booking and expense reimbursement on the Concur platform,
which will start to roll out in the coming ;scal year. On the
travel booking side, the U.S. has had device parity for at least
two years, Schoen told BTN, characterizing mobile parity as
table stakes for a modern managed travel program. He expects the E2E Travel@Siemens rollout will provide the same,
plus add mobile expense reporting.
Simpli;cation. Along with ;attening out bureaucratic corporate
structures, Siemens management was also simplifying corpo-
rate processes. “This has become an issue of employee produc-
tivity and satisfaction and among other things, to help attract
and retain talent,” said Schoen. “That includes corporate travel
processes. Employees don’t want to have to jump through hoops
to do their jobs. They just want to be productive.”
Transparency. The team wanted to move responsibility and
accountability for travel decisions directly to the traveler as
an owner. “What a concept!” Schoen said. The deal was that
travel and expense management would clear the heavy lifting
away in exchange for transparency. “It’s like we are telling
them: ‘We’ll do all the above for you. But you and the ;rst-line manager are going to be responsible for the decisions that
you make,’” he said.
Global Policy Galvanizes Change
Global human resources and supply chain management recognized early in the process that Siemens would require a
Why is a mobile travel program so impor-
tant at Dycom?
Dycom is a construction firm, and the biggest piece of our travel is in hotel for our
field drivers, our people who are on the
road building cell phone towers and digging
ditches. They aren’t sitting in front of computers. They need a mobile program.
Yet you signed with a TMC that didn’t
have a mobile app.
Dycom is also interesting in that it’s made
up of 45 standalone companies, and they
all have their own ways of doing things.
But the total travel spend isn’t the most.
I wanted a TMC that was going to let me
be flexible and create the program that I
needed to serve this company. With Short’s
Travel, I knew I would be a bigger fish in
their pond but also that they have a great
track record of innovation. I also knew that
they were far down the road with their
mobile app and that I would have the opportunity to influence the tool as they were
bringing it to the market.
How did you do that?
David [LeCompte, Short’s Travel CEO,]
and I have worked on innovation together
before—even before I was a client. This
time I really pushed him to make the
mobile app simple, make it easy. Make
sure travelers can book hotels. Make sure
there’s a one-page policy if someone forgets what they’re supposed to do. Make
it sleek and easy to look at itineraries.
In the past, you used traveler messaging to manage what you coined “the
consumption portion of the trip.” Are you
doing that with the Short’s Travel app?
David has actually built out the mapping
functionality; the chat function and messaging out for duty of care and en route
procurement will be coming very soon.
Do you care about your travelers using
We provide mobile devices to all our field
guys, and we only push out the apps that
we want them to have. We push out Short’s
Travel app, an expense app and a virtual
card app. We don’t really see them going
Since most of your travel volume is hotel,
I assume the virtual card supports that?
The Department of Transportation regulates how long our drivers can be on the
road and when they have to stop driving.
The tricky thing is: Travelers don’t necessarily know where they are going to be at
that time. They have to have flexibility to
get off the road, find a hotel and be able
to pay for that hotel. We signed with CSI
GlobalVCard to give our drivers a mobile
payment solution. They can book the hotel on the mobile travel app, pay with the
virtual card and then present an image of
that card at the front desk. Of course, we
are still dealing with faxes when it comes
to hotels; let’s not even get into that. But
having the ability to re-fax a confirmation
to the hotel through the payment app sort
of automates that piece. But the point is
that they can’t really plan, so we have to
have a program that will work for them
on the fly.
Dycom’s necessity sounds like a precursor to the travel program of the future,
when travelers will expect a program to
be flexible enough to accommodate them
and pay on the fly.
That has crossed my mind. As we get deeper
into artificial intelligence and machine learning that can recommend flights and hotels or
just tell the traveler, “This is your best flight,
this is your best hotel,” based on where they
are and how their company wants them
to travel. Then the process will book and
pay for them. That kind of capability—and
those expectations from a new generation of
travelers—may finally drive travel managers
to embrace mobile.
BTN 2017 BEST PRACTITIONER
Jennifer Steinke was one of the first and continues to be among the strongest advocates for mobile travel programs. Why? “Because I live
and breathe by this device,” she said, clutching her smartphone. In providing for Dycom’s unique travel needs, she has created what might
be considered a precursor to travel program processes of the future.
MANAGER OF CORPORATE TRAVEL,