Mike Hilton is the EVP of Product Strategy and Marketing. He has been with Concur since the start, 20 years ago, helping to found the company and creating its first product, QuickXpense. In these 20 years, Mike has always kept his eye on emerging trends and technologies, looking for the ways they can help our customers.
Back in the day, the world of business travel revolved around lots of paper – paper tickets that only travel agents could print out, paper receipts, and paper expense reports that had to be filled out by hand with a calculator somewhere nearby. Today, led by significant strides in mobile, the cloud, information and social, we have entered an entirely new era. Not since the advent of the Internet have we seen this level of technological change in our industry. The travel and expense world is fundamentally being transformed before our eyes.
When all of these forces come together
The Gartner report, Evaluating Concur’s Use of the Nexus of Forces in Travel Expense Management, identifies four forces – mobile, cloud, information and social – as the forces that influence how well a business ticks. We believe how fully a business embraces these forces can make or break a company. We also believe that these forces influence and impact every type of industry, no matter if it’s education, health care, finance, government, information technology or travel.
At Concur, mobile, social, the cloud and information do more than influence our business: they are a core driver of our product strategy. They are some of the central drivers that inform where we should go next.
For instance, 80 percent of business travelers have a smartphone; it’s where users are and where they want to be. We are living in a more and more mobile-centered universe – and the business travel industry sees growth in this every day. Knowing that, mobility is where we think first for products and services because before anything we’re thinking about where our users are now and how we can give them what they’re looking for.
The trend around “big data” is another area where we see opportunity to give users a better experience. Business travelers are creatures of habit. They like to stay in the same hotels, eat at their favorite restaurants, and take the same modes of transportation. And each trip has itineraries, detailed receipts, and expense reports full of rich data. Each piece of that data helps us identify ways to make our systems smarter, offering better, predictive recommendations to users.
Imagining the future
When all these forces intertwine and work together, they make both the travel and expense experience better for companies and better for their employees. Searches become smarter and more predictive thanks to social networks and richer data. Information becomes available at anytime, anywhere in the world. And right there in the middle of it all is a mobile device – making it all possible.
Imagine how this will lead to a better experience, a better business trip, a better way of spending time, start to finish. Imagine that world – because I am. That’s the world I want to live in. That’s where the industry is heading. And Concur is embracing the forces of cloud, mobile, social and information to get us there.
Find the Gartner report, Evaluating Concur’s Use of the Nexus of Forces in Travel Expense Management.