By the time you move onto Phase II of your Concur implementation, you’ve hopefully acquired lessons learned from your first implementation and can now focus on making sure future roll-outs are as efficient as possible.
We advise clients of a few best practices when looking to streamline Phase II Concur Expense implementations.These include:
- Ensure local market readiness.A readiness assessment helps a) confirm if a market is ready for a Concur implementation, and b) foresee any possible project delays or potential issues.It’s a good idea to look back at the Phase I Concur readiness activities and reference any lessons learned from the initial project implementation.Questions to ask include:
- Is local leadership bought into the project (i.e., country manager, local senior executives)?
- Are local resources available and able to commit to the project?
- Will local resources need to learn the system configuration and administration or will system administration be handled by a centralized team?
- What will the end-user support model be? Will a support system need to be established locally to handle local language requirements?
- Are there any competing projects that would impact the project start date and resource capacity?
- Will ERP integration be possible?
- Are there plans to change the ERP system in the near future?
- What is the current status of the corporate credit card program?Are cards already in place or will a new bank relationship need to be established?
- Is the necessary hardware in place such as scanners and access to broadband connections?If planning on using mobile, has the company issued smart phones or is bring your own device (BYOD) permitted?
- Have you considered any foreign market cultural differences (i.e. credit card acceptance/adoption, works council agreement, etc.)?
- How will employees and credit card vendors be reimbursed?
- Have local/regional resources been provided the internet link to the Concur Deployment Toolkit?Has resource team completed toolkit training materials prior to start of project?
- Have resources from previous Concur projects been assigned to new projects? Or are they readily available to assist client’s project team?
- Is localization (translation to local language) required?If so, have resources been identified who will complete the translation work?
- Very Important: Have all local statutory requirements been met (i.e. in Germany usually the German works council needs to approve the program)?
- Group similar markets.If your goal is to implement across many markets, consider grouping similar markets in the same implementation phase to make project discussions and requirements more efficient.For example, if implementing in Europe, consider grouping the Nordics/Germany as they often have statutory travel allowance or VAT configurations.You can also separate markets by shared service support locations, time zones, and languages.
- While many factors go into picking a corporate credit card provider, if possible, pick one that allows you to have a regional contract instead of a separate contract for each market.This way when a new market is planned for Concur there is a good chance that the card feed may already be established through a regional card feed, eliminating the need to wait for a new contract and new card feed setup.
- Create a global model.During the initial implementation, the goal should be to create a simple global model configuration which sets the groundwork for future scalable implementations.The global model helps define configuration specifics and helps ward off scope creep.By enforcing a global model, you will have a template for markets to use during their implementations which significantly reduces the time needed for requirements gathering and decision making.The only exceptions to the global model template would be to allow for any local statutory requirements.
- Standardize documentation. Once the global model is established, create global model template worksheets.These worksheets should include available expense types, workflows, and audit rules.The expense type worksheet should also include related GL account structure, VAT requirements, and available expense type forms.The markets in scope can then use these worksheets as a basis for requirements gathering.Other points of consideration include:
- Provide a list of expense types for each market to choose from – any additions to the list should be discussed.
- For smaller companies/markets, think about whether VAT configuration setup is really worth the effort if potential for reclaim is small.
- Contact your network.When possible,reach out to peers at other companies who have implemented Concur in your target markets.The Concur Client User group on LinkedIn is a good place to post a discussion on a particular market, or you could search through prior group discussions.Your peers may be able to provide additional local market requirements or nuances so that you are aware of them in advance.Pharmaceutical companies may benefit from speaking with their peers about tracking healthcare professional spend within the system.
Following the steps above before your next implementation phase will help make sure future Concur roll-outs are organized, efficient, and as painless as possible for both you and the impacted markets.The techniques above can be used by companies looking to deploy Concur globally, acquire other organizations, or bring on additional user groups.
About the Author
Mike Lamparella is an Engagement Manager at Acquis Consulting Group with more than 12 years of travel expense (T&E) management experience, including T&E process management and T&E system implementation. He has developed a deep knowledge of Concur Expense and Concur’s management reporting tool.In addition, Mike has extensive experience with corporate credit card management, expense report auditing, travel policy compliance, end-user T&E system support, end-user T&E system training, and using the latest technology and best practices to set a competitive T&E strategy.