There are a growing number of travel trackers for enterprise. Reasons to track the travel of your employees include duty of care, payroll compliance, executive compensation and immigration. However, the best travel tracker for the job may be a difficult question to answer, as each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Here is a comparison of the various types of travel trackers to assist your research.
1. Self Reporting
Some companies record the whereabouts of their employees by simply asking them to provide their travel details periodically. Usually, this is in the form of a questionnaire or rudimentary calendar-style report. The advantage of this method is that it is relatively low-cost to deploy, as the questionnaire may be a simple document or spreadsheet. However, the main disadvantage of the self-reporting method is that it is a very manual process, both for the travelers and the managers that need to subsequently collate the data for reporting. Also, a questionnaire often creates redundant work; if an employee is traveling to the same location many times for the same work purpose, having to re-enter this information repeatedly becomes tedious. Overall, if you have a relatively small population of traveling employees and they travel infrequently, self-reporting may be a viable solution.
2. GPS Tracking or Mobile App
Another method of tracking employees is to require them to install a GPS-enabled tracking application on their smartphone. The advantage of this method is that it can perform some of the tracking function passively, as the smartphone app will automatically record a history of the employee’s presence in their travel destinations. If the app is designed well, that data will then be in a suitable format for company stakeholders to analyze for compliance purposes. On the negative side, employees may view GPS tracking as an intolerable invasion of privacy and refuse to use the application. Or, they may allow it to be installed on their device, but turn it off to avoid being tracked. Also, the company I.T. department will have to provision and support the mobile application on many employee devices, including making sure that updates are installed. Lastly, a GPS tracking app will only record the presence of the employee when they actually arrive at a destination; if you need to know about employee travel before they depart, it will be too late.
3. Travel & Expense Tool
Many companies today use an enterprise travel and expense tool, such as KDS or Concur. When employees use these tools, it creates a central repository of details about their business trips that may be leveraged for travel tracking purposes. The main advantage is the high level of automation; since employees are already planning and booking travel using the tool, there is no need to enter their trip details twice. Also, the travel and expense tool may include employee profiles with additional details about travelers that help management with their reporting. The main challenge with using your travel and expense tool as a travel tracker is that the data will likely need further manipulation, depending upon your corporate tracking objectives. For example, payroll compliance and non-resident withholding requirements will require sophisticated set of metrics not usually included out of the box with a travel and expense tool. Therefore, you will need to complete your solution by evaluating third-party vendor products or building internally.
4. Manual Travel Data Scrubbing
Most companies with medium to large populations of traveling employees hire a travel management company, such as Carlson Wagonlit or American Express. In most cases, the travel management company will be able to provide you with employee travel summary reports. You may then manually scrub these reports to determine the metrics required for your travel tracking objectives. The advantage of this is that the data already exists in bulk form, meaning you don’t have to collate trip details for hundreds or thousands of employees yourself. However, for a large population of travelers, it may not be feasible to sift through the sheer volume of data manually. For anything beyond a few basic reports, you will likely need a heavy-duty reporting infrastructure and perhaps the assistance of somebody that understands advanced database queries. Alternatively, you can evaluate a third-party vendor who specializes in mining this data to generate the travel tracking reports you need.
Learn More about Travel Trackers for Enterprise
At Blackspark, we provide customers with a variety of services related to enterprise travel trackers for enteprise. We’ll be happy to discuss the various alternatives with you. Whenever you are ready, contact us.