Automating Your Business’ Payments Just Became Even Easier

 

Think about your expenses for a moment. How many of those are automatically paid on a schedule? Many of your subscriptions and monthly bills are paid every month without having to give them any thought. Your Amazon Prime, cell phone, electric bill… even some of our groceries are automatically paid for and delivered to our doorsteps!

 

So why wouldn’t you do the same for your business?

 

Well, if you are a customer of SAP Concur using Comdata’s Mastercard payment solutions … Now you can!

 

ApexConnect, an absolutely top-notch data company, along with our partners at Cornerstone Information Systems has completed a groundbreaking labor of love making this possible, and we’re here to tell you about it.

 

 

ApexConnect Announces New Solution for Businesses to Connect Between Comdata and SAP Concur

 

Just this quarter, ApexConnect, Comdata, and SAP Concur finished up a monumental effort to connect SAP Concur with Comdata; building a payment portal to manage the payments, vendors, workflow, and integrations. In certifying the solution on Concur’s newest V4 Pay API, the offering simplifies complex business processes and offers customers an intuitive and comprehensive payment portal.

 

Comdata is a 50-year-old company and one of the largest commercial card issuers in the world who delivers innovative B2B payment technologies. The company partners with more than 30,000 businesses to better manage $55B in annual fleet, corporate purchasing, payroll and healthcare spending, making it the leading commercial Mastercard issuer in North America. Given those credentials, chances are you’re probably familiar with them.

 

In short, this solution accommodates SAP Concur customers to use Comdata for processing payments to vendors.

 

That’s not all. This was actually a first on SAP Concur’s new standard V4 payment API. Just as important — there were many accolades from SAP Concur and Comdata on the success, comprehension, creativity, as well as the completeness of the documentation and thoughtfulness for the customer use cases, existing customer migrations, and go-to-market approaches.

 

“Comdata’s focus on customers help them eliminate not just paper, it optimizes internal operation and processes while driving efficiencies into cash and treasury management,” says Greg Hulsey, the Senior Vice President of commercial card sales at Comdata. “By centralizing payments to vendors and leveraging today’s technology, companies can see not just increased efficiencies, but also incentives to optimize the entire AP flow.”

 

We are very excited to begin rolling this solution out and seeing how much time and money will to be saved for all businesses using this product. So is SAP Concur:

 

“Comdata provides Concur Invoice clients with an integrated, world-class virtual credit card program. In addition to paying invoices with check or ACH, clients can make payments using a secure, single-use MasterCard account number to minimize the cost and hassle of paper check payments. And because funds are delivered through the MasterCard network, you earn monthly rebates on spending, similar to the way a consumer earns cash back on a personal credit card.” – concur.com

 

We spoke with Comdata’s Senior Vice President of Operations for Corporate Payments, Meitra Aycock, for her take on this successful solution. She is enthusiastic to see AP Automation move forward. “This will save clients a lot of time and a lot of money.”

 

“Comdata is a leading provider of innovative payment and operating technology that drives actionable insights from spending data, builds enhanced controls and positively impacts its clients’ bottom lines.” – Meitra Aycock

 

According to research by Comdata, paper checks can cost your business upwards of $5 per check to pay your vendors. That means that the more business you do, the more money is wasted on those little pieces of paper. The setup for the AP automated program is quick and easy. Not only does the automation save time, but the data services linked to it chart out your expenses for you in a consolidated dashboard. No matter who you bank with, that’s something your manual paper check writing process cannot do!

 

Combining Convenience and Security

 

Typically, when we think of banking technology, security and convenience can often compete against each other. We all have experienced the choice between having your browser remember your credit card number and needing to fish the card out of your wallet every time you want to purchase something online. This becomes far more complicated when managing payments for hundreds of vendors that you manage for your business.

 

Comdata’s Virtual Card payment technology solves this conundrum.

 

Now, when you set up an invoice in the Comdata/SAP Concur solution for repeated and automatic billing, Comdata can generate a single-use 16-digit MasterCard number and deliver that number along with full invoice and remittance data to your vendor.

 

One card number for each transaction. That means even if the generated credit card number is compromised due to a breach on your vendor’s side, you don’t have to worry because your account is still secure.

 

Not to mention, since the virtual card is generated as a Mastercard, you are still able to apply the transaction to earning Mastercard rebates just as you might do with a regular personal or business credit card.

 

Convenience and security, in one elegant solution.

 

A Practical Solution for the Modern World

 

But how practical is this solution?

 

Very! As evidenced by the number of today’s Comdata customers using the previous iteration of this solution.

 

We asked ApexConnect’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Ross Atkinson, what this means for clients:

 

“Now that we’ve built this with Comdata, we can offer a market leading solution for Concur customers to process their payments through Comdata. That’s extremely important to customers. It streamlines and eliminates data handling errors.

 

Handling of processing payments to vendors itself also gives you a very clear cut, comprehensive master dataset of your vendors and your terms and conditions of payment. This helps to maximize your payment cycles to ultimately leverage your cash on hand and any incentives provided by Comdata.”

 

                             – Ross Atkinson, ApexConnect VP Marketing and Sales.

 

ApexConnect and Automation – Are You A Fit?

 

While we don’t know exactly what the future will hold, we can definitely take a moment and reflect that ApexConnect, Comdata, and SAP Concur’s team has moved us along the path of automation progress.

 

Now all that remains is to ask yourself: is your business ready for this future of B2B payments?

 

If you are interested in learning more about how this payment automation solution can help your company, email us at Apexsales@apexconnect.io

 

 

 

Moving With The Times – Keeping Your Tech Company Relevant

An Interview With A CEO and Entrepreneur

 

 

Before we get to my interview with Cornerstone CEO, Mat Orrego, ask yourself a Big Question: “How do you keep your tech company relevant in today’s world of constantly evolving technological progress?”

 

As you answer this question, don’t just give yourself your elevator speech about what your company is and what it does. Really sit down with the question and consider what efforts your company has made to truly keep forward facing in the modern world. Have you made use of new technology as it comes along? Is your business model flexible enough to adapt to change? Have you been able to avoid or retire the technical debt that plagues other tech companies?

 

Obviously, if you are working in a growing business – whatever you are doing is succeeding! But it’s important to really dig in to the “whys” and the “hows” of this momentum and relevance that your company has. The biggest goal is to keep that momentum going, and you can’t do that without a few moments here and there of some serious introspection.

 

Keeping all of that in mind, let’s see what Cornerstone’s CEO and Founder has to say about the subject:

  

Cornerstone and Data Automation Before The Internet

Cornerstone Information Systems was founded in 1992 “out of necessity,” says founder and CEO Mat Orrego. Orrego had worked for a travel agency before, and was on the team to help implement their first data automation protocols. He saw great potential for the project, and left once it was implemented to build his own solution for sale to other travel companies.

 

Now if you remember, 1992 was a year before AOL started mass distribution of their “free trials CDs”, so this was well before many places had their own internet connections. In fact, according to Orrego, this was even before many companies had access to their own computers. How did Cornerstone overcome this obstacle to sell their software?

 

“We used to sell our software with a computer since people couldn’t run [our product] without one”, Orrego explained. “We would buy Gateway and Dell computers – we had these things everywhere in the office – and we would copy our software on to these computers to sell [to travel companies]”.

 

And how did these computers connect to the airline Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) before their owners had internet?

 

“The GDS’s would provide dedicated ALC lines from the telephone companies to access the host”

 

So Cornerstone Information Systems, a little startup in Bloomington Indiana, would load their software on a desktop computer, travel to their clients and install the computer for them, splice into one of the ALC lines, using a special multiplexer and teach a travel agency how to use it.

 

Talk about making sure your clients are happy and productive!

 

But as we all know, computers and the internet became far more commonplace in the years after 1992. How did Cornerstone remain relevant? How did they evolve?

 

Orrego leaned back, smiled, and answered: “We thought it would be cool if we could get data out of these systems [that we’d built].”

 

Don’t all great companies start with the thought of “it would be cool if”? …

 

The Cycle of Ever Changing Technology

“When we started,” Orrego said, “already travel was becoming part of more employees jobs within organizations. It was the beginnings of globalization and if you wanted to compete you had to travel. All of that needed to be measured and managed.”

 

They saw where technology was going, and knew how to adapt. “We had to become an automation company that reduced operational costs and provided great data to manage the business.”

 

So while the travel agencies that Cornerstone counted among its clients evolved, purchased more computers, connected to the internet, and became comfortable with their own technology, Orrego knew that there was potential in evolving how his own company automated its clients’ data.

 

For example, “[travel] reports used to be printed and mailed. Travel agents would have these big piles of reports in the corner of their offices, all unread. We automated it with PDFs.”

 

Anywhere Orrego saw an opportunity within the whole ecosystem of travel to automate, Cornerstone developed an automation solution. Data insights, reporting, workflow – nothing was off limits. “It wasn’t just the reservation process anymore,” Orrego said. “It was also about everything else that needed to be in the reservation. Employee ID, authorization, financial metrics, comments to the airline or hotel”. All of these steps could be fed through a centralized process (or made in to their own automatic process) and prevent errors, or make the process faster.

 

“We were thinking about what we were doing and accomplishing. [We were] constantly thinking of how to ensure a level of quality and reliability with the reservation process for the customers. … Humans could make mistakes. Typos. Etc. We wanted to ensure the documentation and policies were properly done. And if it wasn’t [done properly at the beginning], then we could finish it properly. It was the next scaling step in the industry.”

 

Adapting For The Future

When asked where Cornerstone would be headed in the next decade, Orrego didn’t even skip a beat.

 

“Our customer in the future is the one that is focused on an integration and utilization of information through their entire enterprise. Our future customer wants travel to be a highly integrated and seamless process. [In this sense, integrated means that] you want decisions to come to you. You need to know about something only when a decision needs to be made.”

 

Right now, in order for a travel agent to be updated, they have to keep checking an app or a program. They have to keep themselves updated. They have to make the initiative.

 

When a traveler gets to the airport, they have to check the monitors to know if their flight is delayed,  if their airplane has changed, or if their seat has been moved. But travelers don’t want that. Travelers want to know things in advance as that knowledge first comes available and when they have to make a pertinent decision about it.

 

In Orrego’s words, “You want to be told and updated as to where you are and what’s going on much sooner than later. [Having value means] being insightful and predictive at the moment that the insight and prediction needs the action.”

 

In other words, you should get a notification that alerts you to these things as soon as the GDS is aware that it is happening.

 

He also believes that a travel company’s data reports could use a shakeup as well. “They weren’t really read when they were being mailed, and they aren’t really read now that they’re in PDFs either.” So what can change that? Orrego has a plan to tailor travel reporting to have data that is both interesting and relevant to its consumer.

 

“Say your company gets discounts from an airline when booking in H class. We could incorporate that into our reports and show how many tickets are being booked in which classes and what fare classe where available at the time. You could can then show the airline that you are not able to to get a discount because H class is often not available. That would be interesting information to that company as the company could be missing its discount target.”

 

Even though the number of H class seats in a report may be wholly irrelevant to other companies, it is important to the particular client in the example. Not to mention, it could help their business look better to the travelers for whom they are booking flights.

 

And that’s really the bottom line. Helping your client look good for their clients.

 

 

So, how DO you keep your tech company relevant in today’s world of constantly evolving technological progress?

 Orrego was ready for that one too.

 

“For us, it’s not going to just be about travel. [Travel will] always be a mainstay for us, but it touches so many other parts of the industry that we can facilitate and integrate much broader bases of processes. We will take our tech and because we can do a very integrated expansion of information and enablement of decision making … we will discover other industries that we can enable with the same mentality. Everything is about processes and automation.”

 

Find the need and fill it, no matter how it needs to get done.

 

“We spent 25 years automating the routine so frontline agents can focus on the traveler and companies get the best value for their travel purchase.  We are now looking the next generation of travel automation and leveraging AI and machine learning.  That’s what we do. That’s where we started. That’s where we’re going.”

 

So long as there is data to automate, Cornerstone Information Systems will be there … adapting to whatever needs and systems our clients operate on.

 

Special thanks to Cornerstone Information Systems Founder and CEO, Mat Orrego for both his time and his fantastically captivating storytelling abilities.

CEO Matt Orrego

 Mat Orrego

CEO, Cornerstone Information Systems

 

IQCX Toubleshooting Training

iQCX Training Is Here!

Ever have one of those days where a PNR didn’t process correctly, and you wish you could just fix it yourself instead of going through the process of submitting a ticket and waiting for help?

Well, today is your lucky day!

Sign up for iQCX Troubleshooting Training Class HERE!

Because even though we here at Cornerstone thrive on fixing errors as quickly and efficiently as possible, we know that sometimes nothing beats being able to just sit down and do something yourself.

That’s why we are offering our very own iQCX Troubleshooting Courses for clients of all levels and familiarity.

Whether you are looking to designate an employee as your own in-house “go-to” for iQCX troubleshooting issues, or you just want to give your agents a little bit of extra training, these courses are absolutely something that you won’t want to miss.

Take a look at what we have to offer:

 

Web Portal Troubleshooting

(1 hour)

This introductory class for troubleshooting is intended for any iQCX client. 

Attendees will be shown basic troubleshooting steps and procedures in tracking down, identifying problems, and taking steps to fix them.  We will discuss the overall iQCX process, so that you understand how iQCX works, and then show you how to use the options and features available to you in the Web Portal, giving you the power to correct some issues on your own.

————- 

 

 

Composer Troubleshooting

(1 hour)

For customers who are ResRule Writers:

Access to the iQCX Composer gives you more than just the ability to write ResRules.  In it, you can look at many aspects of the overall iQCX processing, and use the Composer’s capabilities to review schedules, troubleshoot ResRules, and see how and why a PNR was not processed correctly.  Most times, it is the user who can identify and correct problems without having to escalate to Cornerstone Support.  In this class, you’ll be shown how to use all the features of the Composer to assist you in your troubleshooting procedures, beyond what you can do in the Web Portal.

 

Current Prices:

$250 – First Seat

$150 – Per seat for the next 4 seats from your company or party

$99 – each seat after the 5th

 

 

 

If you have any questions, you can get in touch with your CIS rep or send any inquiry to: products@ciswired.com

All times listed in the class descriptions are on United States Eastern Time  (GMT -5, same as New York, New York).

*** All seats and prices are non-negotiable and non-refundable ***

Jorge Alvarez Joins Cornerstone as New Vice President, Product Management and Marketing

Bloomington, Indiana (August 5, 2019) – Cornerstone Information Systems® is excited to announce that Jorge Alvarez has joined Cornerstone as its new Vice President Product Management and Marketing. In this position, Jorge will report directly to Cornerstone’s CEO Mat Orrego and be responsible for product conception, definition, prototypes, and market releases.

Jorge is a Certified Scrum Product Owner, with almost 20 years of business experience. He was most recently the Director, Product Lead with PricewaterhouseCoopers, doing business as PwC. At PwC, Jorge was the head of healthcare products, leading four global teams across three countries and building a portfolio of 10 products.

“I am thrilled that Jorge is joining Cornerstone,” said Cornerstone CEO Mat Orrego. “Jorge’s expertise in Product Management and the product lifecycle management is critical to our future growth plans. We have made some great investments this year, with new products and acquisitions, and now we need the strong leadership that Jorge brings those investments to our customers.”

Earning his Bachelor of Science from Purdue University and his Master of Business and Doctor of Law degrees from Indiana University Bloomington, Jorge is excited to relocate to Bloomington with his family.

“I am excited to be back in Bloomington,” said Jorge Alvarez. “My career has taken me across the country, to California and Texas, but Indiana is home to me. Cornerstone is a growing global company serving one of the most complex industries in the world – and doing it all from Bloomington.”

Jorge will attend the upcoming Global Business Travel Association Convention in Chicago from August 5-7, 2019. To meet Jorge, please schedule an appointment or stop by the Cornerstone booth (booth 2812).

Based in Bloomington since 1992, Cornerstone Information Systems has grown from a small office of fifteen to almost 100 employees. Cornerstone is in final preparations to move into a brand-new headquarters building in downtown Bloomington along the B-Line and was recently voted one of the Best Places To Work In Bloomington.

To learn more about Cornerstone Information Systems, please contact Lauren Wolters (lwolters@ciswired.com) or visit www.ciswired.com.

Cornerstone Information Systems Selected as One Of The Best Places To Work Bloomington

best places to work logoBloomington, Indiana (June 28, 2019) – Cornerstone Information Systems® is thrilled to announce that they have been selected as one of the Best Places To Work Bloomington by The Herald-Times, The Mill, and the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation.

The Best Places To Work Bloomington is designed to spotlight the best places to work in different categories, to highlight opportunities for those in the Bloomington and surrounding areas. Cornerstone had to complete a company survey, and then company employees were surveyed. The combined scores, the employee survey being weighed higher, earned Cornerstone a place on the Best Places To Work Bloomington list.

“I am thrilled we have earned a spot on the list, and I’m proud to be in the company of these other great companies,” said Cornerstone CEO Mat Orrego. “We are committed to Bloomington, and I believe the city-wide investment in technology and life sciences is planning the seeds for attracting and retaining talent for future growth.”

Based in Bloomington since 1992, Cornerstone Information Systems has grown from a small office of fifteen to almost 100 employees. Cornerstone is in final preparations to move into a brand-new headquarters building in downtown Bloomington along the B-Line. Employees have an average tenure of more than seven years, a tribute to Cornerstone’s investment in its employees and more than triple the average for most technology companies.

“I love working for Cornerstone,” said Jenny Tracy, Customer Services Facilitation Manager. “I can enjoy the small city feel while working at a growing global business that does big things and impacts many people.”

To learn more about Cornerstone Information Systems or to set up an interview, please contact Lauren Wolters (lwolters@ciswired.com) or visit www.ciswired.com.

Cornerstone Acquires Apexconnect Inc.

Platform, Cloud, Integration Endpoints and Data is the Future of an Intelligent Hybrid Environment

Bloomington Indiana (June 26, 2019) – Cornerstone Information Systems Inc. is pleased to announce the acquisition of the business of Apexconnect Inc., a Washington DC based company. Apexconnect Inc. helps customers automate the integration of expense, payment, and invoicing processes across the enterprise via its Core Connector Platform™. The Apexconnect Inc. business will now be known as ApexConnect.

With Cornerstone’s stronghold on travel technology and ApexConnect’s focus on financial technology, both companies saw the potential to work together to provide a broader set of data and information services to their customers.

The companies’ respective Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) offerings are designed to automate a variety of workflows that provide the opportunity to merge a broad variety of different data. Combined with artificial intelligence and predictive technologies, this intelligent hybrid of expense, payment, booking, human capital and other data will change the insights that are delivered to a customer’s enterprise.

“Often we see the need to cast a wider net of functionality across the enterprise in order to help automate for a richer and more efficient workflow for customers,” said Cornerstone Information Systems CEO Mat Orrego. “ApexConnect really understands how to bring together ‘the last mile’ in procure-to-pay workflows and we both saw the opportunity to work together. This technology has a ton of potential to help customers in other areas of their business.”

ApexConnect will continue to run as an independent business from its new offices in Arlington, Va. and will be supported by Cornerstone’s established and growing business out of Bloomington, In. headquarters. Ross Atkinson, Vice President of Sales and Partner Services for ApexConnect, will work with Cornerstone’s Chief Operating Officer Ron Childress to help grow and manage the business.

“With a strong, shared customer focus, both companies look forward to broadening the services they offer while focusing on the specific data, information and integration needs of its customers,” said Ron Childress.

To learn more about Cornerstone Information Systems or ApexConnect or to set up an interview, please contact Lauren Wolters (lwolters@ciswired.com) or visit www.ciswired.com.

 

More about ApexConnect

ApexConnect, is an Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) company with a Cloud Connect Platform.  This unique platform integrates hundreds of connections with expense management, enterprise resource planning, human capital management, and payment solutions to quickly connect what have traditionally been disparate systems across an enterprise.

The platform automates the invoice, purchase order, expense, documentation management and corporate payment processes while applying client specific business rules, logic, data validations, and transformations providing value in key business functions.

ApexConnect is a company with a customer and cloud first approach.

To learn more, visit apexconnect.io.

 

More about Cornerstone Information Systems

Cornerstone Information Systems® is a global technology and services provider that has a unique domain knowledge in the travel industry, from how travel is operationalized to how information is managed. With a foundation in automation, Cornerstone designs, builds, and delivers technology for travel companies and corporate buyers. Cornerstone has a single focus on travel data from the management of the reservation to the creation and presentation of information. The result is higher quality customer service and more nimble operational responsiveness at a lower cost with fewer resources yielding higher profit.

Companies managing more than $25 billion in travel spend annually trust Cornerstone to help them proactively lower the costs of travel management and drive revenues through travel optimization. Founded in 1992, Cornerstone Information Systems is a privately held company headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana with customers in more than 50 countries. To learn more, visit ciswired.com

Getting Ready for GBTA Convention

We can’t believe it’s time for another GBTA Convention! Are you ready?

GBTA Convention is always one of the busiest, best, and most interesting conferences of the year – and this year will be no exception.

This year we continued to actively support GBTA through our support and participation in the local Ohio Valley, Chicago, and Dallas Fort-Worth Chapters. We are also proud to support GBTA Ladders.

On Monday, August 5 at GBTA Convention, Tom Lacny is presenting a session on “Auditing Is Critical To Effective Procurement And Contract Management.” Click here to learn more about the session.

You can find us on the Expo floor in booth 2812. We’ll be catching up with clients, sharing news about our recent acquisition of Topaz, talking about our enhancements to TicketTRAK™ and our latest technology.

Interested in setting up a meeting with our team? Click here to let us know what works best for you.

 

Wondering who will be at GBTA Convention from Cornerstone?

Here’s the team heading to Chicago:

Mat Orrego, CEO

Tom Lacny, Executive Vice President, Sales, Marketing, & Advisory Services

Laurie Reese, Executive Vice President, Customer Services

James Dargan, Global Consulting and Sales Engineer

Bobbi Huber, Global Account Manager

Michael Kell, Director, Business Development

Kyle Moser, Vice President, Product Strategy and Development

Lauren Wolters, Senior Director, Marketing

 

See you in Chicago!

Join Us At Our Education Session At GBTA Convention

We are excited for our education session at GBTA Convention 2019 in Chicago. This year’s Convention theme is “Evolve,” and our education session focuses on the evolution of the role of the travel buyer and how audits are a critical part of their role.

As travel has evolved, travel buyers are dealing with new types of data and new tools available, auditing provides an effective way to ensure that you have the right program with the right tools. With all the options and choices available today, it’s crucial to make sure yours works for you and your business. The value of auditing has never been more important with the different rich sources of data and new tools available to travel managers today.

Join our session to hear Tom Lacny, EVP, Sales, Marketing & Advisory Services discuss how effective procurement and contract management is a critical part of any program – and why auditing is valuable tool for buyers.

In this session, you will learn best practices for auditing your program to drive comprehensive improvement and savings – from pre-ticketing audit to hotel and airfare re-shopping to strategies for successful implementation of auditing software.

 

Auditing Is Critical To Effective Procurement And Contract Management

Monday, August 5

9:30 AM – 10:00 AM

Room 1578 

 

Interested in learning more, or can’t make the session? Click here to connect with us and set up a time for us to meet.

 

Airfare Audits Demonstrate Agency Value, Travel Compliance

For more than 35 years, Topaz International has been the industry leader in airfare auditing services for global and domestic travel programs.  Each year, Topaz International reviews more than $2 billion in airfares for clients of all sizes, helping to demonstrate traveler compliance and the value of using a travel management company.

“Our clients range in size from under $1 million in annual travel volume to over $200 million across a very broad spectrum of industries,” said Michele Simon, Director, Client Services for Topaz and Cornerstone Information Systems.

Such clients use Topaz airfare audits to verify that travel management companies and travelers are booking the lowest logical airfares and are taking advantage of negotiated rates. In addition to identifying cost savings or missed opportunities, Topaz airfare audits can also tell whether corporate fares and compliance are performing at or above average through the Topaz National Database – an industry leading benchmarking tool that measures fare performance on top city pairs against other companies.

“They have a particularly good and unbiased reputation in the industry,” said one client.

“Our Best Interests at Heart”         

One global professional services firm, which has leveraged the power of Topaz International for more than a decade, uses the unbiased airfare audits to validate that its travel management company is providing the best fares and services to corporate travelers.

For this firm, with more than $100 million in air spend, the audit reports have become a regular component and important feature of the company’s corporate travel management strategy, according to the firm’s director of travel services.

“I receive an audit report every month, and while our agents are particularly good at what they do, there are times when they don’t find the best fare,” the director said. “There are times when Topaz finds better fares for us.”

The buyer views the report online and looks at the statistics, seeing if there were any itineraries that were not compliant, or if the counselor did not find the lowest rates.  “Then I go back to the particular itinerary and see what it is and go back to the travel management company if need be,” the director said.  “It makes us feel comfortable that the TMC we deal with has qualified people and our best interests at heart,” the travel executive added.

Making Noncompliance Nonexistent
The audits also serve as a valuable check on noncompliance on behalf of both the traveler and the agency.  “If I see 3 or 4 passenger name records that are out of policy a month, that’s a lot,” said the director of travel services, whose traveler compliance exceeds 90 percent.  Thanks to Topaz measuring the pulse of corporate travel compliance, “We feel very comfortable that people are making the right decision.”

The buyer praised the thoroughness of Topaz audits in those rare instances when fares booked by a traveler or counselor were higher that other available fares, noting details of “which fare was lower, on what carrier, in what class of service – all of those things you need to know.”

Since no two companies or travel programs are alike, Topaz customizes audits to client needs, allowing them to set parameters for measuring performance and service.

Keeping Agents on Point
While Topaz’s services provide benefits to corporate travel programs, it also translates to benefits for the travel management company, such as validating the TMC’s services to its client, and on occasion, showing room for improvement.  Audits can help identify any issues with travel counselors, evaluate agent performance and pinpoint training needs.

One global project specialist for a travel management company said a Topaz audit “keeps everybody on their toes.”

The audits help to support the value the corporate travel agency aims to provide to clients.

“It’s beneficial to have Topaz auditing because it drives into the travel counselor that you can be on a Topaz audit at any time,” the TMC employee said.  “These things can happen at any time and you have to remain consistent for the client.”

The “Watchdog” Role
In addition to providing the company’s travel department and its travel management company with a wealth of data, Topaz’s known role as a watchdog helps to keep travelers and agents in line.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of the audits, the director of travel services at a global professional services firm conducted a trial shifting the audits from monthly to quarterly, and notes, “once you let up, you find people become a bit more careless about it.” By keeping the audits ongoing on a monthly basis, “our travelers know that it’s going to be audited and our TMC knows it’s going to be audited, so it’s a worthwhile investment.”

Another Topaz client at an industrial supplies manufacturer agreed.  “During the audit period, the pressure is on the travel counselors to make sure that they are finding the lowest fares and providing the documentation,” said the global travel manager.

In addition to demonstrating the potency of travel agency services, the director of travel services at the global professional services firm said the audits also show the effectiveness of the travel department to the rest of the company, especially those at the C-level.

“When an internal audit comes our way, and they do every two years, they want to know whether our program and TMC are the right ones for us, and it helps validate that they are,” the executive said.

To learn more about Topaz, please contact Michael Kell (mkell@ciswired.com) and make plans to stop by and see Cornerstone at GBTA 2019.

About Topaz

Topaz is the global leader for auditing and other strategic services to the corporate travel management professional.  Topaz has over 30 years of experience of auditing airfares and other travel related expenditures and supporting travel managers, buyers and agencies to improve performance and facilitate cost savings.  Topaz will assist you in validating savings during these difficult economic times. Cornerstone acquired Topaz in 2018.

 

Cornerstone Information Systems Announces New and Enhanced Solution for Ticket Tracking

 

 

 

 

 

Bloomington, Indiana (April 23, 2019) – Cornerstone Information Systems® today announces its new and enhanced TicketTRAK™ technology for tracking unused tickets.

Tracking unused airline tickets remains a big challenge for travel companies. Cornerstone research indicates that five percent to ten percent of a corporation’s total air spend is associated with unused tickets, and more than 80 percent of all unused tickets can be recovered through proper management. TicketTRAK is here to help travel companies do just that.

“Travel companies look for ways to save money for their customers, and TicketTRAK delivers that,” said Cornerstone CEO Mat Orrego. “Ignoring unused tickets leaves money on the table that can be put toward new and additional travel.”

TicketTRAK fits easily into a travel agency’s workflow and operates in the background. The technology provides automated loading, tracking, and monitoring of ticket status, both pre and post-travel up to the time of expiration. Cornerstone’s technology enables the loading of specialty ticket types such as MCOs and non-BSP/ARC transactions. Additionally, the solution provides a single view of ticket status across multiple GDS sources and enables broadcast reporting to clients.

“TicketTRAK helps our travel management customers ensure that their clients get the most value from every dollar they spend on airline tickets,” said Kyle Moser, Vice President of Product Strategy and Development at Cornerstone Information Systems. “And, by leveraging their existing workflows and automation, we help them deliver this value without additional work. We had to make sure that our technology fit right into our customers’ existing processes.”

Even more critical for travel companies, Cornerstone sends point of sale alerts to agents to identify travelers with potential unused ticket savings opportunities. Cornerstone layers in robust business intelligence visualizations through the TravelOptix® platform for reporting and analytics.  These are integrated with existing reservation log, queue, and detailed views. TicketTRAK also automates reporting for distribution to internal teams and customers.

To learn more about TicketTRAK, please click here.

To learn more about Cornerstone Information Systems or to set up an interview with Cornerstone experts, please contact Lauren Wolters (lwolters@ciswired.com) or visit www.ciswired.com.