Concur’s Raj Singh on the Emerging Mobile Scene and Where He Sees the Company Going in the Next Five Years (Part 2)

7/9/10

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pay for the cab from your iPhone. Without pulling out any cash, you’ll pay for the cab. And it’s pretty cool because the first time you do it the taxi cab driver’s display will ding and it’ll say he’s been paid, and that will automatically float through to your expense report. So you don’t have to fill it out on your expense report. It just shows up. That application is one of the top downloaded travel apps on the app store for Apple. It’s also got a Droid application, it’s got a BlackBerry application as well. You could imagine that same story for restaurant applications. We can book restaurant reservations online. Can we get that data electronically so I can fill your expense report for you automatically? Yeah, you probably can, and it’s something that we’re working on right now. You can imagine that same story for the rest of the business travel sector. So because mobile is available now and we know that the innovation curve on mobile is so significant, we think here’s some incredible things we can do to make an employee’s life a lot easier when they are on the road, and to really take the process of filling out the expense report completely away from them. They won’t have to do anything. And we think that’s very, very soon.

X: I know that Oracle and SAP are some big global companies that deal with similar software for business management. Are there smaller upstarts targeting the same small-business clientele as Concur? Who is the competition and what makes Concur different?

RS: Of course, yes. There are always going to be some businesses out there trying to compete—and to use your word, upstarts—who are out there trying to acquire the customer. So here’s what I think is really unique, and this is what I think is the fun part of Concur and why we’re all still here 17 years later. We’re still nimble enough to be able to make on the fly, really innovative changes to what we deliver in order to meet the clients’ needs, but we’re big enough to be able to really apply real resources to solve those problems. And so that means that we can deliver really incredible innovation in any given marketplace. And so think about that small business traveler or that small business employee. Today we’ve got applications that are available on every mobile platform to deliver so that they can actually do things like we talked about in terms of how they manage their expense report. We can deliver integration with applications like Taxi Magic because we’re big enough to take investments in businesses like those to deliver the integration required in order to make that work. We can also deliver a Concur Breeze application that is fully functional and is really leveraging a platform that was built with an understanding of how some of the more complicated businesses in the world did their expense reporting, but done in a really simple way so that it could be configured and built in 10 minutes and that you could pretrial for 30, 60, 90 days.

And so what do we think is unique? We think clearly the fact that we’ve got 10,000 clients and 7 million employees who use the software every day teaches us a lot about the way that this is supposed to work.

Due to time constraints, the last follow-up question was answered via e-mail.

X: With all the changes the company has gone through in the last 17 years, where do you see the team in the next five? I’m sure you, your brother and Mike still plan to be on-board, as you’ve been all along. But do you anticipate a shift in the company? Say a larger emphasis on mobile, or an expansion of your global market?

RS: There are several areas that Concur will be focusing on down the road. Obviously, given the recent Concur Breeze announcement, we’ll continue to focus on the SMB (small-to-mid-sized business) market. The emerging business market represents roughly one-third of the U.S. work force and roughly 40 percent of the global workforce, a significant market opportunity.

Mobile will also be a key strategy for us moving forward. I remain bullish about the current level of innovation associated with mobile and feel that mobility will take industry innovation to a new level by building on the cloud.

Finally, we’ll continue to focus on our global presence, building on our partnerships with international corporate travel leaders such as American Express and Amadeus, to extend the Concur platform and provide customers around the world more choice and enhanced value.

Thea Chard is a correspondent for Xconomy Seattle. You can e-mail her at theachard@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theachard. Follow @

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