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OK, so SAP isn’t literally offering everyone a ride to their jobs, but it has introduced a new app aimed at making it easier for people to share a ride, thereby saving money and cutting automobile emissions in the process — on top of other benefits.
The cloud-based application, called SAP TwoGo, is pretty simple: the employee answers a handful of questions about where they live, their destination, and other variables such as whether they can take a detour to pick someone up and how much, what time they need to arrive or depart, etc. Then the software matches people up. SAP has partnered with Nokia for the app’s geocoding, routing and mapping technology. TwoGo is also available on the Apple iOS and Android mobile platforms, so that people can use the software on their smartphones.
A few weeks ago, Thomas Cook, Europe’s second largest travel company, began a pilot project using TwoGo at its German headquarters in Frankfurt, according to Julian Clemenz, the head of business development for Thomas Cook’s continental Europe division.
The company saw the application as a way to meet its environmental sustainability goals, as well as a way to get employees involved in those objectives.
“A big part of our employees commute every day from Frankfurt or the greater Frankfurt area. It was pretty obvious that many of them were driving alone in the morning, and then [returning to the same place] in the evening,” Clemenz said. “It was pretty obvious that this might be a good idea.”
Even in the program’s early days, 100 of the branch’s 1,200 employees have begun using the app, according to Clemenz.
“So far, it’s already a good start. Obviously we want to [raise awareness of the software] and motivate people to use it,” he said. “If we can get 20 or 30% [of our employees to use it,] we’ll be really happy.”
Apart from saving employees’ money and helping the environment, there are other benefits, according to Clemenz. For one, workers have more time to talk and to network, and the parking lot isn’t as full.
“Maybe you meet people you never met before. With 1,200 people, you can’t know everyone,” Clemenz said. “That’s part of the idea behind it.”
SAP contends that companies with automotive fleets can reduce their fuel consumption costs and help preserve the value of vehicles by using the application to make more efficient use of their cars.
TwoGo is available in the U.S. and Germany, according to SAP. Plans are to roll it out soon to other countries, including France, Belgium and the United Kingdom.