Product communications in a SaaS world: How Concur communicates product updates

According to Gartner, businesses will spend upwards of $264 billion on Software as a Service (SaaS) in 2017. The cloud has made technology more accessible and less expensive for businesses and consumers alike – and that’s changed the way we use our go-to applications. Like it or not, you’re living in a SaaS world.

That comes with a lot of benefits for both you and your company. For one thing, you get continuous updates to your software without having to take any steps to download upgrades or patches. That makes it easy to use new features quickly, without having to wait for your IT department to refresh your software.

Concur is a SaaS application, so when we make changes to our software, we make them incrementally, continuously integrating new features into our services. We do rigorous testing up-front to make sure everything works as it should, and we look to our users – administrators, travelers, managers, and expense approvers around the world to give us feedback about what they’d like to see next.

Along with the benefits of the SaaS model, however, there comes a responsibility for us to make customers aware of the incremental updates we ship with each month’s product release. With more than 35,000 customers and 45 million end users, it is imperative that everything works just as expected, so there’s no room for error. The product improvements we roll out are useful only if our customers know about them and have a clear understanding of not just what changed, but also why we made the change, and how it impacts them. In this blog post, we’ll walk through a few ways that Concur is helping customers understand what they’re getting each month when we roll out incremental updates to Concur products.

Release notes

(Yes, they are still a thing.)

Release notes are a classic for a reason: they’re usually text files in the software that spell out what’s changed in the latest release. We publish release notes both in the product with our monthly releases, and online too – so administrators can always reference them when they need to.

For more information:

  • Watch the Concur Client User Group on LinkedIn for monthly release announcements. (If you are a current customer and you have not joined this group, you'll need to request membership.)
  • If you’re a Concur administrator, check for updates online, within the Concur tool – open Online Help and look for What's New and Release Notes Admin Summary.

Pre-release calls

Each month, we hold a call for each of our core products (like Travel and Expense) so our customers can hear about new features and ask questions of the product team. The calls are held before our monthly releases.

For more information: Ask your account representative to find out which calls are most relevant for you so you can add them to your calendar.

Product update portal

Our product update portal serves as “next gen release notes,” designed for a continuous development environment.

Each month, we publish highlights of product updates on our What’s New page, complete with links to find more information. Here’s what you’ll find at the top of the page this month:

On our What's New page, we also publish practical product tips for Concur administrators, travelers, and approvers.

One of the types of product information we make available on the product news portal is #ProTip videos. Here’s an example of a #ProTip video designed to provide quick how-to information about new functionality in the Concur app:

For more information: See the What’s New page.

Monthly product news show

What can go video, must go video!

On the last Wednesday of each month, we host a live webcast for Concur administrators with information about product updates and new features. The videos include interviews with our product experts and deep dives into topics of concern to Concur administrators and users.

For more information:

  • Watch recordings of previous months’ product news shows on the What’s New page (or on our YouTube channel).
  • Catch the show live – go to our Webcast page for details, and add it to your calendar by clicking the “Get Notified” button.

Product roadmap

Customers can reference our product roadmap, available online, to see what updates are scheduled for each product and plan accordingly. The roadmap shows planned updates for the next two quarters; we update it regularly so you’ll never be caught unawares.

For more information:

  • Check with your account team to find out how to access the current roadmap document.
  • Read more about the product roadmap in one of our recent blog posts.
  • See an example of the Concur Expense roadmap in this video.

Keeping account teams up to date

Finally, we work hard to keep your account team here at Concur up to date on changes to our products, making sure they can help you navigate any issues quickly and efficiently. We do that by maintaining up-to-date dashboards for internal audiences so we can keep a close eye on what’s happening to the products. We also invest in communication tools like internal websites and forums for our staff to find and share information and newsletters for our field staff, engineering teams, and marketing group.

So now that we’ve helped you keep up to date on the changes we make in Concur, we’d love to hear your thoughts about what we should be working on next. Join the conversation in our LinkedIn User Group.

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