Technology & Innovation
Why OpenAI’s Integration Into Navan Has Been a Game-Changer

Why OpenAI’s Integration Into Navan Has Been a Game-Changer

Rich Beattie

13 Jul 2023
3 minute read
Navan and OpenAI

What if you could find out how to save 10% of your travel budget with the push of a button? And what if that one push could save you millions of dollars?

Before OpenAI announced its groundbreaking generative AI technology in November 2022, we didn’t think this was something we could help our customers do. Such analyses required hours of manual evaluation by data scientists and finance teams. But we quickly recognized that GPT was the most powerful, sophisticated AI platform on the market. And even though we had been using AI throughout the Navan solution, we wanted to harness the power of this superior product. So we pounced, partnering with OpenAI to license its technology.

After a flurry of testing, experimenting, and implementing, the improvements in both our travel and expense platforms have been game-changing — and we’re just getting started.

Here’s where we are now.

GPT In Navan Travel

As every road warrior knows, travel support is crucial. From last-minute client meeting changes to canceled flights, scheduling challenges come with the territory. And when they occur, spending hours holding for a customer service rep only makes matters worse.

We had created an AI-powered chatbot as a first line of defense within Navan Travel, to help travelers avoid that situation. But employing the GPT technology has upped the chatbot’s game. If, say, an airline cancels a flight, Navan’s chatbot immediately finds the next-best option — based on a customer’s preferences — and asks the traveler if they want to select that option or look for others. Of course, the traveler can always choose to talk with a live, experienced agent (which may be necessary with more challenging obstacles), but in many cases, one touch can get travelers on their way.

The technology has also made it possible to provide even more personalized search options for travelers when booking their trips. Based on a road warrior’s travel history, preferences, and loyalty memberships, the first options they see will be those with the closest match. Early morning flights on United, Marriott Bonvoy–qualified rooms, Avis car rentals? Done and done. After all, who has the time to dig through options they won’t want?

GPT In Navan Expense

Reams upon reams of data in various databases and different categories: That’s where a company’s spending information lies. And it’s exactly the kind of environment where generative AI thrives.

After all, finding trends within all that data can take days when performed by a human analyst. It can be even harder to identify opportunities for savings. But for companies, unlocking that information can mean the difference between success and failure.

Enter OpenAI.

By integrating GPT’s powerful capabilities within Navan Expense, we’ve created Ava — our generative AI-driven data analyst. Through deep engineering work, we’ve developed a process of “recursive prompts” where, instead of one prompt returning one answer, the answer will create its own prompt, as will each of the following answers.

That first prompt can involve asking Ava a question like “How can my company save 10% of our travel budget?” Ava then searches across multiple databases, dives deep into each, then cross-references the findings to deliver advice — and does it in an instant. The results include strategies and perhaps even some unexpected insights into the interrelation of disparate categories of spend.

At Navan, we’re just scratching the surface of what we can achieve with OpenAI’s powerful technology. Its integration has already resulted in new features as well as entirely new ways of looking at data — and it hasn’t even been a year. Watch this space for more to come.

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