Meet Concierge, Expensify’s Very Own Artificial Intelligence
[Original post date: September 22, 2016]
Hello! To celebrate the arrival of a new fall season (or, for our new friends down under, a sunny spring!) I wanted to introduce you to our newest creation: “Concierge”, the product of many months of effort, and possibly your new best friend.
In short, Concierge is our artificially intelligent virtual assistant, built right into Expensify. That means Concierge knows everything Expensify knows — which, given the billions of dollars in expenses we process, is a lot — and is eager to use that knowledge to make your life easy.
It’s possible you’ve already spoken to Concierge without realizing it, because her first job at Expensify was something every one of our employees does every day: customer support. For the past few months, Concierge has learned how to handle an increasing array of common support issues — especially around the complex area of bank import.
Similarly, Concierge is the brains behind our “Price to Beat” feature, as she not only knows every expense ever reported by anybody, she also knows the realtime pricing of every flight, hotel, and car in the world. This means Concierge will discreetly notify you if you’re getting the best value for your travel dollar — something that matters even more if your company has enabled Expensify Rewards, as you keep $0.50 of every dollar you save your company.
Concierge also welcomes new users to help them get their accounts set up, gives regular updates on tasks outstanding to be done, and so on. Over time, Concierge will get more and more intelligent, and you’ll find her reaching out at various times to offer a helping hand, or roll out the red carpet everywhere you go. But in particular, I wanted to highlight the most recent trick up Concierge’s virtual sleeve: Scheduled Submit.
You can enable this on the website in your personal preferences, and it works like this:
- You SmartScan your receipt, as normal, the moment you get it.
- Concierge will read and categorize your receipt, again, as normal.
- But now, Concierge will add it to your expense report for you, and even submit it to your manager, on whatever schedule you want.
By default, Concierge will submit your receipts the night you scan them. (If that’s too fast, you can also pick weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.) When combined with our supersonic next day reimbursement, it means you can have cash money in your bank account tomorrow, for every purchase you expense today — just take your phone out of your pocket, SmartScan the receipt, and put your phone away. Concierge will do all the rest.
Now, the world is a complex place, and not everything always goes according to plan. Don’t worry, Concierge is smart enough to know when a receipt is out of company policy, and will only submit receipts that she knows are ready to go — I’m talking about the copious Uber and Starbucks receipts, not the thousand-dollar multi-leg international flight.
Similarly, Concierge works not only for you, but also your company. If your company wants Concierge to do something different (eg, submit on a particular frequency, or hold certain receipts for manual review), she’ll be a team player and make it happen.
But it’s not worth anybody’s time to manually transcribe, submit, review, and approve a ton of tiny receipts, and Concierge is there to take all that drudgery off your team’s plate.
So! That’s the latest update from Expensify, and we have a ton more stuff in store. But before I go, a quick thanks to Atlassian, Nandos, Swatch, La Trobe University, and all the other Australian customers who have made us feel welcome. We’re excited for our newest office in Melbourne, and to anybody else in the neighborhood, we’re open for business! (And psst… we’re also hiring engineers, sales, and success…)
PS: Concierge is built atop our custom georedundant NewSQL database, Bedrock. It’s designed for very high performance/availability ACID-safe relational data using a pretty radical WAN-optimized replication protocol atop a Paxos-based distributed transaction system. And we’re opening it up to the world on 10/18 at FinDEVr. Sign up to learn more at bedrockdb.com, or come to siliconvalley2016.findevr.com to have all the buzzwords explained live on stage!