ExpenseMatters.com Interview Series by Cary Strange: Interview #8 – Databasics
Chris Harley, Director of Sales for Databasics, joins us today to discuss some industry questions with ExpenseMatters. To get started, could you provide some basic information about your company?
Databasics is a global leader in travel and expense reporting. We were founded in 1983 by our CEO and president Alan Tyson. The company is private, profitable, and has been given numerous awards over the years, including being named to Deliotte & Touches’ FAST 50 for Virginia. Although all of Databasics’ offices are in North America, we support customers globally.
What do you recognize as your primary and secondary target markets, and why?
Databasics primary target market has been the mid-market with a specialization in supporting complex requirements. (We make the hard stuff look easy!) As for secondary markets, we can support any customer, large or small, but we tend to leave the small market to other players in this space and as for the large market, we do a number of deals there, but we tend to stay in the 300-10,000 user range.
It appears that there are quite a few players offering expense technology solutions. What separates your company from other companies providing similar products & services?
First off, we don’t chase the small market, which I believe is where you will see most expense reporting solutions focus these days. So if you were to ask how we fit into the mid-market and what makes us unique, it is pretty simple, no one else “out of the box” provides a solution that is as easy to use, can meet simple and complex requirements, is tightly integrated with travel and accounting tools, and provides customer support like Databasics.
What are some specific key product differentiators that provide you with a distinct advantage over your competitors?
Although there are a number of features and functionality unique to the Databasics solution, like our MapQuest mileage calculator, our budgeting solution, and GSA Per Diem look up tables, I think the key differentiators start with our ability to tightly integrate with travel and accounting tools. Most of our competitors put the burden of integration on the customer and ultimately what you get in those environments is a highly underutilized solution. When I say underutilized, it isn’t that the travelers aren’t using the solution it’s that the company hasn’t configured the solution to achieve its full value. We believe by taking the burden of integration on us, the customer will deploy faster and achieve higher satisfaction and ROI with the solution.
What are the most important questions that a company (looking for a solution) should ask before selecting an expense management provider?
The most important thing for a customer is to document their requirements, then confirm via a demo how each vendor will handle that requirement. All of the systems out there do things a little differently and when evaluating a number of solutions the features and functionalities from different solutions start to melt together.
As well, if a vendor can’t show you something in their standard demo, it is a safe assumption that they can’t do it.
One of the most frequent questions we receive involve how the products are licensed and installed. What are your thoughts regarding the traditional licensing model versus the software as a service model (SaaS)? Which does your company provide and recommend?
Databasics provides our solution as a Software as a Service. We have found this is best model for deploying and supporting a customer as the implementation can focus on the business process we are trying to improve vs. how the software will respond within the customer’s IT environment.
As this relates to pricing, what we have always seen is the customer only wants to pay for what they are using. So we have a pricing model that reflects usage.
Do you have any new customer or partner wins that you want to share with our audience? If so, why did they select your company or product?
The summer, which is traditionally a slower period has been very strong. Some notable wins include Panasonic, The South Financial Group, Aarons, The Wilderness Society, and the State of Alaska.
We also are very excited about the State of WV getting ready to deploy our solution, tightly coupled with the RESx Booking tool, to over 40,000 travelers.
As to why these companies selected Databasics, it has really been the same theme. Each one of these companies were looking for a partner that would, one, support their required features and functionality, two, could tightly integrate with their travel and accounting systems, three, provide a fair pricing model, and lastly, would support them as a true partner. When we show prospects how we do this, most are very pleased with the Databasics offering.
This industry has been in a high growth mode for a couple of year now. What do you see happening with the industry, and the need for these types of solutions, over the next 12-18 months?
We see no slow down any time in the future for a number of reasons. First off, most companies still do expense reporting manually. So that is a large market to be penetrated. Secondly, we are starting to see what I call the second generation of expense tool being selected. For the last 12 years a large majority of our new business was companies going from a manual process to an automated process. This year, over 50% of our new business will be companies converting from other tools, like Concur and IBM, over to the Databasics solution.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. Is there anything that we have not talked about that you would like to discuss with our readers?
I think it is a great time to look at expense automation. For companies looking to control cost, a SAAS model allows you to automate with very little upfront cost and almost an instant ROI. The days of big software purchases and painful implementations are gone.
To all of our readers, if you have any additional questions or would like to speak with Databasics about your T&E needs, please send me an email or contact Databasics directly: