cytric Travel & Expense is Europe’s most widely used system for the booking, administration and billing of business travel. Behind cytric Travel & Expense is i:FAO, a company from Frankfurt am Main that has 20 years of incredible success in travel management.
Amadeus’ gradual takeover of the company that began in 2014 initiated a phase of international growth: in no time at all, cytric Travel & Expense went from being a “European player” to a global player. And Umbrella Faces was brought in for profile management.
Nicolas Westbeld is responsible for key account relationships at i:FAO and is experiencing an exciting time at the company. In the following interview, read what he thinks of the company’s rapid developments and how cytric clients benefit from this new global organization:
Nicolas, cytric Travel & Expense has become a real global player since its takeover by Amadeus. What changes have there been for you?
It has been a really exciting development. Today, cytric Travel & Expense is used in more than 80 countries around the world. Because cytric Travel & Expense replaces existing solutions around the world, we implement many country-specific adaptations and expansions for the various markets.
That’s moving ahead at full steam.
Amadeus’ global presence is extremely helpful here. Without having colleagues on-site, such a project would be barely possible for us. They know the ins and outs of the individual markets and fully support cytric Travel & Expense.
A great example of this is the adaptation of cytric for the Japanese market. This globalization has an impact on manpower, of course. We plan to double our developer resources by the end of 2018.
cytric Travel & Expense relies on Umbrella for profile management. What made you choose us?
cytric Travel & Expense does not have direct profile synchronization with global distribution systems, and we wanted to fill this gap. Umbrella has the expertise, speed and flexibility to do this quickly and efficiently. Our cooperation is excellent.
How exactly does this cooperation work for you? How and when is Umbrella used by cytric Travel & Expense?
Many of our clients want to retain the task of managing and monitoring personal data within the company. Umbrella is, among other things, a central component of client migration to cytric Travel & Expense.
Plus there are many companies that use cytric Travel & Expense as a leading system for profile data maintenance. This information is then synchronized with Umbrella in the TMC’s GDS and back office systems.
Umbrella cooperates with all the major GDSs, something that is especially appreciated by customers that work around the globe. Is cytric Travel & Expense also “multi-GDS” compatible?
Yes, absolutely – cytric Travel & Expense is determinedly multi-GDS and works equally well with all of these systems. Many customers have multiple GDSs because of regional priorities.
Data protection – especially the issue of the EU’s GDPR – is a hot topic in the industry. How have you prepared for it? Do you consider it an opportunity in the market?
The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) poses a challenge for the market. We are well prepared because we have always had the highest level of data protection.
After all, we traditionally work with large DAX-listed companies that have very high data privacy requirements and frequently audit us accordingly.
One thing that speaks for us in the eyes of our European customers is that we host the data in a highly secure, certified data center in Germany. This is certainly an opportunity for us.
Let’s talk about you: how long have you worked for i:FAO? What is your role there and what did you do before?
I have been with i:FAO for three-and-a-half years and work in Account Management for established customers. Specifically, I support our cytric consultants when it comes to direct established customers’ strategic or sales questions.
And I deal with contracts and tenders, plus I go to all the important trade fairs. Before I started working for i:FAO I worked in logistics for three-and-a-half years and for American Express for four-and-a-half. In between jobs I studied in Sydney, Australia.
Nicolas outside of work: where did you grow up and where do you live? How long have you lived there? What do you enjoy most about it?
I grew up near Frankfurt, more specifically in Hofheim and Kriftel, Germany. I still live there because I really love its comparatively quiet environment.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Football – that is my passion. I am a goalie in the club league, and I am a huge fan of Bayern Munich. I can get pretty emotional when I watch, but the fun of it is the most important thing for me. For me, traveling (especially in Australia and the USA) is a big part of having a good quality of life. I can definitely imagine living in one of those countries one day.
Thank you for your time and the interesting interview!