Here’s a transcript of the interview.
Welcome back to The Price of Business, I’m your host Kevin Price with KineticGrowth.com. Love this firm, love the creative things they are involved in, and certainly love their content and the information they bring us every single time they are on The Price of Business
Seth, welcome to the program and give us an overview of what your firm is all about.
Hi Kevin, thanks for having me. Kinetic Growth is a San Francisco based software company that provides a unique combination of best-in-class renewal management and eCommerce solutions for the Salesforce platform. These solutions enable organizations to track and manage subscriptions and empower their customers to self-serve.
I want to encourage people to check out KineticGrowth.com. Seth, introduce us to your guest today.
Robson Grieve is Executive Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for Concur Technologies. Concur provides a suite of software-as-a-service expense management solutions. I’m very excited to have him on the show today.
Robson I’m glad to have you on and looking forward to it. Give us an overview of what your firm is all about.
Thank for having me on. Concur is, as Seth said, the world’s biggest travel and expense management cloud platform. What we really make is software that helps companies focus on what matters to them so they don’t have to deal with details like expense reporting or corporate travel management and bookings. They can actually put all that in the cloud and we can run it in a really effective and efficient way. And turn it all into a source of data.
So many companies find out about their expenses, whether it’s bills from vendors or expenses that people charge up on business trips, after they happen. So it makes it really hard to plan for them and mange them. Our platform allows people to get out in front of that and really be proactive in dealing with how they spend.
So Robson, I know that Concur offers a software-as-a-service solution. Can you tell us a little bit more about how that serves as a competitive advantage?
A cloud based solution is a massive competitive advantage for companies because it allows them to move faster, to spend less time and energy managing systems, and more time and energy managing their business. And that’s ultimately why we’re focused on delivering so much in the cloud.
The other really important thing it does that we’re focused on is creating a platform environment. So we can take the basic things that we do and build around them with innovations from partners. That again is one of the beautiful ways that companies can benefit from the cloud.
How old is the company, how many people do you have?
Concur is 20 years old this year. It was started in Seattle in 1994. We have around 4,000 employees around the globe. We serve 20,000 corporate customers in countries from the UK and Western Europe, all the way around to Australia and Japan, and Singapore and Asia.
What is a good fit for Concur; what customers are a good match?
We serve customers of all sizes. We have our roots in the enterprise world, but in the last several years have built very aggressively on our ability to serve small and medium-sized businesses. And that’s really a fast growing part of our business around the world.
What that has enabled us to do is to take a real mobile and end-user focus and bring it to all our customers. We are really able to serve a small business just as effectively as we are a Fortune 500 company.
Tell us about the range – what’s a small company for you and how big are your clients?
We’ve got clients that are 25 or 50 employees, advertising agencies or consulting firms that are smaller, and then we’ve got the world largest corporations. The range for us is really dramatic and the things that we can do really scales up or down depending upon how complex your needs and the policy and controls you want to put in a program are. There is a tremendous amount of flexibility in it.
Tell us a little about the features of the software and why it’s more compelling than other options that are out there.
The number one thing we are built around is expense management and expense reporting. We create a really easy way for employees to capture and plan their spending and then for companies to have approvals and controls around that.
What we hear from customers is that this gives them a tremendous amount of visibility into what’s happing in their business. Expenses tend to be most companies second biggest variable cost and in many cases the least well understood. So visibility is a huge benefit. And then from that visibility there is a chance to get savings.
And for customers who are heavy travelers and have big travel programs, we have an online booking tool and travel management apps like TripIt that make it a lot easier for a traveler to be effective and be productive out on the road.
How was 2013 for you and what does 2014 look like for your firm?
2013 was a year of tremendous growth for us and we’ve maintained a real focus on using that growth for customer benefit.
Our big focus as we grow is to leverage all of that into a big data benefit for our customers. The more that we learn, the more that we see in transaction volumes, the more effective we are going to be in delivering insights about what’s happening in the market and how companies can better plan their spending And then be proactive in terms of how we create end-user experiences that make it more possible for companies to get the savings and the benefits that they want. I would say that it’s the year of Big Data
The other big thing we are focused on is expanding our platform. So there are more solutions available, more ways for companies to look for savings. We’ve got some great things happening already in that regard. Through a partnership with a company called Visage Mobile which helps businesses manage all the spending they do on individual mobile bills and corporate mobile bills for their employees’ smart phones and cell phones.
Note: the interview transcript is lightly edited for clarity and length