‘The Beat Live’ Part 2 – Concur

Here some more notes from my recent visit of “The Beat Live” in Miami.This year’s keynote speech by Concur’s CEO, Steve Singh was centered on the topics Perfect trip, Open platform and Data.

Steve’s point was, that it’s all about convenience these days. If you search for a trip, the system should not spit out 10,000 results but rather a couple of options according to travel policies and personal preferences.

And then maybe ask, do you need a hotel, do you need a rental car or sedan, if you are delayed notify the limo service, and once you landed initiate the automatic check-in at the hotel (as nobody wants to wait in line). Upon departure an automated expense report should be send to the smart phone.

However, what happens today in case of a delay: Everybody calls their agent, introduces him-/her, and explains the problem – this takes 90+ seconds which are absolutely unnecessary and can be automated. I’m just thinking ‘Wow, I guess Steve read my book’. In regards to the hot topic ‘open booking’ he mentioned just one line, that it is really just a small piece within the scope of travel management and the answer, if or not it is relevant is ‘whatever the customer wants’ – and left it at that.

Much more interesting is the idea to offer an open platform as it is in line with a topic that has occupied many in the travel industry for the last couple of years. How can we foster innovation and what is holding us back from nurturing a breeding ground for new ideas? There is so much innovation that Concur wants to bring into their open platform and they are definitely on a promising path with sufficient pecuniary backing as well as skilled people helping them to move forward. Being “another” travel technology vendor with a global solution on the market, we have a vested interest in supporting concepts that enhance the well-being of our industry.The results remain to be seen. Finally it is all about using data intelligently – and of course Concur collects a lot of it. So all this data needs to be managed to provide intelligence to improve travel management. Steve did not go into the details but I obviously data and what you do with it is the big question of this decade. Primarily everybody just collects it so far – just look at Google or Facebook – but what you do with it and how you can draw the right conclusions? It’s interesting to see what Concur will offer when it comes to data. I don’t believe that they can possibly come up with the ultimate reporting mechanism.

It all comes down to the question if a one-size-fits all approach will prevail. The feedback from the audience about Concur’s missing customer orientation with comments such as “they would rather hear that the company is aware of these issues and what you’re going to do to address these issues … rather than talk about future growth” might support the idea that a built-to-order Corporate Booking Engine the reflects the processes of the specific customer would be a better fit for global organizations than an off-the-shelf product where your special needs will rarely be considered.

Image by Brian S

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