Kaspersky, a global cybersecurity company, struggled with consistent definition and enforcement of its corporate travel policies. The Egencia travel management platform and online resource center enabled Kaspersky to gain increased global and regional policy compliance as well as better communication and consistency in its travel program.
Kaspersky is one of the world’s pre-eminent cybersecurity companies and its travel managers oversee a corporate travel program of significant scope. The international company has more than 30 offices globally and supports more than 400 million users with 270,000 corporate clients.
Managing a global ecosystem of this scale means that many Kaspersky employees are frequently traveling internationally. This includes people from the company’s Moscow headquarters who need to go to North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Employees at numerous local offices must also travel regionally and internationally to support the company’s far-flung operations.
Challenge: Achieving consistency in policy compliance
Kaspersky’s corporate travel program is based on two levels of policy. Global policy affects everyone in the company and sets the maximum limits for travel, accommodation, and per diems. It defines what’s reimbursed and what isn’t, who can and can’t book business class airfares, and so forth.
The second level of travel policy focuses on regional or local policies that are defined for specific regions and countries. These policies reflect regional nuances and specifics and take into consideration cultural differences in various parts of the world. Local policies also include local legal and financial compliance. The local travel policies can be seen as more rigid than the global policy since none of those policies can conflict with the global policy. For example, if the global policy states that something isn’t allowed, then the local policy can’t allow it either.
“One of our main motivations for this dual global/local approach is to create a fair environment, where everyone feels as if they are being treated the same way,” Irina Kostyukova, head of business travel at Kaspersky said.
“We also want to keep compliance high, which is only realistic if policies are flexible to address local needs. If we didn’t have a global policy, local policies could go separate ways — it would be chaos. On the other hand, if we had just a global one, we could not cover all the specific local requirements. From my perspective, a multinational company needs both types of policies.”
The challenge Kaspersky faced was one of consistency in policy definition and enforcement. Kostyukova’s goal was for the travel policies to be clear, realistic, and simple to follow. All employees of a multinational company should (in an ideal situation) get the same experience and level of service when it comes to business travel. But this wasn’t easily accomplished when the company first set out to implement its travel policies. Compliance was an issue, which became a source of frustration for Kostyukova.
“If two employees from different countries are checking into a hotel and see that their stays are booked at different rates, this can cause all sorts of problems from a policy compliance perspective,” she said.
“Similarly, if one of them can pay for their stay using a corporate card while the second one has to pay with his personal credit card, you will have trouble. The second traveler might just avoid booking the corporate rate next time.”
The issue of consistency comprised a number of related challenges. One problematic area for Kaspersky was travel-related communication and education. The company’s employees often didn’t know the details of policies or had forgotten them. Maintaining a consistent travel policy also relies on good relationships with travel managers in the other regions.
“It is very important, nearly imperative, to keep open, full communication with travel managers in different regions,” Kostyukova said. “This ensures that we are all working together to provide the safest and the best quality service for our travelers. We have to discuss different new ideas and the ways to handle problematic situations.”
Solution: Increased compliance with clear communication of travel policies
To achieve travel policy consistency — along with the business outcomes provided by such consistency — Kaspersky built an intranet portal that contained its global travel policy information so that travelers could find the information they needed to stay complaint. When it came to building a robust international travel program, Kaspersky was able to use our platform to implement the specifics they needed in their travel policy to meet their needs on a global and regional basis.
The Kaspersky travel program now enables its employees to book travel and easily stay in policy. It’s able to answer virtually all travel-related questions. If a traveler doesn’t know how to book a trip, or a part of a trip, the internal knowledge base gives them the answers they need.
The platform is tuned for local travel. For instance, based on Kaspersky’s requirements, travelers in a particular region see specific hotel chains or regional air carriers available for their trips. There’s also global transparency — using the intranet portal a traveler from one country can see how it works in another — and that “creates a sense of community,” Kostyukova said.
Now, Kaspersky travelers have the same booking experience wherever they’re located, regardless of destination. “This is important, not just for the booking experience, it’s important for the whole travel experience,” Kostyukova said.
Our platform has delivered a number of additional benefits to Kaspersky. These include more combined air and hotel approval requests, which reflects an increase in compliance as more travelers are booking hotels according to global and local policies.
The platform has also enabled Kostyukova’s team to consolidate travel vendors. “When it comes to our business travel program, minimalism is the key,” she said. “We should have as few service providers as possible, for air, hotels, taxi, payment solutions, and so forth.”
This makes it possible for the company to get the best rates and keep things simple and consistent for their travelers. It’s also easier to establish standard levels of service across the world and troubleshoot issues if they arise.
Data is a common thread across the Kaspersky platform experience. “I’m fan of data,” Kostyukova said. “I love to work with it. I love seeing how figures can show what is happening, where we are going, what the trends are. I use it to generate different types of reports like compliance reports, global travel reviews, and more. This data is a great support for me.”
Working with Egencia, Kaspersky has been able to develop and implement a travel program that addresses its need for policy consistency.