SAP Cloud for Travel: A Newcomer Market Challenger

Rising travel costs, increasing business travel in this age of globalization, including online bookings across multiple sites, and increasing costs to process expenses all drive the development of travel and expenses (T&E) solutions. TEC’s P.J. Jakovljevic looks at SAP Cloud for Travel, and describes how recent enhancements in the product offer travelers and organizations additional choice and efficiencies for T&E management.

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Much has been said of late about SAP’s burgeoning Cloud Solutions portfolio around the People, Money, Customer, and Supplier lines of business (pillars), but very little attention has been paid to the novel product called SAP Cloud for Travel (formerly SAP Travel OnDemand), which is a part of the SAP’s Cloud Money pillar. Contrary to most of the SAP Cloud Solutions coming from blockbuster acquisition (e.g., SuccessFactors or Ariba), this cloud offering was developed internally by SAP. The product was commercially launched in February 2012, and has since had six quarterly release cycles. SAP has embraced an AGILE product development approach with the goal of providing market responsiveness with frequent enhancements. Each quarter has seen an expansion of both the functional and global footprint of the solution.

Travel Industry Trends

Like its peer travel and expenses (T&E) management products by Concur Technologies, Infor, Workday, Coupa, and KDS, the SAP Cloud for Travel solution is designed to enhance a corporation's visibility into and control over the expense management and reimbursement processes, helping companies cut travel costs and complexity while aiming to increase compliance and employee productivity (see figure 1). Rising travel costs, increasing business travel in this age of globalization, and increasing costs to process expenses all drive the development of such T&E solutions, which support cloud and mobility as a matter of course. In addition, there are ever fewer travel agents in the world but more and more travel Web sites, resulting in an increased number of travelers booking their own trips (more than 40 percent, according to some research).

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