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Taking a page from Paul Revere, travel technology vendors gathered at this year's National Business Travel Association convention echoed cries of "end-to-end is coming." Ariba, KDS, Rearden Commerce, Concur and expense vendors including CyberShift, Gelco and Databasics demonstrated the how's and why's of such integration. But delivery won't occur until at least this fall, perhaps later, all said.
For users of its enterprise spend management solutions, Ariba announced its selection of France-based online booking firm KDS to "deliver the first truly integrated solution for managing travel spend from end to end."
Demonstrating the integration, Ariba Travel and Expense solution line manager Charles Brossman said users would create a travel authorization and "punch out" to KDS to search and book air, car, hotel or rail. If company policy requires pre-trip approvals, a request would be routed from within Ariba. On approval, the trip would automatically be booked and the trip details would form the basis for an expense report. Credit card charges could also populate this section, to help speed users through expense report reconciliation and submission.
KDS' global footprint is "why we chose KDS," said Brossman. "Being a multinational company, KDS can be deployed anywhere in the world."
While KDS counts Yahoo, Shell and Unilever among its global clientele, "this partnership is definitely a strategic move for KDS to target a different size company, maybe smaller size companies, and get more market share in the United States," added KDS marketing director Stan Berteloot.
"We're hearing a lot in the media about end-to-end solutions, which we refer to more as point solutions, because what I'm trying to get across in expanding the Ariba spend management philosophy to travel and expense [is] really expanding the definition of end to end. We feel the definition of end to end should be everything involved from purchasing to reimbursement, including reimbursement of suppliers" and auditing, added Brossman.
Rearden Commerce announced the creation of an Open Expense Network and "ecosystem of leading expense management vendors, including CyberShift, ExpenseWire, Gelco, Databasics and Expensewatch.com." For the large market, CyberShift is Rearden's preferred partner, offering a 30 percent discount on pricing. For smaller companies, ExpenseWire offers discounts of 33 percent as Rearden's preferred vendor.
Beyond Rearden, DataBasics announced plans to integrate with TRX Resx, in addition to its existing integration with nuTravel. "We think the value will come from the reporting," said Databasics director of sales Chris Harley. Gelco announced integration with Rearden, as well as Travelocity Business. The latter integration will be available later this year or in early 2008, officials said. "We've not had people clamoring down the door for it," said Troy Thibodeau, Gelco vice president of marketing. More often, clients are asking if they might have an option to integrate "some day in the future."
IBM made no announcement of new integrations with its expense application, but said it's been taking booking data feeds from GetThere for years, and also taken some from Expedia for one client.
Concur offered a glimpse of its Smart Expense integrationof booking, electronic receipts, credit card charges and expense reporting, and said it would deliver the integrated application in October. Concur president Raj Singh said end-to-end is called the "Holy Grail, but that implies that it can't be found." It's already here, he said. Beyond traveler convenience and speed of reconciliation, Singh said, the integration of "three sources of data that can't be tampered with" would streamline and automate auditing of expense reports. "Over 70 percent of your transactions are now fully trusted, within policy and fully verified," he added.
Hilton, Hertz and Marriott are providing e-receipts today, with Avis and Budget slated to start Sept. 15. By year-end, Singh said to expect such connections from six to 10 suppliers.
Vendors also announced integrations with meeting technology firms StarCite and Arcaneo. Orbitz Worldwide said it would integrate by first quarter 2008 both of its online corporate booking tools, Orbitz for Business and Travelport for Business, with StarCite Attendee Management. This would allow users of StarCite's meeting registration tools to book travel via the Orbitz corporate booking tools, as well as the existing integration with Concur's Cliqbook, TRX and GetThere. Both Visa U.S.A. and Visa International announced a strategic alliance with Arcaneo to work on ways to integrate their products and services.
Global end to end
Gelco, TRX announce partnership
Driving better data
Concur talks e-receipts
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