Going by one mini global survey, the country is raring to automate T&E management, but numerous systemic constraints prevail

In a recent global survey of 525 decision makers involved in travel and expense management for large corporations across nine markets, including five in-depth interviews, respondents in India involved in  ‘Travel & Expense’ (T&E) management were found to be prioritizing digitalization, but had lingering concerns around manual and fragmented processes, compliance, and security.

Some 80% of global respondents indicated that T&E management was more digitalized compared to other processes within their organizations, compared to 67% globally in a similar survey conducted in 2020.

In respondents that indicated poor integration between T&E tools, manual processes and security concerns remained top challenges, and 34% of those in India faced challenges managing compliance for travel, like visas and work permits.

Other findings
In India, 36% of respondents indicated having privacy and security concerns, as against 31% globally. Also:

    • 30% of India respondents indicated that submitting, approving, and processing expenses as well as reconciling invoices and payments were still very manual tasks putting a strain on employees’ productivity, compared to a 23% global figure.
    • 36% of systems in India (on average) were deemed to be integrate with organizations’ T&E solutions, leading to a perceived “sub-optimal performance and poor employee experience”. Also 36% of respondents whose firms had an “integrated tool” experienced this less, compared to 43% that did not have such integration.
    • 31% of respondents’ firms with an integrated T&E tool indicated difficulties in negotiating travel supplier contracts compared to other firms (42%).
    • 91% of India respondents indicated that improving their T&E processes and tools was critical to reducing cost and increasing efficiency in business operations, compared to 82% globally.
    • Across all organizations surveyed, the top complaint was that employees had to pay trip expenses from their own pockets and then had to submit an expense claim. Firms with integrated solutions had fewer such employee complaints, with 6% of global respondents having no complaints.
    • 72% of India respondents indicated they prioritized improving the integration between T&E technologies and other enterprise systems. Also 69% of this surveyed group indicated a desire to improve the end-to-end experience for T&E. Among the leaders, 72% of India respondents valued virtual payments; 63% believed that one of the biggest advantages gained from virtual payments is better visibility and control over travel spending. Finally, 41% of India respondents considered this T&E integration technology helpful in manage fraud risk, versus global respondents (48%), while 38% found that T&E digitalization improved VAT recovery processes, versus 46% of global respondents.
    • Respondents worldwide looked to gain actionable insights from T&E analytic (69%), increase automation to reduce manual tasks and processes (67%) and provide employees with the ability to manage T&E on mobile (67%).

According to Mani Ganeshan, APAC Engineering Head and Centre Head, Amadeus, which commissioned the survey: ““The uniqueness of this study arises from merging three research areas for T&E solutions — employee experience, end-to-end integration, and virtual payments. The research can help organizations understand the landscape better and transform their corporate travel program, deliver frictionless experiences for employees, and optimize travel spending. As we inch closer towards 2023, strengthening capabilities to operate in a hybrid world of work, accelerating the digital transformation of travel and expense will become a top priority for many organizations. Keeping employee experience in mind while fully automating systems can significantly impact employee satisfaction while driving engagement, contributing to a sustainable industry, and lowering expenses.”