Digitally transforming the Capgemini Group’s travel and expenses function

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Our people can now submit, upload, and even approve documents on their mobile phones, eliminating the need for voluminous paper-based receipts.

As a technology and consulting company, we’re always suggesting the latest new tools, technologies, and processes to our clients. But do we use these tools and technologies ourselves? In other words, do we practice what we preach?

It has to be said. Our T&E process was in a bit of a mess. It would take 4–6 weeks to get hold of the paper invoice from the credit card company, after which it would go to an approver for a number of weeks before the credit card company was finally paid.

Our people almost always ended up having to apply for higher cash advances or card spending limits—purely as a precautionary measure against exhausting their spending limits and their cards getting blocked. They would also spend hours tracking invoices and filing claims, often at the cost of more value-added work. It wasn’t just inefficient and slow, but it also made the cash cycle longer and tracking expenses tedious. Sounds familiar?

Implementing a global T&E solution

As part of a company-wide move towards globalization and cost rationalization, Capgemini took the decision to simplify, automate, and standardize T&E across geographies. A central project team was set up to create a target operating model and a global template was created for our “MyExpense” tool. Critical success factors included unique travel policies for several countries, the availability of key people at the required time, and empowering the right decision-makers.

The other major factor was the choice of platform on which Capgemini’s T&E tool would be based. We wanted a cost-effective global tool from an independent vendor, already in use by a number of large corporations, which would minimize our implementation change management effort.

We finally decided on Concur, which, as well as being a truly global T&E solution, is flexible enough to allow for local nuances. Concur enabled us to implement a global standard T&E policy that resulted in a common process, digital enablement, improved controllership, and enhanced governance. Once the platform was in place, we rolled out our “MyExpense” tool—which was no mean feat for a company that boasts 200,000 employees across 40 countries.

Reduced cycle time, reduced cost

Implementing this solution has simplified our T&E process, while standardizing and improving the user experience. Our people can now submit, upload, and even approve documents on their mobile phones, eliminating the need for voluminous paper-based receipts. Cycle times have been reduced, as have the associated costs.

The tool has also given us much greater visibility into expenses across the organization and enabled us to put a very robust governance mechanism around the entire process in place. All our implementation milestones were met and the team even won an award from Concur France for our deployment effort.

The lessons learned

In short, the project has been a great success. So what exactly did we learn from this transformation? Here are my key takeaways from the transformation:

  • Sponsorship—backing from top leadership is crucial for the success of any technology transformation. Driving change management to mobilize, utilize, and train your human resources needs championing from the top.
  • Right team—successful Concur implementation requires you to enable the right people with the authority to make quick decisions. It requires detailed planning to ensure the availability of the required experts from across your organization, including Finance, HR, Taxes, and Communications.
  • Standardized processes and policies—another key aspect is standardization of travel policies before starting on the technological implementation.

With these things in place, any implementation of Concur will flow smoothly and deliver a range of business outcomes. These include immense convenience to employees through providing a digital solution in their hand, simplified processes, enhanced governance, reduced cycle time, and most importantly, increased savings due to scale efficiencies.

To learn more about how Capgemini can transform your T&E function, contact: atul.kulshreshtha@capgemini.com

Learn more about how Capgemini’s Finance Powered by Intelligent Automation offering can transform your finance operations.

 About the author

Atul Kulshreshtha is a tech-savvy business leader with 30 years’ experience in BPO and shared services transformation. He is passionate about operational excellence, talent development, and exploring new disruptive technologies that can enhance the efficiency of business operations. He has successfully designed and implemented value-adding solutions for clients across a range of businesses.

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