An E-Commerce Company That Can Pay The Bills

  • Written By: D. Geller
  • Published On: May 22 2000



An E-Commerce Company That Can Pay The Bills
D. Geller - May 22, 2000

Event Summary

If you pop out to Staples for some of those purple folders that you need right away, you know to keep the receipt and submit a check request form. It's a simple procedure for you, but multiplied across the company, and including payments for magazine subscriptions, training courses, and dozens of other everyday expenses, the number of reports that need to be routed, approved and converted to checks can be a corporate headache. Hearst Corporation, an early adopter of Concur Technologies' (NASDAQ: CNQR) Payment Expert, expects that 16,000 employees will use the product over the next year and that it will handle 100,000 payment requests.

Concur Payment Expert is a module within the eWorkplace Solution Suite (see Concur eWorkplace Projects Vision Onto Desktop) and can also be used as a standalone application. According to Concur it contains the following functionality:

  • Multiple invoices per payment request. An unlimited number of invoices from a single vendor may be included on a request.

  • Multiple account distributions per invoice - A single invoice may contain up to 99 account distributions.

  • Account distributions by percent and/or dollar amount-For example, a request can specify that 30 percent should be allocated to account A, and 70 percent allocated to account B.

  • Tax integration - Integration with third-party tax software for proper calculation, validation, and storage of sales and use tax values.

Market Impact

According to Concur the genesis of this product is quite simple. They spoke to their customers, and those of competitors, about what was missing from the available e-commerce suites, and a solution for the torrent of one-off checks that need to be processed. Listening to the market and building a solution for a problem than nearly everyone seems to have is always a winning strategy.

Building the product so that it can run standalone may net Concur some business from customers of its competitors, but we wouldn't expect that to be a major source of revenue. This is not a product that other vendors with competent workflow engines - people like Peregrine and Remedy - will have trouble replicating in fairly short order.

There's likely to be more penetration into larger companies with vendors like Commerce One and Ariba, which are less likely to move quickly to add this capability to their product suites. But that's probably not a big issue for Concur, which we believe expects most of the revenue from Payment Expert to come from existing and new suite customers.

User Recommendations

If taming the expense report monster is important then you will want to take a close look at Payment Expert. For Concur's current customers the decision will be easy to make, based on cost and function.

If you are not an existing Concur customer then it does make sense to press your own vendor about a similar product, because a higher degree of integration is always better. But if you need this capability sooner rather than later and if the standalone version will do the job, then by all means go for it.

 
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