SAP Concur, a global leader in integrated travel, expense, and invoice management solutions, has revealed its business forecast for 2024. Executives predict that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be the common thread weaving through the fabric of their predictions. SAP Concur’s solutions have included AI at their core for approximately ten years, but increased visibility prompted by generative AI in 2023 has thrust these advances into the limelight. Indeed, it is expected that AI will be pivotal in the ways all businesses operate, particularly travel, expense, and invoice (TEI) management.
The outlined trends for 2024 comprise of virtual payments simplifying reimbursement methods, technology and budget adaptability increasing organisational certainty, the emergence of predictive analytics for expenditure management, tension arising from business travel cost reduction, and Corporate Social Responsibility, New Distribution Capability (NDC), and AI being at the centre of the travel industry.
Within these anticipated 2024 trends, Christopher Juneau, Head of SAP Concur Market Strategy stresses the impact of AI and automation: “Most transactions will use trusted payment methods, and AI will quickly validate them as compliant, enabling near-instant reimbursement,” he says. Tom Lavin, Chief Controlling Officer, Marketing and Solutions, believes flexible planning and embracing AI will help companies navigate expected economic uncertainty: he suggests asking generative AI “to prepare a full budget based on available data from multiple sources, freeing up finance’s time to focus on quality control and decision-making."
Tim Lebel, Vice President and Head of Spend Products, envisions a greater role for predictive analytics within AI, stating that “generative AI…will begin to change…[business], creating an organizational ‘back office’ where computers work together to run the show”. He believes automatic data analysis will be useful, for example, to “minimize travel costs, ensuring the company is using resources in the best way possible.”
Amy Padgett, Vice President, Travel Marketing Strategy, predicts tension between employees and companies over business travel policy as cost-cutting measures intensify. She counsels the need to “better meet [employee] needs and expectations".
Charlie Sultan, President, Concur Travel, believes we will see “a combination of costs and benefits from travel industry trends in 2024”. Interestingly, his predictions hint at the benefits of generative AI integration across various corporate departments, from finance and procurement to HR.
SAP Concur executives' predictions suggest that the combination of AI with other technologies and practices will give businesses the tools to navigate uncharted territory in 2024. These tools will transform cumbersome, time-consuming tasks, creating space for strategic decision-making and optimisation of resources. It's increasingly clear that AI will be a key player in companies' response to the future business landscape.