Khaled H. Musilhy
May 23 · 4 min read

The wait finally seemed to be over after a 15-hour flight. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the airport, I finally found myself standing in front of an immigration officer who I expected to stamp my passport, but instead rejected my entry into the country.

In this era of digitization, backed by powerful technologies, it never crossed my mind that I’d be denied entry due to an invalid visa status, following a system failure in updating the database.

The wait was not over. The return journey had just begun costing me an additional 45 hours, not to mention the mental and physical agony that came with it for free.

All of this happened after having a valid visa stamped and verified before boarding from the port of departure.

The irony of the situation was heightened further when I was seated next to a colleague, who had been shortlisted for the first one-way trip to Mars — which is interplanetary travel! I contemplated the impact of having my entry to one of the largest economies in the BRIC group denied, and on the gravity of the challenges companies across the globe face due to such errors.

The Challenges of Today and Tomorrow

Thinking of the number of travelers turned away from the travel ports, as well as those canceling confirmed plans due to missing legal documents, the losses might amount to more than 3 billion US dollars.

These costs are borne by the airlines, businesses, and employees. With trends toward spending money on experiences that count, it is indeed a painful combination to incur financial loss and an awful travel experience.

Let’s take a closer look at the challenges that organizations and businesses are facing today as the travel floodgates open.

The Mobility Maze

The increase in the number of countries suffering from “unrest” status is directly impacting the total number of migrants and refugees across the world. The number of migrants rose above 257.7 million (as per UN DESA, 2017). There is also a steep rise in the number of expat workers, increasing potential risks related to managing not only travel visas, but all subsequent legal documents.

Scattered Responsibilities

Responsibilities within organizations are scattered across different teams and even departments — HR, government relations, finance, global mobility, and many others — making it difficult to ensure information integrity and process integration.

Widening of the Business Process Gap

Organizations have choices when it comes to business applications for standard HR business processes. There’s a palette of options for travel management products - either on-premise or cloud - and the same applies to immigration tools used and offered by immigration service providers. However, the white space between these products create challenges when it comes to organizations handling this area in an efficient way.

The Exit and the Entry

Ever-changing global political trends add to the complexity of managing travel. BREXIT, new immigration rules being discussed by US, disputes related to Qatar and its neighbors in the Arabian gulf region, to name a few.

Higher Cost of Compliance

Staying in compliance can be very costly due to laws and regulations within countries that have a high frequency of changes — making it a challenge for organizations to stay compliant. Support from legal offices and consulting firms are a solution, but add further costs, and might lack integration abilities.

The Global Talent Crunch

Are you among those who believe that the job market is slimming down, and it’ll be a herculean task to find a position in the years to come? Studies differ from this opinion, estimating the impending talent crunch by modeling the gap between future labor supply and demand.

Estimating talent shortfall in 20 major economies at three milestones: 2020, 2025, and 2030, it is forecast that by 2030, demand for skilled workers will outstrip supply, thereby resulting in a global talent shortage of more than 85.2 million people.

When countries and organizations cannot meet the need, importing talent would be the option.

The World is the Office

Be it for business or for leisure, the boundaries between continents are shrinking with the multitude of travel options. The amount of air travelers could reach 8.2 billion in 2037, according to an analysis from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

With a steep ascent in travel, the issues that highlighted so far are bound to get more intense if there are no solutions in place.

Integrating Business Processes is Key to Modernizing Travel

We live in a digital world, so it’s perplexing that organizations still face penalties and missed business opportunities due to lack of integration across different components in travel management, especially legal documents for travel.

With travel costs being one of the top expense categories in many organizations, it is vital to bridge the gap between processes by seamlessly integrating them. This would not only reduce costs and improve efficiency, but also improve the employee experience.

Learn how SAP is working to make employee visa and work permit planning hassle-free and accurate.

SAP Innovation Spotlight

Brand journalists cover tech and IT trends like Digital Transformation, Future of Work, Purpose, Customer Experience, and more. VISIT OUR ARCHIVES HERE: https://medium.com/sap-innovation-spotlight/archive.

Khaled H. Musilhy

Written by

Head GS Product Management in EMEA. Brings 2+ decades of experience in Software development empowering businesses run compliant locally and compete globally

SAP Innovation Spotlight

Brand journalists cover tech and IT trends like Digital Transformation, Future of Work, Purpose, Customer Experience, and more. VISIT OUR ARCHIVES HERE: https://medium.com/sap-innovation-spotlight/archive.

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