“We have given em­ploy­ees peace of mind while en­hanc­ing employer’s cash flow”

Neeraj Do­tel, MD, In­dia & SAARC, SAP Con­cur

PCQuest - - CONTENTS - Jy­oti Bha­gat | jy­otib@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in

Can you take us through the gen­e­sis of the ex­pense au­to­ma­tion so­lu­tion from Con­cur?

When we started in the 1990s as an ex­pense au­to­mated tool (Con­cur was in­de­pen­dent then), essen­tially we gave busi­ness trav­el­ers a bet­ter ver­sion of Ex­cel for re­port­ing ex­penses and re­im­burs­ing the same. We turned 25 in 2018 and over this time, we were among the first to move busi­ness to the cloud sys­tem. This was back when peo­ple did not even know what cloud was. Our phi­los­o­phy has al­ways been to make life eas­ier for peo­ple who travel for busi­ness and that’s been com­pany’s over­all jour­ney. Then we came out with a desk­top ap­pli­ca­tion which was very easy to use but con­nected to your sys­tem so that data once en­tered will go to the man­age­ment. It has rev­o­lu­tion­ized the whole field. Year af­ter year we just sim­plify life not just for busi­ness trav­el­ers but for the com­pany. Our aim is to move from au­to­ma­tion to op­ti­miza­tion. We have close to 1,000 com­pa­nies in In­dia as our cus­tomers among which 100 are In­di­ans and 900 are multi­na­tion­als. Any large multi­na­tional you can think of uses SAP Con­cur (post the ac­qui­si­tion by SAP). For this au­to­ma­tion, the aver­age ticket size is $50,000 – $60,000.

How does this ex­pense man­age­ment so­lu­tion ben­e­fit in the dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion jour­ney of an or­ga­ni­za­tion?

The travel and ex­pense man­age­ment mar­ket is rapidly es­ca­lat­ing with ex­pec­ta­tions of busi­ness trav­ellers re­quir­ing more flex­i­bil­ity and per­son­al­iza­tion as the lines be­tween work and life be­come in­creas­ingly blurred. Busi­ness trav­ellers in In­dia feel that it is painful to not only deal with the stress of travel but also with the

stress of claim­ing ex­penses. We at Con­cur be­lieve that dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion of an or­ga­ni­za­tion should be such that it is easy and in­tu­itive to use and the peo­ple us­ing it should be able to reap its ben­e­fits.

For busi­nesses who want to “Do Dig­i­tal Now,” - the op­er­a­tive mantra is si­mul­ta­ne­ously re­duc­ing trans­ac­tions while cre­at­ing mo­ments of de­light. Travel as an in­dus­try has been dig­i­tally lead­ing – start­ing from the sim­ple step of con­sumers print­ing their own board­ing pass. As In­dia be­comes the 6th largest busi­ness travel mar­ket by 2019 – busi­ness travel will a sig­nif­i­cant P&L area for cus­tomers of SAP Con­cur as well as a key part of em­ployee ex­pe­ri­ence. We are cre­at­ing a pre­mier process for com­pa­nies to sim­plify ex­pense, travel and in­voice man­age­ment for greater vis­i­bil­ity and con­trol. This is one of the key build­ing blocks to help­ing our cus­tomers craft their en­ter­prise dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence.

Can you elab­o­rate on how this will ben­e­fit both the em­ployee and employer?

Most com­pa­nies in In­dia do not have cars on de­mand. So when em­ploy­ees go out to get busi­ness for their com­pany, they end up spend­ing their own money and cor­po­rates in In­dia have made it so dif­fi­cult for them to get their money back. Some peo­ple do give money on time but that is without check­ing for fraud, without check­ing for ac­cu­racy or any vi­o­la­tion-- that’s like los­ing the whole money from the com­pany per­spec­tive. That’s where ex­pense man­age­ment comes in-- you want to sim­plify from both the em­ployee and employer’s per­spec­tive, the cash that is be­ing spent. From the per­spec­tive of the com­pa­nies, what­ever is done by em­ploy­ees should be friendly to them and cost ef­fec­tive to the com­pany. This will come from pro­duc­tiv­ity sav­ings, tax re­claims. For ex­am­ple, what­ever is cost­ing Rs 800 trans­ac­tion fee can come down to Rs 150 in terms of air­line fees. That’s the core value of the ex­pense au­to­ma­tion so­lu­tion.

What we have done is to elim­i­nate the ex­pense re­port. We give the em­ploy­ees their week­ends back, their free time. They are not ooz­ing out money and you are not forced to make up num­bers be­cause you have for­got­ten. It makes life eas­ier. If you are go­ing for busi­ness, the least you must be guar­an­teed is peace­ful en­vi­ron­ment when you come back and you do not have to stress upon this with so much of work, and stress of for­get­ting some­thing. So it’s very bor­ing mun­dane stress­ful task we have taken out from the point of view of the em­ployee

So from the point of view of the com­pany the two or three things that we give right if your or­ga­ni­za­tion use my tool what your fi­nance would have is it would know how much money it’s ex­actly spent by all your em­ploy­ees at any given point in time. Re­mem­ber this in the busi­ness world we al­ways strug­gle with how much work­ing cap­i­tal we have on a daily ba­sis do we have enough cash to cover our out­stand­ings. It gives the com­pany the real tag on in­for­ma­tion. It might be take weeks when­ever ex­penses are made its real time in­for­ma­tion is with the com­pany and the amount that has been spent. And it helps the com­pany to take the right de­ci­sions.

Our aim is to move from au­to­ma­tion to op­ti­miza­tion. We have close to 1,000 com­pa­nies in In­dia as our cus­tomers among which 100 are In­di­ans and 900 are multi­na­tion­als.

Is it only the large en­ter­prises who are go­ing for Con­cur so­lu­tions or even mid-mar­ket or­ga­ni­za­tions?

I think we solved a cou­ple of crit­i­cal is­sue-- for the em­ployee we gave him peace of mind and en­hanced pro­duc­tiv­ity. From the point of view of the com­pa­nies we re­solved cash flow issues, en­hanced sav­ings, re­solved tax com­plaints im­ple­mented man­age­ment poli­cies, helped pre­vent fraud. So there are a whole lot of ben­e­fits for dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies. Our clients range from In­dian com­pa­nies with more than 1 lakh em­ploy­ees to com­pa­nies with 13-14 em­ploy­ees. So we have in­vest­ment banks with 13-14 em­ploy­ees in In­dia who have signed in­de­pen­dently. We have star­tups with us, and there are com­pa­nies with 10000 em­ploy­ees who use us. We have lots of cus­tomers in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, we have huge cus­tomer base in pro­fes­sional sec­tor, con­sult­ing, where ever there is large mo­bile work­force, in­volved in travel, they use our ser­vices. Sur­pris­ingly even in man­u­fac­tur­ing where they don’t have too many sales guys, we still have fairly good presence in man­u­fac­tur­ing as well. So I would say that our cus­tomers are the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of our band­width to meet them.

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