Business Research. Business Travel eprocurement. Business Travel Process analog or web based?

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1 Business Travel eprocurement Business Travel Process analog or web based? A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers Unternehmensberatung GmbH Frankfurt/Berlin, November 2000

2 This report has been created by PricewaterhouseCoopers as requested by i:fao Aktiengesellschaft. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the following companies for their generous cooperation and for providing their valued expertise: Andersen Consulting, BASF AG, Continental Reifen AG, Siemens AG. The data for this report was gathered from June 2000 through September It will be published in November 2000 and will be available in both German and English. PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/2000 1

3 Directory Business Research Directory 1 Management Summary 5 2 Objectives 7 3 Comparison of the conventional and web based standard process Procedure Travel application Mining of basic travel data and authorization of the trip Travel Organization Registration of travel conditions/facts Conformity check on travel guidelines Travel booking Ticketing Travel billing Registration of travel expenses Audit of travel cost billing Authorization of travel expenses Billing and payment Reporting and Controlling Differences conventional and web based booking processes 18 4 Potential analysis SWOT analysis of web based business travel booking User perspectives Strengths Weaknesses Critical Success Factors 31 5 Financial Optimizing and Saving Potential Splitting Business Travel Volume Saving Potential Indirect Travel expenses Process Costs Personnel expenses Direct Travel expenses Investment Costs Hardware Costs Software Costs Process Optimizing Costs Cost-Benefit Analysis Scenario I Type A -Company 44 2 PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/2000

4 Directory Scenario II Type B -Company Scenario III Type C -Company Summary 49 ANNEX A 51 Table Directory 52 Illustration Directory 53 Abbreviation 54 Publisher s Information 55 PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/2000 3

5

6 Management Summary 1 Management Summary The study at issue evaluates the potential and risk of Web-based Business Travel Management and analyses general conditions and improvements necessary for operation. The technical basis is established by the so called Internet-Booking- Engine (IBE), which determines the conditions of the whole booking process reorganization. Process steps in the phases of trip application, travel organization, travel cashing up, reporting and controlling can effectively be supported by a Webbased tool including an online-booking system and interfaces to external service providers. This procedure is applicable to all point-to-point bookings and establishes a direct link to the service providers. Such a Web-based process takes advance of optimizing potentials regarding standard business trips for the whole travel management of a company. Thereby a standard business trip is defined as a singular point-to-point booking, including flight, car rental, train and hotel booking. In the operational sector process costs (indirect travel costs) can be reduced about 25% by continuous IT-support and reorganization of the booking process. Increased transparency regarding to kind and amount of purchased services from service providers (flight, hotel, train etc.) lead to an improvement in lower purchasing conditions. The reduction of purchasing prices (direct travel costs) by 5% used as a basis for this study is a conservative approach and is focussed on companies already having optimized their travel management processes. Consistent and redundancy-free data maintenance as well as electronic archiving of the necessary documents leads to avoidance of media changes. Electronic validation of trip to be booked and travel guidelines guarantees conformity with the travel guidelines. In the future increased flexibility is required from both travelers and companies. An online booking tool guarantees this flexibility along the whole process chain by access to the booking process via web that is independent of location and time. Travel Management will be relieved of operational tasks and therefore can increasingly orientate towards strategic subjects. From a PwC point of view Travel Management will establish itself as an integrated part of the purchase department in the long run. In an optimum situation, using an Internet-Booking-Engine allows to bypass travel intermediaries. By shifting responsibility to travelers, a stronger integration into Travel Management s interests will occur; travelers can plan their trips more flexibly and independently. Basis for this is an automated securing of travel guide- PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/2000 5

7 Management Summary Business Research lines by the EDP-system and improved possibilities of steering by travel management. Realizing the mentioned optimization potentials requires management effort in order to guarantee that standard trips are booked exclusively utilizing the web based booking process. To implement the outlined Web-based processes the following critical conditions are to be assured: The establishment of a web based procedure assumes an IT-infrastructure that allows an integration of internal and external processes. Travelers need access to the internet. Necessary data protection for a Web-based booking process (e.g. firewalls) needs to be implemented. In order to realize all given potential, the system implementation needs to be supported by process reengineering. This requires detailed planning and project management. Referring to the poll by GfK 2000 only 5% of all interviewed companies use online booking tools with direct connection to reservation systems and automated travel guidelines so far. However, 19% of the interviewed companies intend to introduce this technology during the next two years. The most influential factors from a financial point of view are the number of travelers, the number of trips per traveler and the percentage of standard-trips. The developed scenarios and analysis show that at a level of about bookings per year amortization will already be reached within less than a year. that even with a conservative estimation of cost reduction (i.e. 25% costs of processes and about 5% direct costs) overall savings of about 6% per year can be realized. The developments in travel management are tightly correlated with the trends of e-procurement in purchasing. 6 PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/2000

8 Objectives 2 Objectives Due to increasing globalization business travel volume in Germany has increased extremely during the last five years. Besides wages and salaries and expenditures for research and development, travel expenses are one of the highest cost factors in German companies. The strong increase is reflected in a growing consciousness and new demands on companies Business Travel Management (BTM). Therefore, especially companies with a high volume of travel expenses analyze their direct and indirect business travel expenses and optimize their administrative processes regarding business travel. The present business case, drawn by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of i:fao AG, examines the existence and nature of optimizing potential that can be realized by utilizing web based business travel management systems. Additionally these potentials are confronted with possible risks. Illustration 1 graphically depicts the procedure of the business case s elaboration. The present study is based on three pillars: workshop results, a reference model developed by PwC and topical analysis and evaluations and benchmarks related to business travel management (Step 1). The workshops were carried out in four German major companies, which represent a business travel volume of approx. DM 2 bn. Illustration 1: Procedure Elaboration Business Case Workshopresults PwCreference model Benchmarks Step 1 Construction of a conventional and a web based process model for business travel booking Step 2 Description and neutral comparison of the process models (Chapter 3) Step 3 SWOT Analysis: Elaboration of the monetary forces and weaknesses with regard to quality of an internet based travel management (Chapter 4) Step 4 Scenario Analysis: Focussing of the monetary aspects and the calculation of different scenarios (Chapter 5) Step 5 PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/2000 7

9 Objectives Business Research Based on these three pillars the PwC-reference models for business travel booking/-cashing up have been verified (appendix A). The conventional process model essentially derived from the PwC reference model represents one possible form, deputizing for many different practical alternatives. The web based process model established by PwC has been developed in the course of the study and verified in the workshops. The following step (step 3) describes and compares both models impartially in order to create a common initial position for the following drawing up (cf. chapter 0). Step 4 highlights the quantitative and qualitative optimization potentials as well as the threats. This is accomplished through the comparison of the conventional and the web based standard process model with the help of a SWOT analysis (cf. chapter 3). The strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats of an internet based tool implementation are drawn up. Assuming different prevailing parameters, step 5 focuses on the sheer financial consequences (cf. chapter 5). In a cost benefit analysis the investments necessary for an implementation are confronted with the expected saving potential. 8 PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/2000

10 Comparison of the conventional and web based standard process 3 Comparison of the conventional and web based standard process 3.1 Procedure In the following paragraph, the current form of business travel booking is compared descriptively to an internet based business travel booking process. The conventional standard process of business travel booking has been defined on the basis of workshop results, a PwC reference model and current benchmarks of the business travel management. The intention of the conventional process is not to show all possible forms, but to define a usual process as a basis for discussion and comparison. The web based standard process for business travel booking has been developed in tight co-operation with operative Business Travel Managers, but independently from business travel booking tools existing on the market. This chapter deals with an impartial but comparing explanation of the processes, as they are shown in appendix A. It is the basis for the following SWOT analysis. The following description and comparison of the conventional and the web based standard processes is focussed on process phases which are independent of the models. These process phases could be identified in both process models. Illustration 2: Process phases and process steps Travel application Travel organization Travel billing Reporting/Controlling Process 1 Process 2 Process 3 Process 4 Process 5 Process 6 Process 7 Process 8 Process 9 Process 10 Process 11 Mining of basic travel data Authorization of the trip Registration of travel conditions and facts Conformity check on travel guidelines Travel booking Ticketing Registration of travel expenses Audit of travel cost billing Authorization of travel expenses Billing and payment Reporting/ Controlling Travel application, organization, cashing up and Reporting & Controlling were identified as the four main process phases. The process phase travel application is composed of the process steps Compilation of the basic travel information and Authorization of the planned trip, the process phase travel organization contains the process steps Registration of the travel conditions/ facts, Checking on travel guideline conformity, Booking the trip and Ticketing. The process phase travel billing consists of the process steps Registration of the travel costs and PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/2000 9

11 Comparison of the conventional and web based standard process Business Research Accounting and payment. The overall process booking business trip ends with Reporting and Controlling. Internal and external organization units can be involved indirectly as well as directly in the business trip booking process. Internal organization units are, in the following paragraph, the organizational Units Travel Management, Travelers, Decision Makers, Travel Cost Cashing up, Financial Accounting, Controlling and Human Resources. Travel centers, service providers (airlines, hotels, car rental companies, train) and credit card companies compose the external organization units. Web based business travel booking enables several efficiency enhancements along the process chain. In summary these changes are the integration and automation of process steps, the reduction of organization units involved in the process and the implementation of new concepts. These adaptations are made possible by information technology. The process is based on a workflow management system (WfMs) as a steering component, which basically takes on the task of the administration and the active arranging of the online document flow. The process clippings presented below compare the conventional sequence with the web based sequence from business trip application to travel organization. Presuming a smooth accounting sequence without process detour the clipping focuses on the main process only. The illustration shows the integration of different partial processes in a web based sequence. Travelers perform all activities necessary for the trip booking in interaction with the online booking tool. These activities can be executed uninterrupted, without switching the medium and without any further communication. All interim conditions which are necessary for the booking in the conventional process are archived in the web based process as well. 10 PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/2000

12 Comparison of the conventional and web based standard process Illustration 3: Comparison of conventional and web based process trip application and trip organization Application has to be explicitly authorized V Travel requirement has arised XOR Travel requirement has arised Compilation of the basic information of the trip Trip is applied for Authorization of the applied trip manual XOR Trip is authorized automatic media break Coordination travel conditions between traveller and Travel Center V Compilation travel conditions / facts Compilation of the basic information of the trip V Compilation travel conditions / facts V media break Trip is authorized Travel conditions coordinated and compiled Trip is authorized Travel conditions coordinated and compiled V V V V V Trip booking Trip booking automatic XOR XOR Trip is booked and changes (cancelling, change of booking) necessary Trip is booked and no changes necessary Trip is booked and changes (cancelling, change of booking) necessary Trip is booked and no changes necessary Medienbruch media break... manual Travel papers are sent (by intern mail) or deposited in the TC... Travel papers are sent electronically on demand only conventional Travel papers reached the traveller web based Travel papers reached the traveller PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/

13 Comparison of the conventional and web based standard process Business Research 3.2 Travel application Mining of basic travel data and authorization of the trip Conventional: The basic travel information in the conventional process is compiled by means of paper, mentioning name, personal number, cost center, telephone number, trip duration, destination, purpose of the trip reason and preferred means of transport. In the conventional process, the necessity of an explicit authorization is given in advance because of company related specifics concerning travel guidelines. From the process sequence point of view it is a matter of passive regulation. In the phase of trip application the traveler is responsible for the application of the guidelines. In general, there is an authorization intended for the trip and another one for the trip plan. There is a tendency to demand only an authorization for the trip application, as shown in the conventional PwC model (cf. appendix A). This authorization will be given at a time, when the exact trip plan is not fixed yet. In case of a paper based trip application, the authorization of a trip is often asked from the decision maker. In addition, employees of the travel center and the decision maker (representing another organization unit) might be involved in the process besides the traveler. Web based: In the internet based model of trip booking, the travelers compile their trip plan, the travel conditions and the existing travel facts online first. Based on this detailed data base the system checks the trip with regard to all necessary guidelines and rules, e.g. travel guidelines, travel budgets and personal profiles. Such detailed data allows a determined identification of exceptions, i. e. non conform trip plans. The checking takes place dynamically and standardized, so that changes in travel guidelines are immediately active and can be applied to all travel organizations. Only in the case of the identified exceptions, the decision maker will be involved as an additional organizational unit. The described procedure presupposes that the necessary guidelines and instructions are inserted centrally into the system. Thus, in the web based model, only the traveler and as an exception the decision maker are involved. I. e. if trips are booked in agreement with the guidelines they are automatically accepted by the system. Only if this is not the case the decision maker has to authorize manually. In accordance to PwC experiences about 95 99% of all bookings are in line with existing travel guidelines. In addition, the decision makers are provided with a better, i. e. safer and more detailed basis for decision making. In the case of web based booking the described steps cannot unambiguously be related to the phases Trip application or Travel organization because they are integrated embracing both phases by the online support. 12 PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/2000

14 Comparison of the conventional and web based standard process 3.3 Travel Organization Registration of travel conditions/ facts Conventional: For the conventional process which intends an explicit trip application, the authorization is followed by the actual travel organization. The traveler sends the authorized basic travel information to the responsible staff at the travel center. Different media like telephone, fax, or personal meetings are usually used in this procedure. Based on the transmitted basic information, the travel center agents prepare a travel plan, i. e. the travel conditions and facts are compiled. This phase is accompanied by a permanent coordination between the traveler and the travel center employee. Communication is primarily done by telephone. Other ways of communication, like fax or , are used as well. Web based: The sequences of a web based standard process have already been described in Conformity check on travel guidelines Conventional: Currently the travel center agents are in charge of checking on the travel guidelines. For this task the travel center agents are prepared by trainings and provided with access to the current travel guideline documents. Currently the subdivision of the process in application and organization and the missing IT-integration over the different process phases lead to multiple filing and maintenance of personal profiles. For instance, during the application, profiles are kept independently from each other, as a draft in the text processing, at the travel organization in the GDS (General Distribution Systems) and in addition, for example for the billing, in the travel center. Web based: The web based booking process requires centralized filing of all applied guidelines and data. As learnt from experience there must be access to the company specific and legal guidelines in addition to the personal travel profiles as well as also to other statistic data. As an example a credit card-cost center-classification or a classification between projects and project members is mentioned The system actively supports the checking rather than passively. A responsible person, often a travel manager, controls and maintains the checking centrally. That is to say that the active checking, which is currently spread among different travel center agents will be transferred to the system and will be made consistent Travel booking Conventional: In the current process of business travel booking, system support is limited because the information is made available passively only. The booking takes place within a communication process between the travel center agent and the traveler. Practical experience shows that the coordination process spans the time period from PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/

15 Comparison of the conventional and web based standard process Business Research first planning until the actual beginning of the trip. If there are any changes (change of booking / canceling), the referring booking case will be restarted. Both at the travel organization and at the booking and changes, external travel mediators, like travel centers and owners of GDS, like Amadeus, Galileo and Sabre, are utilized. In the current process of business travel booking availability is limited by the working hours of the travel center employees. Web based: Within the internet based process, booking is carried out by directly linking the booking tool to the booking system. Travelers are the only ones who are responsible for their travel organization and booking. The activities shown in illustration 3 between the status travel requirement has arised and travel papers reached the traveler are bundled and integrated by an internet/ and intranet travel interface. For any changes, travelers have access to their own booking. Within a web based process travel mediators can be avoided by directly linking the service providers to the internet interface. Considering the whole process, the aim is a bundling of all external service providers. To achieve this objective, an opening of the external systems is necessary, in order to establish access to these systems over standardized interfaces. Because of the division of further organization units and the system shifting, a permanent temporal and spatial availability by internet access is enabled Ticketing Conventional: During ticketing, travel documents like trip schedules and paper tickets, are either deposited for pick-up or distributed by internal mail. Web based: In a process with integrated IT-infrastructure, the travel documents are transmitted and can be retrieved electronically when needed. For example when applying Payas-you-fly, the actual booking is only confirmed with actual boarding. This will trigger the debiting process. Such a redesign of the ticketing process results in an avoidance and therefore relief of the distributing unit. Following this trend, Deutsche Bahn for example already directs travel booking and ticketing towards WAPtechnology and mobile devices. 3.4 Travel billing The travel cost billing is composed of the incurred costs before beginning of the trip on the one hand and all during the trip incurred costs on the other hand. 14 PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/2000

16 Comparison of the conventional and web based standard process Registration of travel expenses Conventional: Currently the travel expenses are transferred from the CRS/GDS (e.g. START Amadeus) or other travel center systems into the ERP system in advance of the trip. The data transfer is realized utilizing different media (e.g. automated online data balancing, by CD ROM etc.). Costs accuring during the trip are often added over a decentral travel cost registration tool by the travelers themselves. The registered data is directly transmitted to the respective ERP system. Also a hardcopy of the billed items is created. This along with the corresponding receipts is the basis for authorization of the actual travel costs by the decision maker. As a consequence, it is necessary to proceed to an explicit assignment of the receipts. Web based: In a visionary process the transmission of travel cost in advance of the trip is automated and fed into the purchasing company s ERP system based on open interfaces via online linking. Invoices are issued by the service providers themselves. One has to note that the invoices are not activated until actual utilization of the service by the traveler, so this is a consistent enhancement and application of the Pay-as-youfly principle. Regarding the cost registration during the actual trip ( decentralized completion of travel cost billing ), immediate registration by mobile devices like cellular phones or hand-held-pcs is strived for Audit of travel cost billing Conventional: Currently an audit of the demanded travel expenses is performed manually before the travel expenses are actually accounted and a paying takes place. In most cases an in-house organizational unit for performing the travel expenses billing is established. The intensity of this audit ranges from a complete audit of all billed item to a spot check of individual billings. Web based: In a visionary process booking is automatically checked for travel guideline conformity, supported by comparable historic data. Automated preparatory work facilitates the checking authority s efficient checking. Not even in the future a deletion of the sub process manual accountancy audit is not desired. The manual spot check of travel expenses takes on two more functions. Quality assurance of the automated travel guideline is carried out. Also, manual checking data guarantees quality. PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/

17 Comparison of the conventional and web based standard process Business Research Authorization of travel expenses Conventional: As indicated in chapter 3.4.1, the current process requires an authorization of charged travel expenses. For this purpose the decision makers receive a hardcopy of the charged travel expenses and the corresponding receipts for signature. Web based: With IT support any billed travel expenses are checked automatically regarding conformity with legal and company specific regulations and guidelines. As a consequence, only exceptions are reported and will be explicitly authorized by means of conventional methods (cf. previous paragraph). This acting on exceptions stipulates that all guideline-conform bookings do not cause any further expenditures through authorizations. Through system support, conspicuousness is set on a consistent, standardized level. Actual exceptions ask for more precise manual checking and authorizations. Basically the decision maker is enabled to see all actual travel expenses. A media change is avoided by electronic signing Billing and payment The explicit authorization of a trip, as far as required, and the audit of the trip billing are conditions for payment the traveler. For both processes, for the conventional as well as for the internet-based, the travel costs in the ERP-system, already checked and authorized, are cashed up automatically. Conventional: Referring to the conventional process there are basically two known methods of payment. Either the company makes a down payment in advance or the company introduces company credit cards. As the tendency shows payments by company credit cards, down payments are no further taken into account here. The company credit card account is charged with the costs of the trip. The credit card is drawn on a private bank account or a company bank account. In the conventional process both ways of payment are common. To leave the travelers account unaffected when charging the private bank account, the credit card has to feature a sufficient credit period. Web based: A web based process is focussed on the travelers own responsibility. Therefor travel expenses are charged to their private account. Again the travelers are actually not burdened because of a sufficient credit period. The final payment takes place with authorization and flawless auditing by credit advice. 3.5 Reporting and Controlling Conventional: Analysis and evaluation of the trip are used as a controlling tool for the internal travel management, as plan control for the cost center responsible and as basis for condition negotiations for the travel management. 16 PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/2000

18 Comparison of the conventional and web based standard process Current reports are based on external data. The information sources are EDPsystems of credit card organizations (e.g. PC Netto), travel centers and other external service providers like car rental companies. Especially the turn over is analyzed and evaluated regarding different procedures (flight, rental cars, train, etc.) and the number of tickets or room nights respectively. In the analysis the canceling and change of booking and the data integration, e.g. the compilation of data from different sources, are difficult. In addition, in most cases a balancing between the current and the planned data cannot be done, because no consistent evaluation basis can be defined. An integration of the actually billed travel expenses has not taken place yet. The point of time and structure of the evaluation strongly depend on the means of data transmission by external service providers. Web based: A web based process intends to abolish existing dependencies on external data regarding to frequency and behavior of travel. All bookings over the internet/ intranet interface are recorded internally. In a Travel-data warehouse this data is brought together with the corresponding data from travel cost billing. The data is kept on the transaction level, so that an evaluation broken down to the smallest detail regarding to a variety of different characteristics becomes possible. Furthermore a balancing between the planned and current data is possible. The separate filing of data assures an improved control of the imported external data. All authorized organization units can, if required, access the current processing status of the travel data. That way the system produces a dissociation of communication and report processes. On that occasion previously involved mediating organization units, like e.g. decision makers which transmit authorizations, or an accounting department, which confirms the payments, can be excluded. PricewaterhouseCoopers 11/

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