Over the past few years, cloud technology has grown from an interesting idea into a thriving industry. Consumers and enterprises alike have taken advantage of its convenience and accessibility – and now small and medium sized businesses are taking the leap, too.
Before cloud technology, software applications and services required a significant investment of time and money. For small businesses, that meant buying expensive software, installing it, running it, and managing it. The cycle of staying up to date with the latest releases required a continual game of catch-up.
Today, the cloud is growing increasingly sophisticated, and small businesses are realizing that they can’t afford not to make the switch. It all comes down to being more organized and connected: by offering the ability to access important services from anywhere, the cloud gives businesses more control and flexibility than ever before.
It’s also great for the bottom line. Instead of a large upfront cost, companies pay a predictable monthly fee for cloud services, making it simple to scale up or down as needed. There’s no software to install, since most cloud-based applications run inside the browser, and programs are often much easier to learn and use than traditional software applications.
As an extra bonus, analytics tools are built in to many cloud-based applications - making them the perfect fit for today’s small and medium businesses. That’s why Gartner predicts cloud-based office systems will reach 33 percent adoption by 2017.
They save money. They save time. They allow businesses to see where they can improve at a glance. Looks like the forecast is cloudy – and that’s a very good thing.
Preparing for lift-off: travel and expense management in the cloud
Nowhere is this trend more apparent than in travel and expense management. According to IDC, 52% of organizations plan to deploy a cloud-based solution within the next two years for travel and expense management.*
Here’s why the cloud makes sense for managing travel and expenses:
- Business travel racks up a significant price tag. The average business traveler spends $5,584 annually on work-related travel.** For small and medium businesses where travel is concentrated among fewer employees, that number can be significantly larger.
- Travel policies can be hard for employees to follow. Most companies have travel policies, but employees often prefer to use online tools. In fact, nearly half (47%) of non-compliant travelers cite convenience as a reason for going rogue.***
- Cloud-based systems make compliance easier. When business travelers can easily upload receipts and enter expenses from the road, they’re far more likely to do so. The Aberdeen Group found that end-to-end solutions reduce expense reporting costs by 60% and improve compliance by 44%.**** That’s why Concur continues to build alliances with travel brands, and make expense reporting as simple as possible.
- Companies can enjoy more visibility – and less risk. With automated systems that make it simple for employees to update their expense reports, business can get a real-time view of their travel spend. Potential issues are easier to catch, and employees are spared the frustration of grappling with outdated software.
In short, it’s a win-win. Small and medium businesses win a more efficient way of managing travel and expenses; employees win the ability to spend less time on reporting, and more time on the business at hand.
Time to make a move to the cloud – are you ready? Try Concur Travel and Expense today.
References: * Aberdeen Group, T&E Expense Management: A Solution Selection Guide, August 2012. **PhoCusWright, U.S. Business Traveler: Managed, Unmanaged and Rogue, 2012. *** From Concur’s Business Traveler Statistics under Compliance **** Aberdeen Group, Your 2013 Guide to Travel and Expense Management.