Undoubtedly, (business) travel will return, though the nature of it might be vastly different than what we have come to expect. There will most certainly be more focus on personal safety and sustainability, and companies will start to reevaluate what really qualifies a trip as essential. The time to rethink, innovate and digitalize is now – a sentence that could have been the unofficial motto of this year’s SAP Concur Fusion EMEA. The virtual summit took place on July 7, 2020 and offered keynotes, country spotlights, and breakout sessions throughout the day. The sessions are available on demand as well.
“This is an opportunity for reinvention, to embrace digital solutions, and we want to do everything we can to help businesses everywhere to emerge from this period stronger and more flexible than ever”, said Rachel van der Merwe, Director of Product Marketing EMEA North, SAP Concur. “Business travel will resume. The good news is you can plan for the unpredictable.” One way to do so is to rethink your travel policies, especially regarding sustainability and CO2 emissions. Concur Request can help by making it easier for employees to request travel and for decision-makers to evaluate if the trip really is essential. To increase employees’ trust in the company and ensure their personal safety during any trip, TripLink provides safety data (including COVID-19 data) about the destination.
During the keynote, it was acknowledged that while it is a good time to rethink current strategies and guidelines, many companies are more concerned about business continuity and securing cash flow. Craig Liasi, Head of Product Marketing EMEA, SAP Concur, explains how customers can leverage Concur’s partner ecosystem to their advantage, “Revenue is often down, and businesses are looking to stabilize. By leveraging Concur’s partner ecosystem, they can increase cash flow by reclaiming VAT. Our partners (e.g. Vatbox) offer sophisticated solutions to automate the entire process by leveraging the data in SAP Concur. This way, companies can recover a significant amount of money that they can put right back onto their bottom line in a time when they need it most.”
The virtual summit was also the opportune moment to talk about new innovations and enhancements in SAP Concur’s product portfolio. Following is a list of new features and what’s next for different Concur solutions.
What’s new: The landing page of Concur Invoice was transformed, now offering full visibility into unpaid invoices. Configurable columns are now available.
What’s next: Customized column configuration will be added. New features will allow users to send invoice lists to Excel and systematically handle zero amount invoices. PO matching efficiency will be increased by making it easier to assign new PO owners, auto-close POs, and reopen closed POs.
What’s new: Key highlights of 2019 include receipt digitalization for France and Spain, the rollout of ExpenseIt in Japan, and payroll integration with SAP systems, including S/4 Hana.
What’s next: Key areas of focus in 2020 will be security and stability, investing in a public cloud infrastructure, and a new version of Concur Request and Concur Expense. Enhanced features will include comprehensive receipt digitalization, improved travel allowances, and deeper integration with existing SAP systems.
Cognos 11: Upgrade
What’s new: Cognos landing page and navigation have been improved. It is now faster, more intuitive, and adds compatibility with Excel and browsers.
What’s next: The early adopter program is set to start before the end of this year, and the updates will likely be completed during Q1 2021. The new upgrade of Cognos 11 will be available in the Americas first, then in Europe, and then in China. SAP Concur will run a 10-week early adopter program to make sure that everything works as it should. Once they are confident there are no issues, the upgrades will commence. SAP Concur promised to refrain from upgrades during the working week or on first or last weeks of the month to avoid high periods of reporting activity.
SAP Concur Travel portfolio (Concur Travel, Concur TripLink, Concur Request)
Enhancements made to Concur Travel: Expanded branded fare content is now available. A dual fare display and the Air France abonnement fare update have been added.
Enhancements made to Concur TripLink/TripIt: TripIt was localized for UK (available in English, German, French, Japanese). HRS corporate portal integration and e-receipt support for direct bookings have been added.
Enhancements made to Concur Request: A new desktop user interface was installed, and there has been an update to the mobile version of Concur Request. Multi-policy selection support and support for custom fields in the mobile version are now available.
Focus areas for 2020: Security and stability continue to be top of mind. Hyperscaler re-platforming will also be important. TripLink Travel Manager controls will be evaluated and updated if needed.