Travel and expense management is hustling to keep up with the changing habits of business travelers. Use of traditionally consumer-facing services, like Uber and Airbnb, combined with a greater demand among travelers to access expense management tools remotely, is placing mounting pressure on T&E technology companies.
Which market players are surpassing the competition? Once again, research firm PayStream Advisors took to assessing the travel and expense management field, and its latest report offers its unbiased conclusions.
Via its Navigator assessment model, PayStream examined an array of factors impacting the performance of travel and expense management service providers. These aspects include scores given for versatility, post-trip analysis capabilities, pre-trip planning and booking capabilities, mobility, expense report compatibility and others.
Pros And Cons
Researchers examined nearly a dozen T&E firms: Apptricity, Certify, Chrome River, Concur, Coupa, DATABASICS, ExpenseWatch, Expensify, Infor, InterplX and SutiSoft.
In a breakdown of each, PayStream made the following conclusions:
Apptricity: A key strength is its ability to ease friction for travel managers and administrators, in particular, though it lacks a native booking tool.
Certify: This firm was highlighted as one of the few to have its own, native booking solution and scored strong thanks to its automation capabilities. However, Certify does not offer custom report generation, analysts warned.
Chrome River: The ease of report creation, approval and workflow stood out within Chrome River, but researchers noted that the firm no longer provides updates to its mobile app as its web application is mobile-friendly.
Concur: As one of the oldest T&E service providers in the list, Concur’s strength lies in its seamless integration of solutions into a business; the company, however, uses a strategy of partnering with third-party service providers and linking their services into its own app store. Analysts noted that this could cause friction for users required to access multiple apps at once.
Coupa: This company was cited for its strong mobile capabilities, but the report notes that Coupa does not use OCR data capture technology, instead requiring users to utilize voice capture so they can input receipt and card data into the solution.
DATABASICS: Researchers said this solution is a strong competitor for multinational companies or businesses with complex reporting requirements. The firm does not offer a native booking tool, however.
ExpenseWatch: Analysts pointed to the company’s strengths in report generation and submission services, especially for mid-market users, but it lacks comprehensive integration with booking tools, analysts said.
Expensify: Expense capture, report generation and submission are all strengths for Expensify. Analysts said that the tool, though, falls short in booking or pre-trip approval capabilities.
Infor: As one of the largest companies on the list, Infor was cited for its extensive resources and global capabilities in language and currency conversion, but its user interface was noted as a possible point in need of improvement.
InterplX: Key to the company’s strengths is its audit reconciliation and quick reimbursement tools, researchers said. The company lacks a mobile app for Android and iOS, however.
SutiSoft: Several aspects of SutiSoft were highlighted as strengths, including workflow, reimbursement, reconciliation and pre-trip approval. Analysts suggested that the company now invest more resources to develop more innovative solutions that enhance the experience for corporate travelers.
Overall, Concur and Coupa scored the highest on a grid analysis of adaptability and proficiency among the other leading corporate travel and expense management service companies. But Certify and Expensify have seen some of the largest growth in the past few years, success that researchers anticipate will continue in the coming years as well.
More Choice, More Competition
With so many top competitors in today’s market, researchers at PayStream also examined the T&E industry overall as it continues to embrace mobility and innovation.
“PayStream estimates that the total served market for TEM [travel and expense management] solutions is approximately $1.1 billion,” the report concluded — and that’s without on-premise solutions. By the end of the decade, the industry will see $2.1 billion in revenue, researchers predicted.
Today, adoption of sophisticated travel and expense management solutions is scattered; researchers estimated that about 78 percent of enterprise organizations have integrated such tools, while just 35 percent of lower and mid-market businesses have done the same. But with near-complete adoption expected for 2020, researchers say SMEs will actually be paving the way for much of T&E’s growth in the coming years.
According to PayStream Advisors Research Director and TEM Navigator report author Jimmy LeFever, in order to improve adoption rates of travel and expense management solutions businesses need to do their research.
“For potential buyers who are identifying which solutions to consider, there is simply no other tool available that compares the strengths and weaknesses of travel and expense management software to this level of detail and accuracy,” he said in a statement. “We developed the TEM Navigator report to fill this market void.”