As we inch closer to the final days of 2017, it seems fitting to reflect on what a year it’s been. It feels like just yesterday I became the president of Concur, although it has been just over a year. The past 12 months have been unpredictable and unsteady at times, yet mostly full of exciting change for Concur and the broader industry.
Throughout the year, I was fortunate to experience this change firsthand as I traveled the world to visit with customers, partners and employees. As I reflect on 2017, I am reminded why I am proud to represent Concur and feel optimistic about the future of our industry. Here is just a sampling of reflections that capture some of the reasons why:
- The rising importance of duty of care: Nearly every customer I met with this year mentioned duty of care as a priority. In this environment of increasing unpredictability, more and more, companies are acknowledging their legal and moral obligation to ensure the security and safety of their traveling employees anytime, anywhere. Enabling businesses to care for all of their employees in this way is one of the best purposes we have as a company.
- The acceleration of digital transformation in our industry: Our customers are no strangers to driving digital transformation. It’s been exciting to see this accelerated in countries like China with e-Fapiao (digitization of tax receipts) and Japan with e-Bunsho (digitization of receipts). This extends to Spain and France where governments are digitally transforming to ensure proper tax collection. It’s exciting to see our partnerships with governments around the world driving such big shifts in the digitization of financial information.
- The end-user is THE key stakeholder: Companies of all sizes all over the world are thinking beyond traditional value propositions when they are making technology purchasing decisions. It’s now about providing optimal digital experiences for employees, ultimately resulting in high employee satisfaction, engagement and retention. We are living in a world focused on the end-user, which means we must deliver easy-to-use solutions that mirror consumer-grade experiences.
- Global solutions need to be truly local: Through my travels I’ve seen the massive leaps that have been taken to develop truly global, local solutions. This is about creating interconnected solutions that meet employees where, how and when they want to work while traveling. You do this by connecting with the apps and services your travelers love. And, you connect with those that are specific to a given country or region, so you can deliver a truly “local experience” for that traveling employee. It’s about helping your travelers be productive and efficient with their time, regardless of where their business travel may take them across the globe.
- Businesses are more accepting of spend occurring outside of preferred channels: We are seeing more customers accept that travel spending is occurring outside of preferred channels. Customers are embracing that this spend can still be managed and captured via other reliable means in solutions such as TripLink and the pending New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard. What was once a provocative concept, is now an accepted best practice, transforming managed corporate travel programs.
These examples illustrate just some of the important industry shifts occurring that leave me reflective and eagerly anticipating what 2018 will hold.