Slack integrates with SAP Concur for travel, expense bots

The bots will roll out separately, with expenses available in public beta today and the travel bot slated to arrive within the next few months.

Collaboration software: Time to call BS Collaboration software sounds great in theory, but like the open floor plan in offices there are downsides. The noise can be a bit ridiculous. Tools like Slack--and things like Yammer and a graveyard of other tools--were supposed to end email. Instead, email is still favored by workers to get real work done. Why? Enterprise social networking is too noisy. How many times have we wanted to yell into one of our 100 Slack channels so people will stay on point. It's a chat fest that can hurt productivity. Now it looks like vendors may be getting more of a clue. Atlassian launched software called Stride that has a focus button and tools that can turn conversations into workflows with integrated video and voice meetings on the fly. Perhaps the biggest perk is the focus button. Collaboration needs an offramp and let's face it you can spend more time collaborating instead of getting work done. There needs to be more of this. Whether it's Facebook@Work, which is basically a version of Facebook for the enterprise, Microsoft Teams or some other package collaboration has forgotten about the work and productivity part of the equation. Sometimes you need to duck your head and plow through a few tasks.

Video: Collaboration software: Time to call BS

Workplace collaboration platform Slack announced on Wednesday that it's integrating with SAP's Concur for travel and expense bots on Slack.

The integration, which Slack says was one of the most requested features from its enterprise customers, will enable users to handle a bevy of travel and expense related tasks via conversational bots on the Slack interface.

For instance, the bots will give users the ability to approve expense reports right from Slack, upload expense receipts, search for and book flights, and create basic expense reports from within a bot chat.

From the SAP standpoint, the enterprise software giant said the bots will roll out separately, with expenses available in public beta today and the travel bot slated to arrive within the next few months. SAP bought Concur back in 2014 as part of a major portfolio expansion and has since managed to scale the platform to a wider customer base.

Read also: Slack's CSO calls for industry-wide security transparency

On an average busy day in the fourth quarter, SAP Concur processed more than 568,000 expense reports, saw 1.1 million receipts uploaded via Concur mobile, and booked more than 202,000 business trips.

As for Slack, the darling of the team collaboration space has garnered a lot of traction in the enterprise with more than nine million weekly active users, more than six million daily active users, and an international customer base that's 55 percent of the total. Slack has more than $200 million in annual recurring revenue and two million paid users.

Slack also has partnerships with Oracle, Google, Salesforce, and ServiceNow, which aim to make its platform a more neutral hub for for business tools and streamline workflows for users. The company said that more than 90 percent of its paid teams have apps installed on their Slack workspaces, and there are now more than 1,000 apps available from its directory.


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Paul Rosania, head of core product at Slack, said Slack's shared channels feature was among the most requested since all companies need to integrate with teams from external firms and partners.