There are a few growing trends in the Microsoft ecosystem as of late. A willingness to expand beyond the company’s Windows ecosystem is one, and another, not so widely reported, is their reimaging of traditional Office programs. With projects like Office Mix and Sway, Microsoft is looking to add and possibly supplant some current Office solutions in favor of more consumer-friendly approaches.
A new project coming out of the Microsoft’s Garage incubation program is looking to continue to foster Microsoft’s expansion out of Windows while also addressing new Office tools for consumers.
According to the Project Phoenix Facebook page, Microsoft is inviting users of iOS devices to test out a new expense reporting app. The requirements to enter the private testing are as followed:
- US testing only (at least for now)
- Must use an iPhone as a primary device
- Work at a company that currently employs Concur as their expense reporting back-end
- People who actively travel at least three domestic overnight trips per month
- Must complete a nomination survey
Project Phoenix will be a mobile app that will automatically fill out expense reports for users. The app will also send notifications of credit card spend in real time. The idea is that users will be able to glance at the expense, approve it (there is no clarification on where the notifications pop up) and be on your way. Simple. Much of how Project Phoenix is still a bit of a mystery but the app is supposed to work directly with contacts mentioned in a users Outlook calendar. The app is also supposed to use the camera on mobile devices as a way to classify entered expenses into the right categories. I don’t think it would be too far of a stretch, to assume Office Lens will incorporated into this somehow. So now companies that felt Excel may have been an 18-wheeler, when it came to expense reporting, Project Phoenix may be the motorcycle more people were looking for.
Microsoft has not commented an Android or Windows Phone variant, for those waiting (more likely hoping with puppy dog eyes).