2019 Business Travel Buyer's Handbook Core Technology & Data Reporting Share Download ChapterMachine learning and chatbots are coming into their own on both supplier and travel management company apps. That means improved traveler service, more personalized booking options for travelers and thus improved hopes for travelers’ compliance with preferred suppliers and booking channels. Meanwhile, large TMCs are creating marketplaces of suppliers with which each integrates to help travel managers optimize their programs. Integrations from shopping through booking, service and expense provide opportunities for better reporting, not to mention business intelligence tools that can help travel programs harness their data and make sense of it all. Underlying all that, though, is the need to protect the company’s data privacy and that of its travelers, especially in light of the General Data Protection Regulation, which went into effect in May 2018; the California Consumer Privacy Act, which will go into effect Jan. 20; and other privacy legislation in the works in the U.S. Here’s a guide to help you jump in.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.