17 experts advise on what’s to come this year. Spoiler: Data factors big.
The Innovate Conference for the Advancement of Business Travel offered business travel executives the opportunity to articulate priorities and recommendations.
Concur will change its name to SAP Concur in January.
German enterprise technology giant SAP acquired Concur in 2014. The news comes after
Concur co-founder and CEO Steve Singh quit
the company. Yesterday, Singh became CEO and chairman of software
development company Docker, whose board he joined in November.
At the Institute of Travel Management conference
in Birmingham, U.K., Concur international chief revenue officer Scott Torrey
said Singh's departure and the company's new name are coincidental and that
Singh had been part of the team that decided to make the name change in a
rebranding exercise that took several months. Pointing to the example of
procurement platform Ariba, now SAP Ariba, EMEA managing director Chris Baker
said: "It's what happened to our predecessors that got acquired by SAP.
Day-to-day business will remain as it was."
Torrey added that appending the SAP name will give
Concur more digital marketing muscle, thanks to the global reach of the SAP
brand. There had been concerns the SAP name would have a negative impact on
small and midsize companies, which might associate SAP more readily with large
enterprise customers. But, said Torrey, market research suggested "it was
just the opposite. When we asked whether they were more or less likely to buy,
we got a positive response."
Torrey and Baker said there are no plans to drop the
Concur name completely.
One issue on which Concur has received significant
help from its parent company is data protection, a much hotter topic in Europe
than in the U.S. Torrey said data protection features heavily in 70 percent of
the contracts Concur signs and that SAP is "really good at it." He
said: "They are helping raise our IQ and our responsiveness around it. We are
seeing more of our clients want to have their data stored in Europe."
Concur gained a data center in Paris when it acquired French competitor Etap
Online six years ago, and it's increasingly storing European clients' data
there instead of at its main global data center in Lynnwood, Washington.
Exporting personal data of European Union citizens to the U.S. has become
more fraught in recent years.
Concur also is opening a data center in China as
a prerequisite for doing business with Chinese national companies. "Russia
and China are fairly similar in this regard. They require you to store data
within the country," said Torrey.
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