Concur Delivers Mobile Travel Moments on a Cloud Technology Platform

Ted Schadler

The following is an excerpt from The Mobile Mind Shift, Groundswell Press, 2014, pages 153-4. Click here for more on Forrester's mobile mind shift market imperative.

Steve Singh knows about the challenges of building technology platforms for great mobile moments. He learned them honestly by moving his entire company and its customers to a cloud technology platform.

Steve is CEO and co-founder of Concur Technologies. Concur helps businesses and government agencies manage their corporate travel bookings and expenses.

Concur’s technology platform, which Steve calls the Concur Travel and Expense Cloud, is designed for the demands of mobile moments: It supports applications that make it easy for travelers to focus on a few tasks and complete them quickly. Travel and expense (T&E) software is by its nature complex, but at Concur, the complexity remains behind the scenes in the servers, not in the user interface because busy travelers and business expense managers have no time to puzzle out complexity. To make this work, Concur invests 40% of its research and development budget in the applications and 60% in the cloud technology platform that provides the services.

The success of the strategy and technology platform is reflected in the rapid growth of his company, from a startup in 1993 to more than $540 million in revenues in 2013.

Concur’s cloud technology platform delivers four benefits.

  • First, because the Concur software running in the cloud is the same for every customer, developers working on it can fix problems continuously and roll out new services daily.
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Introducing The Service App Store

Stefan Ried

Do you believe in "Enterprise App Stores" ?

App stores are the embodiment of public cloud services ranging from consumerized mobile apps to software- and infrastructure-as-a-service in the enterprise context. A great and simplified user experience drove mass adoption with consumers.

Will these cloud app stores simply evolve to meet the demand of corporate processes and compliance? Private clouds and software distribution to corporate laptops and desktops so far have not been able to catch up to the same level. So, there is definitely demand to bring the consumer innovation into corporates. 

But don't forget the the modern IT management software (ITMS) suites, which offer some self-service functionality. Still the coherent, end-to-end self-service experience across all types of users, assets, and already multiple deployment targets is still far away from the consumer world. But, ITMS software is also an equal starting point.

The situation in real enterprises is even worse. It is not only the absense of a good employee engagement around IT-service self service and user experience. It's more the fact that IT departments deliver traditionally many services that employees don't want any more. We've seen employees that haven't stored a single document on the corporate Sharepoint installation, but use box.net instead; or employees that haven't created a single Excel spreadsheet for a while and use for example Google Apps instead; or employees who would love to downgrade their personal ERP profile to what they really need, if they get the saved money back. Once you create cost transparency and offer them to "un-subscribe" from tradtional software and subscribe to new (cloud) service instead - you embrace modern technology mangement and could drive the next wave of cost savings. This can be an essential milestone in the a business technology agenda.

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For CIOs The Journey To Digital Business Begins With The BT Agenda

Nigel Fenwick

Digital FootprintIn “Unleash Your Digital Business”, I highlight the need for all companies to embrace digital business as a new business model – one in which the nature of the value exchange with customers is fundamentally changed. Since then, CIOs frequently asked me what they should be doing to help their firms become a digital business.

The answers lies in the difference between Business Technology (BT) and Information Technology (IT). BT focuses on the systems, technologies, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers. Whereas IT focuses on the systems, technologies, and processes to support and transform an organization’s internal operations. To become a digital business CIOs must adopt the BT agenda.

Our research on digital business highlights the need for the organization to focus on six core digital strategies that drive digital customer experience and digital operational excellence in support of customers. Each of these strategies is an integral component of the CIOs BT agenda:

  • Digitize the end-to-end customer experience
  • Digitize products and services inside the customer’s value ecosystem
  • Create trusted machines
  • Digitize for agility over efficiency
  • Drive rapid customer centric innovation
  • Source enhanced operational capabilities within a dynamic ecosystem
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Facebook's Mobile Ad Revenue Signals The Escalation Of The Mobile Mind Shift

Ted Schadler

Facebook's steely revenue march is fueled by mobile ads: 62% of Facebook's Q2 2014 advertising revenue came from mobile ads, up from 41% just a year ago. This ad revenue may still just be a paper castle waiting to fall -- my colleage Nate Elliott's analysis that Facebook is still failing marketers suggests that. But right now over a billion people around the world -- 81% of its entire member base -- access Facebook on mobile devices every month, twice as many as did just two years ago (see Figure 1). And they are seeing ads.

Source: Facebook

I see three important conclusions stemming from Facebook's results:

  1. The mobile mind shift is hitting critical mass around the world. People increasingly engage with people, information, and services on their mobile devices first. Forrester forecasts that 2.4 billion will have smartphones by 2017, twice the number as in 2012. So if your customer isn't mobile today, they will be soon -- across every generation. Firms must serve their increasingly impatient mobile customers with great mobile experiences. It's what our book, The Mobile Mind Shift, is about. Facebook is both driving and benefiting from the mobile mind shift as it delivers ever-more services on the devices people crave.
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Should You Buy More Infrastructure Or Subscribe To A Cloud Service For Videoconferencing?

Philipp Karcher

Videoconferencing infrastructure connects videoconferencing endpoints — the conference-room-based systems, desktop clients, and mobile apps people use to join meetings. By prioritizing solutions that make the technology available to all employees with a simplified guest access model for partners and customers, organizations can make the case that video enhances collaboration and improves business outcomes.

Our Wave evaluation of videoconferencing infrastructure and cloud services vendors includes the 10 most significant OEMs: Acano, AGT, Avaya, Blue Jeans Network, Cisco Systems, Lifesize, Pexip, Polycom, Videxio, and Vidyo. The vast majority of systems integrators, telcos, and conferencing specialists with video offerings actually resell, white-label, or stand up their own services based on these evaluated vendors' products.

A key tenet of the evaluation was to include BOTH vendors that sell infrastructure and vendors that focus only on the cloud. It’s important to compare both camps because large enterprises want to know which vendors can help them extend or replace their existing investments in infrastructure on premises. A key finding from our research is that there are indeed many large enterprises logging 1 million minutes or more of videoconferencing from cloud services per month, and some replacing their large deployments of infrastructure with cloud services entirely. Alternatively, some are setting up their own "private cloud" environments with virtualized infrastructure.

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Apple Shores Up Its Enterprise Position In Asia With IBM Partnership

Tim Sheedy

You’ve probably already seen the announcement of the partnership between IBM and Apple; Forrester clients can read more about it here, along with our deeper analysis.

While I can’t comment on the trends in North America and Europe, I know that there are some interesting dynamics in the enterprise mobility space in Asia Pacific at the moment. The penetration of technologies like BYOD, customer mobility, and employee-facing mobile apps has been relatively low in many Asian countries, putting the region’s companies behind their North American peers for the most part. I still speak with CIOs and marketing leaders about why they should have a mobility strategy or how they can help their employees stay productive regardless of location.

Don’t get me wrong: There are a lot of smartphones and tablets — particularly iPads — in businesses across the region. But many of these devices, especially the tablets, were personally acquired by employees — so they’re an “accessory tool,” not a core productivity tool; often, corporate tech management doesn’t support them and app-dev teams don’t develop for them.

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IBM’s Cloud Platform Strategy Is Getting Legitimate

James Staten

After a slow and somewhat disjointed start, it looks like IBM is starting to build some serious momentum in the Public Cloud Platform game. 

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A Vendor Arms Race To Fuel Contextual Mobile Apps

Michael Yamnitsky
Vendors across the board are building tools to add context-driven personalization features to mobile apps. Specifically, we see new offerings from vendors in personalization, mobile analytics, API management, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and the digital agencies for product and content recommendations, in-app messages, and voice-driven digital assistance
 
Marketers and developers are jumping at these solutions because creating more personalized digital experiences will be critical to remaining competitive. And as CIOs rationalize a larger software platform strategy, these solutions will plug specific mobile engagement gaps along the way. 
 
Want to hear more? In our new brief, Vendors Scramble To Enable Contextual Mobile Moments, we examine how different groups of vendors extend their capabilities to compete in the arms race to deliver contextual mobile apps and provide guidance for CIOs on managing the myriad solutions entering their organization.

Telcos Badly Need Shock Therapy -- But Politicians And Regulators Are Unlikely To Support This Treatment

Dan Bieler

The other day, I met with the strategy director of a European telco. Let’s call him Art. We shared an informal discussion about the future of telcos. Personally, I am fairly skeptical about the prospects of telcos to recover ground – in particular in Europe.

Consumers are more concerned about the apps they use and the devices that they have than what connectivity they use, as I outline in the report The Future Of Over-The-Top Services. Forrester’s Customer Experience Index, which measures consumer perceptions of telco services, shows telcos near the bottom of all sector readings.

On the business side, data from Forrester’s Business Technographics® Global Networks And Telecommunications Survey, 2014 shows that business users trust systems integrators and independent solution specialists more than telcos with almost all voice and data service, because they feel that telcos don’t understand their specific business requirements as well.

Add an unfavorable regulatory environment — which, under the umbrella of the net neutrality debate, is about to close the door on commercial relationships regarding quality connectivity between content and network providers — and it becomes difficult to be wildly optimistic about the future of telcos. Yet, this is not where our discussion ended. Art pointed to three major issues where telcos will need shock therapy:

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European Tech Market Showing Signs Of Life, But Not Yet A Boom

Andrew Bartels
Forrester has just published its annual European Tech Market Outlook (see "At Last, A Tech Market Recovery In Europe"), and we are projecting modest growth of 2.3% in euros in 2014 for European business and government purchases of technology goods and services, with an acceleration to 4.9% in 2015.  There are some bright spots in the European tech market:

  • Spending on technology that supports customer facing processes (e.g,, customer relationship management, marketing automation, mobile applications, eCommerce solutions, Web content management, etc.) will rise by over 10% as firms put priorities on technologies that help them directly win, serve, and retain more empowered customers;
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