KDS Partners With ProcureApp, Launches 'Maverick' Ahead Of Schedule

Booking and expense tool provider KDS launched with immediate effect its Maverick product for flagging and capturing bookings through non-approved websites after announcing a partnership with Chicago-based start-up ProcureApp. KDS originally had planned to launch Maverick in the second half of 2012, but accelerated its schedule by opting to use ProcureApp's technology instead of developing its own.

ProcureApp places a pop-up message on client-owned computers when travelers attempt to access and book on such unauthorized public websites as sites. The messaging can be configured to warn those travelers that such bookings would violate company policy and provide a link to an approved online booking channel.

In addition to its original application, ProcureApp is powering Maverick with a previously unlaunched feature for capturing data if travelers opt to proceed with the noncompliant booking. It also can push the booking data to the travelers' online KDS expense reports with what ProcureApp CEO Phil Hammer described as "one-click receipt integration" that requires no emailing or uploading.

KDS vice president for product strategy Oliver Quayle told The Beat that his company "had the option of reinventing an extremely good wheel and delaying our time to market, or partnering and being able to launch straight away. Ninety percent of what we wanted was in ProcureApp and 10 percent we had already built ourselves, so we joined the two application programming interfaces together. It especially made sense as we are doing our beta testing on Project Neo," a forthcoming tool aimed at booking all components of a business trip with just three clicks.

The partnership gives KDS exclusive use of ProcureApp among expense management providers in Europe. "We are creating a new joint piece of intellectual property," said Quayle.

KDS is the launch customer worldwide for ProcureApp's new data and expense reporting features. ProcureApp does not sell directly to corporate clients and before the KDS agreement it worked predominantly through travel management company re-sellers. "ProcureApp is currently discussing with TMCs the ability to offer this capability to their clients and we hope to have some announcements later this summer," Hammer said.

ProcureApp also can be used to tackle noncompliant spending in other areas of indirect spend, such as shipping and computing. KDS is hoping the partnership will help extend its reach into these different facets of procurement.

Citing commercial confidentiality, Hammer would not divulge how ProcureApp extracts management information from bookings on public websites, but he described the data as "Level 5" in terms of its wealth of detail. He said data collected for an air booking includes passenger name, origin and destination, price and fare bucket. "It is a lot more robust data than you would get from a credit card," Hammer claimed.

Clients will be able to decide whether they make it mandatory or optional for travelers to authorize the collection of their noncompliant booking channel data. There are concerns that collection may need to be optional within the European Union to comply with data privacy laws. For example, employees may legitimately be using their company laptop for private purchases. In such cases, one configurable option would allow the employee to indicate whether the booking was for private or business purposes.