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SAP Concur: The “C” in Concur Stands for Change

Feature Article | March 30, 2018 by Jeff Reich, Stephan Magura

SAP Concur combines cloud-driven business success with a people-centered working culture. Ann-Christel Graham gives an insider’s perspective.

Ann-Christel Graham

As SAP continues to move customers to the cloud, an adaptive, people-focused mindset will be more important than ever. Fortunately, that is exactly what Concur colleagues like Ann-Christel bring to the larger organization.

“At Concur, you feel like you’re working for a new company every three years,” says Ann-Christel, vice president of Enterprise Client Sales for SAP Concur. “If you like change and being challenged, you’re in the right place. Because we’re always up for a challenge. The ‘C’ in Concur stands for change.”

A deeper look inside the company shows what Ann-Christel is talking about. Since the company launched in 1993, it has attracted a group of remarkable, talented people. Year after year, the company has promoted these people across a diverse set of roles.

The result is a passionate team that is ready to go the distance for fellow colleagues. Many Concur founding members are in still in place and going strong today. Their staying power reflects a philosophy and mindset that embraces openness, fairness, and commitment.

The travel platform SAP Concur brings more than 23,000 customers and 25 million users to the SAP Cloud. It also complements the cloud-based commerce network Ariba and the contingent workforce management platform Fieldglass.

Driving an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Ann-Christel is the kind of professional who has thrived in this entrepreneurial working environment. The trained systems engineer began her career with the company in 1997 as one of three IT help desk team members. As the company began its rapid growth trajectory, so did Ann-Christel. She took on a variety of roles with increasing levels of responsibility, helping deliver growth in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Today, she leads a team of 50 people throughout the U.S., where she is working on a growth initiative for pivoting customers.

Ann-Christel credits her steady rise within the company to a lot of hard work but also to an open working culture that promotes from within. Like SAP, many of these positive attitudes run deep in the organization’s DNA.

“The culture at Concur has always supported hiring from within,” says Ann-Christel. “As we grew as a company, we hired people to meet our new talent requirements for specific roles. But we also looked at a hire’s overall potential in other areas. As new opportunities became available, this allowed managers to seek talent from within and mentor people for these new roles. This practice continues to this day. There are many employees at SAP Concur who have moved across departments and built their careers here. There’s great support for growing talent and promoting from within.”

Shared Opportunities, Shared Values

SAP and Concur have built a relationship based on shared business opportunities and values. For Concur, many of the organization’s simple principles for recruiting, building, and retaining top talent are as relevant today as they were when the company was founded 20 years ago:

Let people be their authentic selves
Concur teams have always been encouraged to ‘come as you are’–to come to work every day as your authentic self. Through a broad range of diversity initiatives, the company has made a point to accept everyone. As a result, there is an entire generation of employees who feel empowered and energized to take on risk, responsibility, and fresh business opportunities.

Focus on people
From the very beginning, Concur placed a great emphasis on helping people achieve a critical work-life balance. By helping people enjoy and support family life, the company nurtures people’s needs as individuals.

“At SAP Concur, family comes first,” says Ann-Christel. “Executives know the names of husbands and wives; kids and pets. I experienced that interest in family and work-life balance first-hand after the birth of my second child. I needed a little more support after his birth. As my maternity leave came to an end, I talked with my manager about my situation. She was flexible, gave me the extra time off that I needed, and worked with me on a plan to ease me back into work. I had used up my guaranteed leave, so I felt very lucky to have that support during a difficult transition.”

Grow your career
Just as SAP has championed initiatives like coffee corners and managing your own career, Concur has also created established career growth paths.

“SAP Concur encourages open dialog about professional and personal goals,” says Ann-Christel. “We’re asked to identify development goals that align with career paths. While you’re invited to speak about your career growth, managers are encouraged to consider internal candidates for new roles. It’s rewarding for both sides. Based on my experience with SAP culture and values, this is one of the reasons I think SAP and Concur fit well together.”

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