According to SAP Concur managing director (Southeast Asia) Madanjit Singh, innovation is important to both companies and nations for its ability to create business value, generate jobs, and lead to higher economic value-add.
“You need to make a lot of investment in order to have that innovation happen. SAP, our parent, acquired us in 2014. The number of programmers that we have inherited, and the amount of integration that we’re doing with SAP products, is higher compared to previous years when we were just by ourselves,” Madanjit explains.
“SAP Concur takes companies of all sizes and stages beyond automation to a completely connected spend management solution encompassing travel, expense, invoice, compliance and risk,” he further said.
He points out that SAP Concur products are used by both foreign-based MNCs (multinational companies) such as Twitter and DHL, as well as home-grown/regional companies such as Grab or Changi Airport, in order to innovate and add to their business value.
“SAP itself uses Concur, with 90,000 employees worldwide having replaced their previous home-grown system over 6 phases.”
Ongoing business support and sharing expertise
Madanjit opines that one of SAP Concur’s strengths is its commitment to sharing its expertise in terms of its implementation methodology, as well as what it calls ‘customer success’, or ongoing business support.
“Companies looking at cloud-based deployment strategies often ask how that can save them money, or how it can handle rapid deployment in the face of employee diversity across multiple countries. We have approximately 40,000 customers globally, many of whom are in Southeast Asia, and we will be able to bring all that learning to you.
SAP Concur customers include over 70% of Fortune 100 and 500 companies, while SAP Concur services are available in all the top ten countries for business travel.
In addition, more than an estimated 51.8 million end users (over 9.7 million on mobile) book travel and process expenses with SAP Concur.
“For a lot of software companies, implementation is by the side; first you buy, then we’ll talk about it. My approach is, you should ask the really important questions first: How is the company going to deliver its solutions? How are they going about its implementation? How can you get business value out of it?”
Madanjit also highlights the fact that SAP Concur has a full-fledged department globally which is dedicated to help its customers achieve their business goals.
“We have many longstanding customers whom we have been meeting with for 10 to 12 years. It is important to us that we help them get value, rather than just sell them something and they have to figure it out themselves. There is our sense of personal responsibility to all our clients.”
SAP Concur sees itself as duty-bound to be able to explain to prospective clients how its products can help their businesses, with customer engagement occurring right from the start, during what it terms the ‘buyer journey’.
“The buyer journey happens during the evaluation phase; this includes engaging in negotiation, the technical considerations, pricing issues etc. Once that purchase decision is made, now we are invested with you; now you are responsible together to be able to say how we actually get value.”
This ‘joint responsibility’, where both vendor and customer work together in order to ensure the customer gets the best business value, is critical, says Madanjit.
“SAP Concur is ERP-agnostic; hence, there is no need to change the way the customer does business,” he adds.
Facilitating exchange of data across IT systems
SAP Concur products also facilitate the exchange of data across IT systems.
“There have been a lot of innovations in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics; all that comes from the ability to pull data together,” he explains.
“In the past, while there have been many IT systems, they don’t talk to each other, which means you are unable to share information. But lots of things have been happening in the world of technology; it’s almost magical.
“Many people who are starting off new projects believe that if we just buy the business applications, our work will be done. In our experience, it doesn’t work that way. It has to talk to something, update some of the information, and write it back. Very few systems in today’s world are standalone.”
“Our global expertise, industry-leading innovation and dynamic ecosystem of diverse partners and applications unlock powerful insights that help businesses reduce complexity and see spending clearly, so they can manage it proactively,” adds Madanjit.
Meanwhile, international research firm IDC projects businesses using Concur Invoice would achieve annual business benefits worth $751,682 per organisation or $15,418 for every 1,000 invoices, and are able to reap the following benefits: Achieve 505% ROI (return-of-investment) over a 5-year period, reduce invoice processing time by 68% and increase compliance by some 32%.