Uber and Business Travel: Hailing a New Era of Corporate T&E

Source: Uber Source: Uber

Most consumers (and procurement team members) who use the popular Uber app to get around outside of work hours are probably are not even aware that the rapidly expanding and sometimes controversial firm is growing just as quickly in the business market.

Even more so, we bet fewer Spend Matters readers are aware Uber is integrating into corporate travel and expense (T&E) ecosystems, including Concur (now part of SAP). Other T&E vendors include Deem, Coupa, Databasics and Expensify, which Uber has not yet partnered with (Concur has dominant market share within T&E today).

Aside from Concur integration (more on this in a minute, including T&E integration/adoption numbers to date), here is a summary of what is included in the Uber business offering (called Uber for Business), which launched in July of 2014:

  • Ability to sign-up online – procurement and corporate travel managers can enroll their companies here (it’s free)
  • Basic travel manager/procurement dashboard (to manage users, billing, etc.)
  • Ability to manually input or bulk upload user information (e.g., CSV upload)
  • Full archiving and tracking of individual rides for each employee to enable duty of care compliance (see related Spend Matters PRO research on travel, risk management and duty of care: here, here and here)
  • Access to trip and user history (including cost, distance, time and locations)
  • Account creation for individual travelers (similar to a consumer use case – based on email invitation – for those that do not yet have an account)
  • Capability to use a single Uber “app” on an iOS, Droid or Windows device and to shift between personal and business travel payment options (i.e., one app for home and work)
  • Ability to select any Uber ground transportation option including: UberX (least expensive), UberBLACK and UberSUV. Pricing and choices vary by city, but Uber suggests that UberX costs 40% less than a taxi, on average (dynamic/surge pricing can increase this during peak periods of demand to encourage additional supply to balance demand)
  • Card flexibility – users can select a personal, corporate or p-card to pay for the cost of a trip (no cash accepted)
  • Automated expensing for business trips when a traveler selects the business travel option
  • Out of the box T&E integration with Concur today (Spend Matters believes Uber will integrate with other T&E solutions in the future)
  • Availability everywhere Uber is – as of January 2015, this includes 256 cities and 53 countries. The app is also available in 22 languages

Bottoms-Up Usage Meets Corporate T&E

There is a reason that many of us, including those on the procurement and supply chain frontlines, are likely in the dark regarding Uber for Business. And that’s because like Uber itself, growth and change is happening from the ground up, with individual users driving business adoption.

It’s possible, in fact, for any employee with access to Concur and the appropriate provisioning to link their Uber application directly into Concur for expense tracking and reporting without any IT involvement. As Uber notes, “This partnership will allow all 25 million Concur users to link their Uber and Concur accounts … for expensing. Once an employee opts in and links their accounts, Uber will automatically pass along expense-ready travel information, including an e-receipt.”

Because adoption has almost entirely been from the ground up with Concur, Uber is penetrating thousands of businesses with this integration already (rather than having to enter through procurement and IT with a new solution sale on a company-by-company basis).

Here’s what Uber told Spend Matters regarding adoption numbers with Concur integration:

  • Less than 6 months since launch (July 2014), “tens of thousands of employees” at different companies have linked Uber and Concur.
  • Employees at more than “1,000 companies currently link their Uber and Concur accounts to automatically send e-receipts into expense reports.”
  • “Dozens of companies have sent messaging to employees about the integration,” suggesting Uber is just getting started with actively marketing its business offering to procurement and travel managers with Concur systems in place.”

Looking Ahead and Adoption Trends

Clearly, Uber is in the very early stages of selling a “top down” offering on the business side into procurement while it continues to build out its corporate reporting and management capabilities. In this regard, Uber told Spend Matters there is “strong interest in a more robust platform for employers to manage Uber usage.”

Here are some statistics on adoption and usage Uber shared with Spend Matters:

  • Uber for Business has been used in 256 cities and 53 countries
  • Most trips occur during weekdays/business hours
  • Users do not display preference for one Uber option or others. As Uber notes, “business trips see a nearly identical mix of products (uberX, UberBLACK, UberSUV), which includes significant usage of UberX)”

Stay tuned as our coverage of Uber for Business continues, including T&E and corporate travel scenarios that Uber for Business could enable in the future. We’ll also provide a deeper look at Uber’s business offering for our subscribers on Spend Matters PRO later in Q1 and continued coverage of new features, capabilities and general adoption trends.


See related Spend Matters PRO research:

Concur and Procurement: Looking to the Future and Innovation Today

Understanding “Duty of Care” When Managing Corporate Travel: T&E Meets Risk Management (Part 1)

Identifying And Responding to Risks Faced By A Global Workforce: T&E Meets Risk Management (Part 2)

Tying up T&E Loose Ends: T&E Meets Risk Management (Part 3)

Concur and SAP/Ariba: Customer and Partner/Ecosystem Analysis and Recommendations

Reporting on Fusion 2014 and Concur’s Impressive T&E Solution

SAP Buys Concur: Cultural Fit, Scale, Target Customers and More

Why SAP Should — Or Should Not — Buy Concur

Learning From T&E: Coupa, Xpenser, and Expense Submission Serendipity

Rant: Singapore’s Taxicab Problem and Lack of Modern Payment Systems


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