You may think there’s no such statement as, “my business trip was simple.”
Having travelled most of my adult life, I personally empathize with the business traveler. It doesn’t matter what step in the process you think about – planning, booking, traveling, paying or reimbursement – they all have the equal potential to be intensely frustrating.
In case you didn’t see the official press release, the breaking news story is that SAP announced its intent to acquire Concur, the leading innovator of the $1.2 trillion business travel segment. Concur and its 4,200 employees have made it their passion to help travelers experience better trips, simpler invoices and easier reimbursements.
You’ve probably used or know somebody who has used their TripIt application.
Yes, Concur makes beautiful applications and, yes, they do amazing work to make life simpler for travelers. But there’s another piece of the Concur story that makes me even more enthusiastic.
When I think about the individual traveler, I instantly think about the steps in that process I described earlier that could (and should) happen without the traveler ever needing to worry about them. For a hotel stay, why should a traveler even see a hotel bill? It should be as simple for the hotel to send the invoice directly to the employer as it is to e-mail the guest herself. The same should go for innovative companies in the travel and transportation space – if it’s easy for a traveler to use a service, it should be easy for businesses to collaborate, as well. And credit card companies should connect too, creating a single cohesive value chain to make life simpler for the traveler. It should be frictionless, and thanks to the Concur platform,it is.
The idea of frictionless commerce is the foundation of the largest Business Network in the world. After SAP’s acquisition of Concur is completed, more than $600 billion will be transacted on that network annually – 50% more than Amazon, ebay and Alibaba combined.
Bigger than the numbers is the promise of what the Business Network means – for travel and beyond.
I see a new era ahead where businesses connect like people connect. It will be as simple to share plans, invoices and contracts as it is to share photos. The Business Network will extend business processes that used to stop at the walls of the enterprise. It will fulfill the promise of the real-time global Networked Economy to reduce complexity without sacrificing sophisticated work. So when you travel, whenever businesses working together can make your life easier, nothing will stand in the way of that promise.
As the business activity on the network increases, we’ll begin to see new patterns and new models emerge, as well. With the SAP HANA platform powering the Business Network, the potential to innovate for the individual on any device with rich, context-aware applications is limitless.
My challenge to every CEO: get Networked. The opportunity is real and, as Concur exemplifies, it’s expanding as we speak. Run simple.
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