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Travel Management

 June 08, 2006
Amadeus & ACTE Study: IT Departments And Corporate Travel

 According to a new survey from Amadeus and The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), IT Departments are not sufficiently getting involved in companies' corporate travel technology needs.

The research, which surveyed 123 corporate travel executives in the North America, EMEA, and Asia Pacific, highlighted that getting the IT departments' support on travel technology purchasing is a continuing challenge for many travel managers. Other key findings included:

- 41% of respondents initiate discussions and make independent decisions about travel technology;
- 49% of travel managers think that their IT department is completely uninvolved, or only marginally involved, in the strategic sourcing of travel management technology;
- 85.1% of respondents are looking to vendors -- including travel management companies and other technology providers -- for help, while only 45% consult their own internal IT department

"When it comes to purchasing online travel management solutions, the IT department seems to be involved less in the pre-purchase process and more after the package has been bought," commented Jérôme Destors, Director, e-Travel, the e-commerce division of Amadeus. "IT departments seem to be a little late to the game, bearing in mind the potential implications for company-wide compliance and integration when new applications are plugged into the network. Add to this the potential cost savings companies are missing out on through not utilising the buying power of IT departments, and, it becomes obvious that something needs to change."

The survey also highlighted that as the IT department takes a back seat in the travel technology decision making process, travel managers often have the final say when it comes to deciding what solution to use. Given the increasing focus within corporations on integrating technology into enterprise-wide systems it would seem there should be more mutual decision making between travel managers and their IT departments than is actually occurring.

"We have a lot of trouble getting on the IT department's radar" one respondent said. "The IT department has a lot on its plate and most of the focus is on strategic objectives. Because travel is seen as a support function and not core to the business, we're considered a low priority."

However, where IT departments are involved in the procurement and ongoing support of travel technology solutions, travel managers find their input useful. Over a third (34%) of respondents said that the IT and travel departments have good working relationships and that technological support is on hand if needed. However, only 16% of respondents felt that travel gets the same attention as other non-core functions (eg. HR and Accounting), even though travel expenditure is known to be one of the third largest expenses for many companies, following employee wage and rent costs.

Destors continued: "The danger is that by placing less emphasis on travel technology, IT departments are encouraging travel managers into silo-thinking, leaving them to go it alone in their IT needs. With a lack of support for travel managers coming from their internal departments, it is not surprising that travel managers are turning more towards travel technology companies like Amadeus or travel management companies for advice. In the proper situation, both the external consultants and internal IT departments should work closely together to find a solution that best meets the specific travel and technology needs of the company, as this is most likely to ensure cost savings and a more effective travel management process in the long-term."