I was intrigued by an article on business travel spends in the latest issue of the Economist. (Full article here.) The article calls out that in spite of advances and adoption of collaboration and communication technology like videoconferencing and Skype, business travel is increasing pretty much across the globe.
They attribute this growth to the need for face-to-face interactions for business development, consulting and advisory service delivery, and poor user experience with VoIP. The article goes on to say that at the same time travel management executives are controlling travel expenses through policy enforcement and system based bookings.
This led me to think about the premise on which our software for travel expense management was designed and how it abets smooth operations in large organizations. Travel has to happen in organizations for the reasons mentioned above. But we’ve seen that there is a lot of wastage in travel spending. Organizations have a system of controls to minimize this wastage but it doesn’t work as well as it should. The number of travel transactions in a multi-location organization could be very high – in thousands of trips per year. Pre-trip there is pressure on approvers and bookers to do just that – approve and book. The pressure comes from the very real business need of the traveller to go out and transact his business. Due diligence is usually sacrificed at this stage because of time pressure and sheer volume of requisitions.
Software like Expenzing Travel Expense Manager is like the high-speed defect detection machines in manufacturing plants. They allow business to keep moving at high speed, rapidly scanning all parameters of a trip ensuring they fall within permissible bands but quickly flagging trips that deviate from these bands and either automatically putting them on hold or putting them in front of an authorized controller to inspect and make a special case approval.
There is a natural tendency for travellers and controllers to be in conflict because of the gatekeeper role the latter plays. With travel management software running the workflow between them, the software plays both good cop and bad cop and the inliers flow through without the pace of business getting interrupted, while the outliers get the twice over. At the end of the year travel may grow but travel wastage certainly will not.
See how Expenzing Travel Expense Manager can play good cop-bad cop for you.