Northwest 100 Top Five
Number 4 | Concur Technologies has ambitious financial goals
Concur expects to grow its top-line revenue by at least 25 percent each of the next three years, and it wants to use economies of scale and cost controls to improve its operating margin by at least one percentage point each year.
Operations: Washington, California, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia; Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, the U.K.
CEO: Steve Singh
Major products/services: Software that employees use to book business travel and report expenses
Special sauce: Concur's rapid shift from selling software on discs to selling it as an online subscription service; almost 90 percent of its 2007 revenue came from subscriptions.
Fourteen years after his brother co-founded Concur Technologies, and 12 years after taking on the chief executive's job, Steve Singh can look back with a sense of accomplishment. Some 7,000 companies around the world use Concur's expense-reporting or travel-booking software; 900 were added in the first half of fiscal 2008.
Except Singh is looking forward, not back. The goal now, he said, is "How do you get from 7,000 to 50,000 as quickly as possible?"
One step toward that goal came last year, when Concur bought the parent of Gelco Information Network. The Gelco deal, Singh said, was "largely a consolidation of the market — we bought one of our competitors. But they did have some technology that was additive."
That technology, software that automatically pays employees for their reimbursable expenses, now is called Concur Pay, a product launched earlier this year. It joins the company's flagship travel and expense-reporting products.
A combined travel-expense package, in the works since last year, has been "successful beyond what we expected," Singh said. In the fiscal second quarter, which ended March 31, 40 percent of new customers bought the combined product, Singh said; 35 to 40 percent of existing customers have upgraded to it.
Singh has ambitious financial goals as well. Concur not only expects to grow its top-line revenue by at least 25 percent each of the next three years, it wants to use economies of scale and cost controls to improve its operating margin by at least 1 percentage point each year.
"Our view is, you shouldn't just focus on top-line growth," he said.
As the U.S. economy slows, you might expect companies to cut back on technology spending, imperiling some of Singh's goals. But so far, he said, that's not been the case.
The question more companies are asking, he said, is: "In a tougher economy, how do you take those manual processes [for booking travel or filling out expense forms] and drive down costs?"
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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