How advanced technologies are driving travel, expense and invoice trends

Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and big data are helping organisations optimise their business processes to save time, simplify tasks and deliver richer, more personalised experiences. And the best is yet to come.

There is an air of disruption in the business world. The next wave of cost savings and efficiency improvements will be based on advanced technologies like AI, machine learning and big data. These technologies are strategically poised to bring actionable intelligence and automation to compliance with key business process like travel and expense management and invoicing.

Here are three examples of how this technological revolution is driving unprecedented change across travel, expenses and invoicing.

1. AI

Whether it’s booking a business-class flight against company policy or submitting a meal expenses claim that exceeds set limits, AI is assisting companies to detect noncompliance with company travel and expense policies. Automated technologies can track spending and analyse attributes, and then identify anomalies and patterns in employee expense reports. Companies can then use this information to uncover new ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Able to learn from the data it processes, the more data AI systems process, the more effective the systems become.

We are enhancing the traveller experience with AI-powered travel bots. Concur Bot for Slack, a private beta currently only open to select customers in North America, lets users type a command in Slack such as “expenses $5 to Uber,” and expense details are automatically uploaded to Concur. Hipmunk, which Concur acquired in 2016, uses natural language processing (NLP) to make travel searchers easier and more relevant to traveler interests. Concur anticipates this functionality will be available to Australian customers in 2018.

2. Machine learning

A type of AI that enables computers to learn from data using algorithms and find hidden insights without being explicitly programmed, machine learning has been described as the next competitive frontier. Businesses who have machine learning models that perform the best will differentiate themselves and offer a competitive advantage.

Concur uses machine learning technology in ExpenseIt to automatically process a receipt, extract important details including the amount, currency, data, vendor and location, then create expense report entries, all without an employee entering a keystroke.

The days of paper receipts are quickly passing, with airlines and hotels typically sending an electronic receipts and itineraries via email. The Microsoft Office 365 integration with our expense software also uses machine learning technologies to allow users to create expense report entries directly from an email or calendar invitation.

3. Big data

Using advanced technologies and automated solutions, businesses can collect, store and analyse data collated across the enterprise. This lets businesses gain insights, have visibility and control of business spend, identify new opportunities, and set clear priorities to achieve business and financial goals. Leveraging the breadth and depth of data from our 45 million users, we can analyse behaviours, pinpoint trends, and bolster our solutions to help customers adapt to an ever-changing world.

Matt Goss, ANZ Managing Director, Concur

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