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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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