Which Side of the Mobile Revolution Will You Be on?

Today’s news issued at NBTA makes one thing perfectly clear: mobile is top of mind for us here at Concur. Having just announced our mobile strategy, we’re extending our platform to developers and travel partners, all with the goal of providing business travelers and employees with more choices and easier access to the tools they use most.

With all the talk around mobility, we’d like to share some thoughts from Rajeev Singh, our President and COO, that were recently featured in our client newsletter regarding Concur’s thoughts around the impact of mobility.

By Rajeev Singh, President and Chief Operating Officer, Concur

What’s the first thing you do when your plane touches down? If you’re like most of the people I see on my business travels, you reach for your mobile phone and turn it on. It’s become a lifeline to the world we business travelers leave behind when we step onto that plane. And it helps keep us connected throughout our trips to everything important in our lives.

In just a few short years, the smartphone has skyrocketed in popularity, to the point that this past year, sales of smartphones have eclipsed sales of laptops. Worldwide mobile phone sales grew 17 percent in the first quarter of this year. There’s no doubt about it, the smartphone is here to stay, and for an ever increasing number business travelers, it’s an essential tool for staying connected and productive while on the road.

There’s an app for that

We’re now in an era in which ‘traditional’ mobile activities such as voice calls, texting and email are being augmented with powerful apps that entertain, inform and help us manage all aspects of our busy lives. The mobile experience can be customized to reflect each individual’s unique needs. It becomes an extension of our personality.

For mobile workers, unlimited access to apps may seem like nirvana. Search for the word “travel” in the App Store, and you’ll find literally hundreds of apps. Free from the confines of IT and corporate policies that rule our laptops, our phones become a reflection of our personalities. But for corporations and the people who manage corporate travel programs, there’s another side to this story.

Some of these apps can encourage or facilitate employee behavior that undermines established policies. That free app that helps a business traveler find “hot deals” while on the road may also be a gateway for out-of-policy spending decisions. Apps that freely share itinerary info may also be giving your competitors a heads up into who your sales force is meeting with.

Can’t control what you don’t see

The unintended consequences of all this mobile activity may be a bit scary for some organizations, and rightly so. But given the fact that mobile devices and the apps that make them so popular are clearly here to stay, it’s obvious that companies can’t ignore this issue any longer. But what to do?

Savvy organizations realize that mobile technology is something they need to embrace. And they’re asking us to help them manage this burgeoning need from travelers who want to have more options and control over their business travel while they’re on the road.

As that famous song goes, “Times They Are a-Changin,’” and we couldn’t agree more. We’re more committed than ever to the continued innovation and growth of our mobile offerings, ensuring that business travelers be as efficient and productive as possible while on the go.

Keep up with Concur during NBTA by following @SAPConcur on Twitter and be sure to check back here throughout the week for some insights and actions from the convention.

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