< PrevNext > 2018 Business Travel Buyer's Handbook Core Technology & Data Reporting Share Download ChapterTravel management technologies are changing. Even some of the core elements like online booking tools, which long have compared unfavorably against consumer travel booking tools, are starting to come around. Much of the innovation has emerged from smaller players with mobile-first technologies, aggregated global distribution system and non-GDS content strategies and machine learning capabilities that can deliver relevant results to the business traveler based on travel policy and historic bookings. To maximize the booking experience, however, the pipes that serve content to corporate travel booking tools must change. That process is underway, thanks to the International Air Transport Association's New Distribution Capability standard, which holds promise for enabling richer content display, choices and delivery within a corporate travel environment. While realizing a full distribution transformation is years away, the industry already has seen progress in providing aggregated, more detailed travel content to business users. But booking technology is just the first link in the corporate travel technology chain. Expense management tools also have become more intuitive; mobile image uploads, optical character recognition and machine learning enhancements are easing expense reporting—and expense auditing. Finally, true business intelligence tools have emerged, giving corporate travel buyers new data management and analysis power. These technology developments bring with them some new requirements for travel managers. At the very least, buyers must brush up on new tech capabilities in order to source the best tools for their programs. Buyers also may find, particularly with data management tools, that they must either get in touch with their inner analyst or find additional resources to make the most of burgeoning business intelligence capabilities. I. Strategic Planning Align travel technology with your company's goals and objectives.Develop a travel technology strategy by identifying and examining areas in which your company can realize the greatest service-level and financial gains. Benchmark your operation against best-in-class organizations. Once discrepancies are identified, create action plans. Consider the company's readiness to promote and enforce use of technology, how travel fits with corporate IT strategies, costs and estimated ROI, the availability of IT support, and senior management interest. Including major stakeholders from the earliest stages improves the process and helps earn travel program support. In particular, involve IT in testing new systems. Be sure IT understands the level of involvement; when products need very little IT support, your project may be scheduled earlier.Determine if data reporting or business intelligence tools are already available within your company that could digest travel data.Security concerns preclude some companies from linking networks with such outside organizations as travel management companies, and some companies have strong firewalls that inhibit linking to outside systems. Anticipate firewall and data access restrictions and requirements. Determine compatibility of external systems with existing internal systems.Consider including divisions or subsidiaries in other countries, and support technology and users in multiple languages. Ensure compliance with local data privacy laws.Don't automate needlessly. Make sure the return is obvious and probable. This may be an important consideration for countries in your program that may not be capable of supporting the technology and/or may not have sufficient volume to justify the required investment and process changes.