Concur Anatomy 101

By Jen Steiger

By Jen Steiger

The human body is fascinating. It is comprised of countless critical components, and each of the components work together in a truly miraculous way.

Some parts (i.e., our brain) serve a control function, giving orders to other parts (e.g., hands, legs, etc.), and though we can’t survive without those command-centers, we rely heavily on those subservient parts for optimal functionality. Do all of these various elements always work well together? Maybe, maybe not. But with proper maintenance and a little TLC, our body can sustain us long into our golden years.

Weren’t expecting an anatomy lesson, were you? Well, interestingly, the human body and your Concur system have more in common than you might think. So, if you’ll indulge me, let’s call this blog post “Concur Anatomy 101.”

Like the human body, your Concur site is comprised of many different parts that work together. For your Concur to reach its full potential, for all the component parts to be working together, it needs to be nourished and be taken care of over time.

Let’s take a closer look by examining each part.

The Heart of it All (The Policy)

To clarify, the policy is the configuration within Concur, and not the document containing travel rules and guidelines that your company published on your Intranet. Though the policy document is absolutely critical, it manifests itself within your Concur site in a variety of ways, some of which we’ll elaborate on shortly. From here on, we’ll focus on the policy configuration in Concur, a.k.a. the “configuration set.”

Since your Concur site can have multiple policies configurations, we’ll consider your whole policy structure as the heart of it all. This structure will typically dictate whether you take a geographical, organizational, or functional approach to pumping the blood through your Concur system. It also determines expense types, report headers and allocation forms, and the workflow, among other things. The policy is the circulatory system of your Concur site.

Once you’ve got the heart pumping and the blood flowing, then it’s time to flex that brain muscle.

Brain Power (Group Configurations)

There are different parts of your brain that dictate various aspects of your behavior and decision-making capabilities. Similarly, your Group Configurations in Concur will guide behavior and decision-making within your Concur entity. Group Configurations are the brains behind the operation. Just as you have only one brain, a Concur user will only be assigned to one group.

Groups establish the structure upon which a decision-making tree is applied. Does this audit rule apply? Depends on the group! Is a receipt required? Depends on the group! Do I get 54 cents per mile on mileage reimbursement? Depends on the group (and whatever rate the IRS pulls out of their “hat”)!

Your brain is organized so it can ensure that proper instructions reach all your various body parts at exactly the right time, in the right sequence, and in exactly the right context. Similarly, within Concur, groups dictate what matters most to specific users.

Now that the brain is sending out orders to the various areas of the body, it’s time for the limbs to do their thing.

Calling All Limbs (Configuration Areas)

As much as the brain bosses the other parts around, it’s really up to the arms, hands, legs, feet, etc. to do the job assigned to them. Translated into Concur-speak, this means that a particular user’s behavior depends largely upon the group to which they have been assigned. Group-aware configuration areas guide user behavior. This can come in the form of audit rules, car configuration, receipt rules and email reminders, among other things.

However, all of these limbs would just be big, floppy, flesh-pockets without the support of the skeleton.

Lazy, Wish or Funny: All Bones Needed (Forms & Fields)

Beneath it all, we’re held upright by the bones in our bodies, from the tips of our toes to the tops of our heads. Without that underlying structure, we’d be a blob of muscles and organs without any shape or structure. Break a bone and the pain can exceed that suffered from the initial impact. We find ourselves limited in our capabilities, struggling to make due with a suboptimal framework until we’ve been restored to health.

In Concur, have you ever tried to itemize a Hotel entry without the date field? It doesn’t really work very too well. Trust me. The itemization wizard simply doesn’t have the right framework in place to do its job. The forms and fields that help users complete do their expense reports fulfill an amazing function within the Concur system. They provide the underlying structure that allows for proper expense reporting. It’s vital that your Concur site has all the bones in the proper places and that they are in good working order.

Healthy Living (Review)

Speaking of a good working order, keeping your body in shape is another story entirely. When that chocolate donut with sprinkles calls out your name from across the aisle at the grocery store, it’s awfully hard to turn around and grab a head of red cabbage instead. When the snooze button is only an arm’s length away in the early morning hours, it’s can be downright painful to drag yourself out of bed and get yourself to the gym. After all, if you look and feel well enough, and if everything seems to be working fine, why go through this extra effort?

In the same vein, should you bother to review your written policy and revisit your configuration? After all, if it ain’t broke (at least for now), why fix it?  Should you take time to read through the Concur monthly release notes or attend a webinar? Sure, you’ll do it tomorrow. Except that tomorrow is never today, and before you know it, you’ve got a few extra pounds of Concur weight to carry around and your site isn’t quite as agile or energetic as it once was. Soon you’ll realize that your policy is outdated, you have policy exceptions out the wazoo, and you’re not taking advantage of some incredible new features and functionality in Concur.

Rest assured, if you just take some time to keep your finger on the pulse of your Concur system, and maybe do some Concur heavy-lifting (maintenance, upgrades) every now and again, your site will continue to live up to the promise of making life easier for you and your entire company!

No matter how you slice it, we all have a heart, a brain, limbs and bones. As similar as we are in that regard, goodness knows each body is unique in its own way, and that is pretty darn cool. When we’re not happy about one thing or another, we can blame it on aging or our metabolism all we want, but at the end of the day, we always have the choice to take better care of our body, and the better we are to it, the better it is to us. It’s the same with Concur. If you take good care of your Concur system, it will take good care of you.