Of all of the T&E applications we've seen over the years, the Deem at Work platform is among the most easy and quick to use, if not the easiest in the market for companies that don't require all the bells and whistles of enterprise T&E solutions. Even for administrators, the application can be rapidly configured and gets users up and running quickly. The initial process for using the system requires just two steps (for registered companies on the Deem platform).
First, organizations must review and confirm company details, a process that enables them to create departments, define payment and expense types and include other related information for tracking expenses. Second, the administrator adds specific named users along with various workflows and permissions. Of course companies must pay for the privilege of actually using Deem Expense, which can be done with a simple form that authorizes a charge of $9.95 per month per active user.
The central component of Deem Expense is what Rearden calls its Digital Wallet, where users pull all associated information with filing a new report into a central location. A user's Digital Wallet is dynamically linked with their travel and card data to pull in information from travel itineraries. The system can filter different reports and reporting based on the timeframe of associated components of a given itinerary.
Because some of Deem's distribution and channel partners provide business commercial cards, the system can detect and categorize expense types based on company paid vs. personally paid items. Configuring an acceptable company expense type by classification and GL code is a simple setting in admin.
Administrators can also set acceptable expense and usage policies in the system. For example, users can be prompted that only "business use" expenses are appropriate for cell phone usage and reimbursement. Setting up payment types is also a quick and straightforward endeavor with the ability to select different payment options (e.g., payment for qualified out-of-pocket expenses that are not part of the automated Digital Wallet) compared to users paying business expenses out of a personal account and are then reimbursed.
In short, the power of Deem Expense in an SMB setting is that it is directly linked to Deem Travel information and card transaction data from elsewhere in the application suite (e.g., from the Deem Purchase module). We suspect that most companies using the Deem Expense app will not be changing or upgrading from other solutions, but will be replacing Excel as the preferred expense tool. This will, of course, be a huge time saver and a driver of better payment control and compliance.
One of the other modules of Deem at Work, which has already been part of the Rearden platform, is Deem Shipping. Deem Shipping is ahead of Deem Purchase at this point, in that users can upload pre-negotiated rates they might already have in place with a small parcel carrier (e.g., UPS, FedEx). All they need is their account number and the negotiated prices are populated via a Deem API with the shipping providers. Rearden's shipping tool provides purchasing transparency and "visual guilt" by driving users to see the true cost of more expensive options (e.g., a 3X difference in cost for FedEx First Overnight relative to Standard Overnight).
The overall Deem at Work suite, including Purchase, Travel, Shipping and Expense (we did not consider Deem Dining, another module, in this write-up) represents a turnkey procurement environment for SMB organizations for non-direct and non-services (e.g., contingent labor) spend. Granted, various modules differ greatly in sophistication and while we would not yet compare Deem Purchase, for example, to Coupa or Ariba. The current iteration of the solution delivers a foundation of procurement control and T&E integration that Amazon Prime, Deem's most direct competitor, cannot yet touch.
Moreover, as Deem continues to build additional procurement controls, workflow and invoicing capability, it is likely that the system could very well become a de facto P2P standard for small and medium-sized businesses that get the core components for free, courtesy of Deem or one of Rearden's partners that white labels or distributes the platform.
In our final analysis of Deem at Work on Spend Matters PRO, we'll provide:
- Customer, partner and prospect recommendations
- Competitive analysis compared with other marketplaces (e.g., Amazon)
- Adoption and channel distribution analysis and expectations (for Rearden/Deem partners)