As discussed in an earlier blog, SAP is buying Travel & Expense SaaS provider Concur.

Obviosuly, we are all expecting improvements in integration between other SAP solutions and Concur. But what is on top of your SAP-Concur-Integration wish list?

  • Easy integration with HR master records? And if so: with SAP HCM on-premise Core HR or SuccessFactors Employee Central?
    Or maybe even with Fieldglass to cater for travelling contingent workers, where you fear most compliance issues or expect the biggest savings opportunities?
  • Or going all exotic and hope for integration with Recruitment to cover candidate travel, or Learning to get more transparency into training related travel cost? Both areas oft asked for, but never covered by the on-premise T&E solution.
  • Posting travel related cost into SAP GL is a must, istn’t it? As is integration with accounts payable in on-premise FI. But how about CATS?
  • Or would you see process before data and an integrated, seemless workflow inbox with leave requests from on-premise HR and Concur trip approvals tops your personal list?
  • Collaboration: there must be a good use for SAP Jam in Travel Management, right? Sharing cars, arranging group travel, getting hotel tips or just meet up with colleagues in the same location are all activties crying out for a social collaboration tool. However: would this be SAP JAM – or Concur’s Tripit? Or a blend of both?
  • If you run payroll, getting all data required for taxes and statutory reporting from Concur into your beloved on-premise payroll (or it’s hosted twin for Employee Central) is very high up, I presume.
  • Concur offers somem good analytics – as probably your travel agency will do. Would you expect them to ba available in SAP BI to be combined with other data? Or use BO as a presentation layer? Woudl you want to make it available to line managers in their MSS or do you think they only need the sumary available in accounting, whilst hard core travel reporting is for travel management specialists only?
  • Or is all of the above of minor importance, because you know you’ll always be able to manage internal interfaces somehow and what you really want SAP to do for you is managing interfaces with 3rd parties? Credit card companies are notoriously bad with interfaces, so better and better managed standards would be most welcome. Integration with data and processes of travel agencies or added value services like receipt auditing or foreign VAT recouping: these are areas, where Concur excels already according to my personal experience. Could it improve further and be leveraged better?
  • And finally in the last line of this by far not comprehensive list, the word you’ve been waiting for all along: Ariva. Of course travel procurement needs to go into that. Somehow. Somewhere.

A very long list indeed and I’m sure you’ll have more to add (and please do so in the comments section!). It makes me think: no doubt the general concept of SaaS and multi-tenancy is a key driver of cloud efficiency and agility. However, these days, cloud systems are in most cases seen as isolated or lightly integrated systems. They have been favoured by followers of the best-of-breed approach so far. What will happen, when the disciples of highly integrated ERP invade the world of the cloud and create highly interdependant integrated architectures? Will we end up with a lot of the maintenance cost and inertness we hoped to leave behind, when moving into the cloud? It feels like a very real risk more and more, and we should manage it.

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3 Comments

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  1. Shyam Jajodia

    Sven,

    Thanks for another great article. We need validation of Cost Centers, Internal Orders and WBS Elements from Concur to FI (you can tell I am an FI person right?) and commitments for planned trips in CO and PSM. Another issue is adding expenses paid by the company to a trip so that all costs are in one place.

    Thanks

    Shyam

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    1. Sven Ringling Post author

      Hi Shyam,

      Cost objects can already be distributed into Concur on the old interface and I believe the 3 you mention are included.

      They definitely will be in the new interface next year.

      Also: you can capture expenses flaged as not paid by employee and post accordingly.

      I’m not sure about cost for planned trips: how would you calculate that cost? Do you mean flights etc already booked and paid for before the trip or estimated cost similar to the old SAP request, where you could give a cost estimate? This may be possible in the Concur-Request module, but even then I wouldn’t expect this to be transfered into FI – but with regard to this planned cost part, I’m really guessing. Would be an interesting process to discuss further, indeed

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      1. Shyam Jajodia

        Sven,

        Thank you for all your answers. Yes estimated costs are required in PSM for managing the budget. In CO/PSM for example you can commit these costs to reduce the available budget.

        Thanks

        Shyam

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