Balancing Culture and Cost Savings – Interview with SAP Concur’s Ralph Colunga

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(March, 2020)

[Transcript from Interview with SAP Concur’s Ralph Colunga]

One of the most topical components for procurement management and Travel Managers is finding the right balance between culture and cost savings.  How do you see technology playing a part in this balance and how can our clients appreciate the need to provide more flexibility for their travelers, yet have a scalable growth and related cost recovery program?

I hope it is about elevating the Travel Manager’s knowledge that the use of multi-channel booking platforms does not equate to a lack of control of their program – in fact, it is quite the opposite.  By allowing multi-channel bookings and again leaning to transparency – it is transparency that leads to compliance.  The ability to see through the end-to-end process is really what all should be focusing on.  Also, moving away from a mentality of ‘command and control’ in travel management, to one that is about ‘enlightenment and empowerment’ to your travel community, I believe is the wave of the future.  Providing freedom of choice and the ability to select their travel needs based upon their business requirements, is something I believe is going to take hold and Travel Managers are going to have to recognize that.  And not only that this is good business in giving their employees what they want, but increasing employee retention and reducing traveler friction.  It is a move from B2B to B2T – away from Business to Business over to Business to Traveler!  We are in the era of the traveler and providing them the flexibility to make their decisions based upon their business needs.   I also think Supplier Direct should be, if it is not already, part of any program and, in many ways can save a lot of money for companies as long as you get the visibility into what is taking place. 

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