, yet 34% do not have the right data and tools to accomplish this, while a third have been asked to take on a more strategic role but were not provided with additional training or education. 

How can an automated T&E solution help solve these problems? 

With an automated spend management system you can reach two important goals at once — clamp down on out-of-policy spend while giving employees more autonomy to choose the most suitable, safe, and sustainable option for them.  

The result? The employee is happier, the environment benefits, and your business gets full visibility and control of employee spend. Finance managers can track what’s being spent and make smarter T&E budgeting decisions, supporting business expansion and optimization. 

Let’s look at how three organizations have worked with SAP Concur to optimize their T&E programs, meeting the growing expectations of employees, as well as ever-changing business and sustainability goals. 

Campari Group: Empowering employees to go further 

Innovation is at the heart of the Campari Group, makers of the iconic drink that has over 50 brands in over 190 countries. It roots its success in its employees — or “camparistas” — by harnessing digital innovation to make life easier. 

What did Campari Group want to achieve? 

Campari Group wanted a seamless and hassle-free travel employee experience. This meant considering the preferences and duty of care needs of employees, as well as ensuring optimal safety and wellbeing. 

The Group were looking to transform and standardize the process and needed a digital solution to do this. They wanted more robust reporting and tracking metrics as well as a seamless experience for their employees. 

There also needed to be localization functionality to accommodate variations in regulations, cultural norms, and business practices across different countries where the Group operates. 

Finally, the Group wanted to be able to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the travel program and the impact of travel expenses on business outcomes, identify areas for improvement, and optimize spending for better financial governance. 

How SAP Concur helped Campari Group 

Campari Group implemented the Concur Expense and Concur Travel modules in waves, focusing on regions with similar needs. It created customized guides and reference materials, made accessible via their intranet, to promote adoption of the organization’s Business Travel Service program. Campari Group also integrated credit card transactions and audit services for expense reports.  

This unified “One Policy, One Agency, One Tool” approach ensured consistency and transparency in travel policies and processes, and simplified governance, enhanced accountability, and promoted efficiency within the organization. 

“Our mission is to streamline the travel experience, guarantee safety and security for employees, while fostering a sustainable travel culture. With Concur, we can integrate partners that help us with the duty of care to offer travelers all the tools to travel safely,” says William Cocco, Global Travel Manager at Campari Group. 

To learn how the Campari Group put its employees first, watch the video. 

KUKA: Harmonizing policies and compliance  

In countries like Germany with complex tax regulations, effective spend management is crucial for optimizing costs and maximizing profits. Prior to adopting SAP Concur solutions, KUKA’s employees were forced to itemize expense reports with the appropriate tax rates for every hotel and entertainment line item, which was time-consuming, complicated, and frustrating.  

What did KUKA want to achieve? 

By standardizing travel policies across different regions, KUKA wanted to simplify compliance, reduce confusion, and facilitate better control over travel-related expenses. By integrating travel systems, it aimed to centralize the management and reduce the IT costs associated with maintaining multiple systems. 

To improve productivity and efficiency, it wanted to simplify expense submission processes and reduce the time required to fill out forms. This would mean quicker reimbursement, improved cash flow management, and reduced administrative overheads for both employees and finance teams. 

How SAP Concur helped KUKA 

The KUKA team — including stakeholders from within finance, IT, HR and travel — worked together to develop a simple finance process, connected to their existing SAP ERP. Concur Travel and Concur Expense helps users navigate the complex tax rules in Germany, especially around the hotel and entertainment categories, which led to maximized cost control and profits. 

“After implementing our solution, users can create their hotel and entertainment line items seven times faster and the submission time has decreased. And from the processor side, they are finding less errors and they need to return less expense reports,” says Zeta Lazar, Team Lead at SAP, KUKA 

To watch how KUKA simplified its finance process, watch the video. 

Standard Chartered Bank: For sustainability, seeing is believing 

With a long history of providing banking services and creating wealth, jobs, and growth in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Standard Chartered is embracing finance transformation, including an initiative called Project Aspire. 

What did Standard Chartered want to achieve? 

A key goal of Project Aspire is to incentivize sustainable behaviors and support eco-friendly initiatives. 

The bank also wanted to be able to forecast and track travel spend more reliably to provide valuable insights for budgeting, resource allocation, and decision-making. By more efficiently managing expenses, it wanted to identify cost-saving opportunities and optimize travel-related investments. 

This meant simplifying and consolidating T&E policies to streamline the process for employees and reducing administrative overhead for the organization. It wanted clear, concise rules that make it easier for employees to understand and adhere to travel and sustainability policies, leading to improved visibility, compliance, and cost control. 

How SAP Concur helped Standard Chartered Bank 

SAP Concur allowed Standard Chartered to integrate sustainability principles into everyday decisions. This includes the WalkMe functionality that pops up to advise on carbon impact when booking flights and taking taxis. A Taxi Tax scheme allows employees to opt to contribute 5% of the reimbursement to a central fund that is utilized for sustainability initiatives. 

The bank also condensed 67 pages of legalese into a simple two-pager with easy-to-understand principles and rules that are easily adaptable to change.  

"Our spend visibility has dramatically improved with the implementation of SAP Concur. We now have the capability to forecast flight costs, hotel, and sundry expenses and adjust guidelines accordingly to meet business objectives,” says Warren Forgas, Chief Operating Officer, Supply Chain Management at Standard Chartered Bank. 

To discover how the suite of SAP Concur solutions elevated Standard Chartered, watch the video. 

Three benefits of an effective T&E spend management strategy 

Intelligent, automated spend management allow organizations to respond effectively to changing market conditions, regulatory requirements, and stakeholder expectations, ensuring continued relevance and success.  Here are three ways it can benefit your business. 

1. Employee experience: By prioritizing ease of travel and considering the preferences and the evolving needs of employees, businesses can enhance the overall employee experience, boost productivity, and ensure duty of care. Nearly 2 in 5 travel managers are expected to support travelers’ duty of care without visibility into all travel – a predicament that no doubt adds to their stress. 

2. Compliance and forecasting: Centralizing spend management leads to simplified compliance, reduced confusion, and better forecasting of travel-related expenses. This allows you to retain control as the business grows. Over half of finance leaders are investing in data analytics and reporting tools to tackle forecasting challenges.  

3. Sustainability: Leveraging technology like SAP Concur can make sustainability initiatives tangible and actionable, fostering awareness and accountability among employees. Four out of five leaders see sustainability as helping their organization to optimize and reduce costs. For support on building sustainability into your travel program, use our Sustainability Policy Template

The new SAP Concur Travel — it’s time to move! 

If these organizations can raise their game, so can you. It’s now even easier with the new Concur Travel, which includes a richer consumer-grade user experience, supporting an intuitive, streamlined, faster process across mobile and desktop.  

With a renewed focus on sustainability and robust compliance, the new Concur Travel forges even better integration with Concur Expense for an end-to-end T&E process that scales as you grow — and as the world changes — so you are prepared for whatever is up ahead. 

“I love the new look of the site — much cleaner than before. The additional information provided for airfare is extremely helpful when selecting flights. Same for the additional hotel information. I love the photo gallery! Overall, the site is much closer to the many consumer sites our travelers are used to seeing.” –  Travel and Expense Analyst 

“I love the new look where after searching for flights, it shows you more of a list that allows you to filter for the most relevant flight for your needs (especially by number of stops and carrier). This seems to be so much easier than the previous grid!” – Traci Brooks, Senior Manager-Corporate Accounting, United Therapeutics Corporation 

Learn more about Concur Travel today.



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