From spreadsheets to the cloud: A global leader’s digital transformation of T&E

Helping builders build better.

Bentley is a technology company that serves engineering, architecture and construction firms around the globe—offering solutions and software that help accelerate project delivery and improve asset performance.

 

And with more than 3,000 employees spanning 50 countries—many of whom are consultants who spend most of their time in the air or on the road—managing T&E is a huge undertaking. In fact, T&E is one of its largest controllable annual expenses—second only to salary and benefits.

 

The old way: Spreadsheets, emails and inefficiency.

Like many businesses, the process of “automating” T&E at Bentley began with spreadsheets and email. An Outlook template was used to request travel—once the request was approved, it would go a TMC for booking. And another form—in Excel—was used to capture and detail expenses and then get routed to managers for approvals.

 

And of course, this process came with its challenges—inaccurate data entry, inefficient paper shuffling and a lack of visibility into spending details to name a few. Bentley knew there was a better way, so in 2010, they turned to long-time technology partner: SAP.

 

An on-premise solution from SAP.

Already an SAP ERP and CRM customer, the Bentley team found what it needed with SAP Travel and Expense Management—an on-premise solution that delivered big improvements to the entire process.

 

They were able to integrate and automate travel requests and expense reporting and make the entire process more self-service for travelers and managers. They were able to automatically calculate exchange rates and create workflows that matched how their business worked as well as the steps they need to take to bill their clients relevant T&E charges. And they were able to process, post and pay expenses all in SAP—from start to finish—improving efficiency, visibility and control.

 

Now that it’s better, let’s make it even better.

These were all great improvements, but there was more work to be done. After a few years , Bentley did some self-evaluation and found gaps still existed. And after surveying the team, Bentley discovered their users had some ideas of their own.

  • Travelers wanted slick, simple apps and a single system for everything from booking to reimbursement.
  • The AP staff wanted to cut down posting and processing time that could consume as much as a week each month.
  • The business wanted to pull its regions and countries onto a single policy.
  • And everybody wanted the entire process to be more mobile.

 

A move to cloud with Concur.

So in 2013, Bentley started looking for other solutions, and found Concur. Concur filled the gaps Bentley had identified, including:

  • A cloud-based solution with automated, frequent updates and upgrades.
  • Multi-level approval workflows that could handle unique logic for requests and invoices.
  • E-receipts from airlines, hotels and car providers that go directly into Concur and auto-populate expense reports with itemized charges.
  • Automatic currency exchange rate and mileage allowance calculation.
  • Automatic calculation of special taxes like VAT in the U.K. and Fringe Benefit Tax in Australia.
  • Replacing cumbersome scanned receipts, with simple photos snapped with a smartphone through Concur’s app and automatically populating those charges and attaching those receipts in expense reports.
  • An audit service that double checks 100% of expense reports against policy.
  • Interactive dashboards, reports and alerts that deliver real-time analysis of spending.

 

SAP + Concur: Better together.

On top of all these benefits, came integration with Bentley’s SAP systems. HR information from SAP SuccessFactors and cost objects from SAP ERP are pulled directly and automatically into Concur to automatically create and update employee profiles. Those profiles get sent automatically to Bentley’s TMC and GDS partners, so the information is always accurate and up-to-date.

 

New travelers don’t have to fill out forms before they travel. Their information is just there. When organizational structures change, the information is updated, so manager/approver relationships are updated.

 

And of course, the information flows the other way as well. So expense and spending details are updated in SAP ERP, and the business has an always-on, accurate view of budget status and planned expenses.

 

Now it’s better than ever before.   

The Bentely team is seeing the results its looking for:

  • Their AP staff spends less time processing reports and more time managing spending.
  • Their TMC spends less time talking to travelers and updating information.
  • They’ve improved cash flow for billable expenses.
  • Their finance team has the details it needs to do in-depth analysis.

 

And perhaps most importantly, they’re on a platform that will allow them to adapt and change their policies as well as their changing business. And it’s all a part of one SAP solution that will grow with them—wherever they take their business. 

 

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