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Joint clients of Concur and Microsoft will soon be able to
book travel and organize expense receipts within Outlook. The two companies
announced the news during SAP’s Sapphire conference Wednesday and prototype
images are available at concur.com, but the technology company offered no
formal release date for the full product.
How It Will Work: Expense When a user receives an e-receipt in Outlook, Concur will automatically
recognize it as a receipt and prepopulate transaction information into an
integrated expense item form within the email display. The user will verify
or adjust details before clicking a button to send the expense item to the
associated Concur Expense user account. Once stored, the user still must log
into the Concur Expense platform to attach each item to the appropriate report.
The expense feature with Microsoft is expected to be
released in beta format this summer, and will be part of Concur's core offering
on an opt-in basis, said John Dietz, vice president of Concur Labs, where the
product is still under development.
How It Will Work: Booking The Outlook booking feature will rely on access to a few
basic user details. First, it must access the user’s home base location. Second,
it must also have the user’s credit card information on file. Referencing the
user’s location data, the Concur feature will automatically recognize when a
business meeting is scheduled to occur outside the user’s home base. Once the
user enters an out-of-town meeting into the calendar, Concur will display in
separate segments three to five policy-compliant air, hotel and car rental options,
all with flight and itinerary details based on the scheduled meeting's date,
time and location.
Similar to Concur's mobile booking tool, the feature will
leverage data from previously booked business trips, as well as past trip data
from colleagues, to return the most relevant options, Dietz said. To see all supplier
options, users will be able to click a button to launch the full Concur booking
Both the booking and expense features will rely on travelers
being users of both Concur and Microsoft. Considering Concur has 40 million
users and Microsoft has 400 million Outlook.com users, Dietz projected that
customer overlap "has to be very rich."
A Well-Worn PathConcur isn’t the first company to consider the potential of
partnering with a technology provider that claims 400 million users. SAP and Microsoft partnered in 2005 to develop Duet
Enterprise, software that incorporated data from certain versions of SAP Server
and Microsoft SharePoint and Outlook. Through that collaboration, the companies
in 2007 developed a feature that allowed users to make travel reservations from
within Outlook calendar. Dietz told BTN he believed that integration still existed on older versions of Outlook.
Amadeus and Microsoft are working on a similar Outlook
booking integration, a collaboration that led to Microsoft’s global travel and
venue group lead Eric
Bailey being named BTN’s 2015 Travel
Manager of the Year.
A spokesperson for Amadeus confirmed that the integration
with Outlook was still underway. "We are currently deploying a calendar
solution with improved user experience involving Microsoft Outlook," the
spokesperson said. "Amadeus continues to work with industry partners such
as Microsoft and [is] investing in corporate travel with further innovations in
KDS in 2014 also launched a feature where Neo develops a
travel itinerary based on a user's meeting information in Outlook calendar.
did offer an Outlook plug-in as far back as two years ago,” a spokesperson
wrote in an email to BTN. “We have
since realized that users actually preferred the Neo door-to-door interface to
book the entire itinerary. For them, the right interface to book travel was
Neo, not Outlook, even though the plug-in was made available. The convenience
comes from booking the entire itinerary, including transfers, not necessarily
booking it through a calendar.”
Concur and Microsoft are still tweaking the Outlook booking
feature. Asked whether the tool will include a door-to-door booking option,
Dietz replied that the Concur feature was not currently set up to do so. He added,
however, that “it’s not outside the realm of possibilities” since the product
is still in development.
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