Cornerstone Information Systems grows, hires to tame travel tech’s next frontier

 

Indiana University, Luddy Hall, Location: Bloomington IN, Architect: Pelli Clarke Pelli

Earlier this month, Mat Orrego, CEO, sat down the team at TechPoint to talk about Cornerstone’s growth plans. Mat discussed the plans to add 40 new hires by 2021, the new company headquarters, and a focus more on building more automated services. Read the article here.

TechPoint is the growth accelerator for Indiana’s tech ecosystem. Indiana currently boasts a $7 billion in tech company acquisitions and IPOs, the most affordable housing market in the country, and a high production of software jobs.

Getting Ready for GBTA Convention

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

We are hard at work getting ready for GBTA Convention in San Diego, August 11-15, 2018.

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 as the Volunteer Leadership Sponsor. We are committed to supporting the volunteer leaders because our own team gives their time, energy, and effort to GBTA chapters and committees.

Bobbi Huber, Board Member, Ohio Valley BTA

Lauren Wolters, Co-Leader, GBTA Ladders

This year we will sponsor a Volunteer Lounge for all of the hard working GBTA volunteers. The lounge provides a quiet place for volunteers to catch-up on work, grab a bite to eat, or take a moment to rest. We know the hours are long at GBTA Convention, but the days fly by.

We are also working hard on the two sessions we’re participating in.

Lauren Wolters and Christine Dohmen are leading a session titled “Overcoming the Challenges with Data Aggregation.” This session will explore the challenges of data aggregation, discuss how users get trapped in the fog of data, and why it’s important for every company to create their data philosophy. The session is on Monday, August 13 at 9:30am. Click here to add it to your Convention planner.

On Tuesday, Mat Orrego is participating on a panel on “Data Analytics & Trends.” This session brings together a panel of industry experts and thought leaders to discuss the latest trends in data and the role of analytics in corporate travel and procurement practices. This highly interactive session will allow plenty of time for audience questions and discuss the results of a pre-event survey conducted by Advito. The session is Tuesday, August 14 at 9:45am. Click here to add it to your Convention planner.

Don’t miss Cornerstone booth at the Expo! We’re located at Booth 841. Be sure to set up an appointment so that you have with our team to talk about your unique business and our expertise in Data Services, Workflow Automation, and Reporting & Analytics. Just add us to your Convention Planner and pick a time that works for your schedule.

Wondering who will be at GBTA Convention from Cornerstone?

Here’s the team heading to San Diego:

Mat Orrego, Chief Executive Office and Founder

Shaun McDermott, CFO

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

Christine Dohmen, Platform Manager, Reporting & Analytics

Michael Doyle, Director, Busienss Development

Pat Hochstein, Director, Business Development and Global Account Management

Bobbi Huber, Global Account Manager

Michael Kell, Director, Business Development

Lauren Wolters, Director, Marketing

Interested in setting up a meeting with our team? Use the My Convention Planner app to schedule an appointment or contact our team directly.

See you in San Diego!

Stop by and say hello!

We will be attending a number of events in the next few months. We would love for you to stop by and say hello.

Interested in setting up a time to connect? Feel free to email us at ask@ciswired.com to schedule an appointment or email any of the attendees directly.

We look forward to seeing you soon! 

 

Sabre STX

April 9-12, 2018

Dallas, TX

Mat Orrego, CEO

Email Mat

Lauren Wolters, Director, Marketing

Email Lauren

Mark Abdoo, Director, Product

Email Mark

Jacob Wheeler, Director, Engineering

Email Jacob

 

BCD Travel Affiliates Spring Meeting

April 9-11, 2018

Cancun, Mexico

Michael Kell, Director, Business Development

Email Michael

 

GBTA Ladders Summit

May 14-16, 2018

Miami, FL

Lauren Wolters, Director, Marketing

Email Lauren

 

Phocuswright Europe Conference

May 15-17, 2018

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Mat Orrego, CEO

Email Mat

 

Travel Leaders National Meeting

June 12-16, 2018

Las Vegas, NV

Staci Harris, Global Account Manager

Email Staci

 

GBTA Convention

August 11-15, 2018

San Diego, CA

We’re getting ready for GBTA Convention! Email Lauren Wolters to connect with the Cornerstone team.

Get The Most From Our Products

Education is an essential component of our platform’s offerings. Our technology continues to evolve, with new functionality and capabilities released regularly. To that end, we have expanded our team to evolve our services to serve our customers better.

One of our primary goals is to provide constructive, initial and ongoing education and training for our software solutions. While most of our clients work with our team as part of their delivery and implementation process, they might not be aware of the opportunities for continuing education and training. Currently we offer more than 15 classes for our clients.

 

In-Person Training

Our onsite training covers the most commonly requested training for our solutions. The training goes across iQCX®, iBank®, and TravelOptix®. We recognize that not only do our clients hire new staff that needs training but with recent consolidation, there is larger scale training needs as well.

We also find it critical that current and long-time users refresh their training. With our regular updates and enhancements to the solutions, many users find that there are better and more productive ways to get what they need from the software. We also introduce new features – many of which that have been requested through the years by clients. Without proper training, most users do not take advantage of these features leaving their companies without the newest and best tools to manage their business.

Much of our training has historically focused on the end user since they are the ones who truly work with every button and screen in the software. However, we have worked to expand the audience for training.

Many of the new capabilities, especially in the TravelOptix platform, have advanced configuration options and functionality. In the case of TravelOptix, this means that the business team, who might be involved during the initial setup and then turn over operations to an operations center or technology team, need to be engaged again. Discussions regarding new data feed(s) available, new report types, and broadcast capabilities need to engage this distinct audience.

In addition to the classes available, we also offer custom education for you. Our trainers will work with your account manager to develop a training curriculum based on your unique blend of solutions and specific company needs. These services enable us to provide the class – or series of classes – best suited for your team.

We find that onsite training allows for not only more attendees but also for different mixes of attendees, ensuring that the business, operations, and technology teams are working together with the solutions to achieve their company objectives.

 

Online Training

We recognize that in-person training may not be an option for all our clients, and we are expanding our online training sessions with more than 10 classes available. These classes, all under two hours, are designed for one person who needs to brush up on their skills or learn a new part of the tools. It is great for those who need a refresher or wants to know how to best leverage a new capability.

Online training is available on your schedule. We recognize that it is not possible for everyone to visit our team in Bloomington, Indiana or host our team at your office. Online training lets you and your organization access the education you need when you need it.

To learn more about our Education Services Department and schedule your training, please contact your Account Manager or Jim Ehinger.

Blockchain – A Technological Paradox

block·chain

ˈbläkˌCHān/

noun

a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly.

 

Blockchain has emerged into more conversations last year and has become synonymous with Bitcoin in the mainstream media. Don’t believe us? Watch actor Michael Keaton get asked about bitcoin by the paparazzi as he left a restaurant in December.

We’re seeing conversations about blockchain pick up more speed in 2018. But outside of technology teams and gurus, what does it mean for the bigger picture?

Let’s start with answering a key question. What is blockchain?

Blockchain is not a new technology. Blockchain is a new way of leveraging existing technology. It’s taking a Lego playset and building something new with it. When we look at the speed at which our industry will adopt this new structure, we need to look back.

In 2000, almost twenty years ago, we had similar conversations cross our industry regarding APIs and web services. While blockchain is promising, it’s important to remember that changing core technological infrastructure takes time.

 

What makes blockchain so promising?

The paradox of blockchain is that it makes data more secure while making it more accessible. Usually people trade security for increased access. Think about everything Facebook quiz someone takes. People hand over a large amount of personal information to find out what type of cheese they are. They trade security for information they want. Blockchain flips this process.

With blockchain, data is decentralized and distributed across a structure. Data is secured in each block, and the blocks are connected. Blockchain allows for access to a single general ledger – think of the world’s largest Google sheet – available to all parties at all times. This single, shared general ledger is why blockchain has gained traction in cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin.

The shared, single ledger streamlines communications and workflows, driving greater efficiency and accuracy. In practical application, blockchain reduces errors and discrepancies because the source contract is singular and shared.

When we look closely at our industry, there is a clear analogous example with travel bookings. The general ledger becomes the master trip record, with all parties able to see and access the latest information regarding a booking or set of bookings. The unicorn of travel challenges.

The general ledger as a master trip record means access to more data. The entire concept of Big Data shifts. It’s not the act of storing all the data in single data lake and accessing the data that’s the challenge any more – the challenge is understand that the data analysis occurs in the lake as more data is fed into it.

With blockchain, we could access a single set of flight information. We’ve all experienced discrepancies between what the airline is saying about a flight, what the airport says, whatever travel app you might use, and even the agent at the gate. A single source for all flight information, used by all parties, would eliminate this problem. Completely. We would all see the same information. SITA Lab, the research arm of SITA, recently published a white paper on FlightChain, a blockchain process they’re testing to create “a single source of truth for flight data.”

 

Where’s the catch?

The challenge with blockchain is this – how do you control distributed systems when all regulations were created to function in a regulated system?

We have long worked together as an industry to protect data, followed protocols set forth by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council and the EU General Data Protection Regulation. These are protocols designed to keep information secure and protect individuals.

We think that there’s an exciting future with blockchain. It’s the first time that a technology can move our industry closer to the single, global traveler PNR.

There is an opportunity, and there needs to be an expectation, that IATA and SITA will work together on blockchain standards across travel from flight information to traveler details in order to create a future where data is both more accessible and more secure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Technology Europe | 2018

Heading to the Business Travel Show or Travel Technology Show? We would love to see you!

Stop by Stand No. TT72

Ready to do more with your data? Stop by our spot at Stand No. TT72 and learn from our experts. We have the most comprehensive data acquisition and aggregation capabilities in the market today, and we deliver improved productivity and derive transformative analytical insights.

We deliver the right information to decision makers when they need it and providing a consistent version of data for decision makers, so they can more effectively work together.  We transform business processes to maximize revenue with every transaction by reducing costs and improving productivity. Our leading workflow automation solution simplifies service management and reduces complexity by solving issues before they occur and providing necessary visibility into and control over resources.

We maintain a system of accurate and real-time travel information resources and transactional services to serve our customers. With more than 600 years’ experience, we support our technology with Advisory Services, from consulting to delivery and implementation. We are committed to Governance and Security, from our privately hosted environment to our Tier X data center.

Grab A Drink With Us

On Wednesday, February 21 join us for beers, wine, and canapés at The Hand & Flower.

Wednesday, February 21

18:00-20:00

No. One Hammersmith Road, London, W14 8XJ

 

Meet With Our Team

Want to make sure you get time with the Cornerstone team? Reach out to our team to make sure you connect at the TTE Show.

 

Hope to see you there!

Where We are Focused in 2018

As we embark on 2018, we wanted to share some of our areas of focus for the year. Much of our focus will be on continuing our commitments and investments from 2017, focusing enhancements on the outcomes our technology drives, and creating a more deeply integrated solution set.

 

Data Services

This year we are excited to bring new capabilities to you that transform Data Services. Data Services is a collection of services focused on data acquisition, data cleansing, data normalization, warehousing, extract, and export capabilities. We are developing a cutting edge way to more securely protect your data while making it more accessible to you. This year we plan to replace any remaining deployed technology with state-of-the-art privately hosted, on-demand technology.

This year we will launch new data cleanser technology that produces higher quality outcomes, faster. We are developing a visible, transparent process that you can interact with. You can manage your data cleansing in real-time – no more loading data in a black hole, and waiting for an output file. We believe this revolutionary approach will transform the way you interact with your data and we are thrilled to bring it to market this year.

 

Reporting and Analytics

We are also focused on new data modeling functionality. These capabilities will be designed to provide more support for our clients’ non-traditional travel data, such as shared ride services like Uber and alternate accommodations like Airbnb. We are investigating ways to access data feeds more efficiently and then create Apps within our reporting and data visualization platform to provide insight and analytics, merging with traditional travel data to provide a complete single data set.

 

Governance and Security

At Cornerstone, we have and will continue to take security and data protection very seriously. One of the keys focuses in 2018 will be ensuring we are compliant with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). You can read more about the GDPR here. TrustARC has completed a thorough review of our processes, procedures, and security protocols. We are working with them to ensure we are in full compliance with the GDPR by May 25, 2018.

Finally, we focused on our ongoing efforts to further integrate our solutions. We are investigating ways we can provide a more seamless and common user experience across all our technologies, while maintain the highest levels of security protocols.

 

We are excited about the work we’re focused on in 2018, and we hope you are too!

If you have any questions, please contact your Account Manager or Mark Abdoo, Director of Product (mabdoo@ciswired.com).

 

2017 | Year in Review

As we close another year, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the work we accomplished across our platforms.

This year we processed more than 256 million transactions for 65 million unique PNRs. These include checking the booking against corporate policy, monitoring seat requests, and waitlist checks. This work is what catches a missed connection from a schedule change. The workflow automation processes ensure that travel for our clients and their customers is as smooth and easy as possible.

We consolidated 90 million separate transactions into 36 million individual trips for clients. Without a single consolidated data set, it’s nearly impossible to manage travelers or understand the breadth of a travel program. Without consolidated data, you can’t monitor contracts or supplier agreements. With this data, we ran almost 5 million reports during 12,000 unique analytics sessions.

 

iBank® Platform

The iBank platform transformed in 2017. We updated 45 iBank reports with efficiency and data improvements, which represent the majority of reports created within iBank. Our updated iBank infrastructure enabled us to deliver new capabilities to you, faster and with more flexibility, throughout the year. Some of the biggest improvements were made in our Air Activity, Rail Activity, Arrivals, Departures, and Upcoming Plans reports. We were 90% more efficient in updating our reports in 2017.

We focused heavily on our ability to gather data more quickly and efficiently, ensuring we have the data you need when you need it. We have also made the way you share data easier. You no longer need to be in the same database to share data with another agency. You can now modify individual reports for sharing.

We enhanced broadcast reporting with additional options. We know that each one of our clients has their own unique needs for broadcast and we wanted to make sure you could receive the reports in the frequency you needed. We add a bi-weekly option (every two weeks) and a bi-monthly option (every two months) for both back office and reservation schedules. We also added the ability to receive a notification in case delivery of a broadcast report fails to a recipient. This ensures that you can make additional arrangements to get the report to that person – and no one is missing the critical information they need to do their job.

While we recognize the need for standard reporting that automatically broadcasts to employees remains critical for most of our client – and we have also seen a need for greater on demand analysis and data visualization. This year, we built a deeper integration with our TravelOptix® Platform, enabling the back-office data to be accessed through the TravelOptix Spend Analysis App™ and reservations data to be seen with the brand-new TravelOptix Reservations Analysis App™.

Finally, we spent much of the year working on a new set of capabilities that will launch early next year as Cornerstone Data Services™. These next-generation capabilities will not only upgrade but also revolutionize current data acquisition, data cleansing, and data normalization processes in the travel industry. In addition, this new functionality makes it easier to bring in additional business-critical data such as expense data, credit card data, and other reservations.

 

iQCX® Platform

Throughout the year, we focused on two major projects. First, we enhanced our support for our GDS partners. We upgraded our systems to meet the new Web Services standards for Amadeus, and migrated individual customers to these new services. We engaged with Amadeus, Apollo, and Galileo customers to gather additional technical information needed to support data parsing and data capture requirements for Ancillary Services and EMDs. we have released several data capture enhancements for Ancillary Services and EMDs for both Sabre and Amadeus. We completed the development of the new iQCX Ticketing Module for Amadeus Web Services, which includes the issuance of EMDs. We also developed updates for iQCX Ticketing around services fees and EMDs, and our teams have released to the new functionality to a select group of customers. These new capabilities enable the automatic ticketing for bookings that include additional services fees and EMDs.

Second, we released a new version of our ResRules Composer, which provides ResRules writers with more flexibility and efficiency when creating new business rules. The new ResRules Composer was released to all customers, and we continued to release enhancements throughout the rest of the year. Of particular importance, we updated the rules around Sample PNR timeouts for our ResRule writers who are working hard to create and update rules for their businesses. We are also seeing the improvements in security, stability, and performance that we expected.

Finally, we remained committed to enhancing our workflow automation solutions to meet your need. We released more than 100 enhancements to our iQCX platform. These improvements ranged from processing power improvements and logging details to better Sample PNR and PNR search functionality.

We added a new tab for “Ancillary Services,” enabling search queries around PNRs with ancillary services. We enhanced our air segment searches and added search capabilities around segment type for car and hotel.

 

TravelOptix® Platform

The TravelOptix team started 2017 with a technology stack upgrade that improved platform performance, with faster loading of data and faster recalculations when filtering. Clients are working more efficiently and see the data visualizations change in real time without loading delays. Charts are now “time-aware,” providing continuous scaling for date fields when drilling into additional emails. The upgrade also provides security enhancements. We also completed an underlying platform upgrade to continue to provide new features and faster processing. With this upgrade, we were able to double the hardware and resources available, driving more redundancy and greater capacity across the platform. We also separated our maintenance services so that we can ensure our real-time analytics engines maintain an extremely fast and consistent level of performance.

The TravelOptix platform exploded in Apps in 2017. We now have six Standard Apps – TicketTRAK App™, Farechecker App™, Seatchecker App™, Spend Analysis App™, Reservations Analysis App™ and Schedule Change Manager App – as well as  more than 40 custom Apps for individual clients.

Standard Apps are available with pre-defined analytics and filters – together these are called “Sheets.” Standard Apps are a great way to for customers who are new to TravelOptix to gain access to the platform and learn what the platform can do. For example, Spend Analysis App has been refined throughout Q3 and now offers more than 300 dimensions, 150 measures, and 75 visualizations across 19 sheets. Learn more here and watch the video.

Client-specific can either be built off a standard App, with modifications to data sources or data fields, or a brand-new App. Our professional services team designs and builds the right App, or set of Apps, for your unique business needs. With each engagement, we work with the customer to address their specific use cases, craft visualizations meant for their individualized needs, and provide training across the organization. In doing this, we can help you create a more strategic outlook for your travel program.

Finally, we refined our App deployment process so that your Apps and any updates to them can be updated as efficiently and seamlessly as possible.

 

4site® Platform

This past year marked the launch of our 4site platform in the marketplace. With the feedback we received from a select group of early adopters, we enhanced the 4site Corporate Dashboard, notification capabilities and dashboard renderings. We are currently processing a quarter million flight events every month for more than 15,000 travelers per month. We are managing more than 100K unique bookings per month and more 5,000 segments every day.

We also released enhancements to the notification systems, allowing users to set their preferences. Individual users can now select the types of notifications they would like to receive based on the customers and travelers they support.

We also enhanced our traveler mapping to group travelers by location, from continent down to the city level. Users can seamlessly zoom in and out, switch continents, and access traveler data from a single window. We built this customization option because we understand that some agents may want to focus on areas in distress. The need for this functionality was never greater than in 2017. We experienced Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Ophelia, the earthquake in Mexico, the fires in California, and the volcano in Bali.

While this functionality is critical in a time of distress, we recognize that some agents are dealing with a select group of VIP travelers and working to ensure their every step along the way is completely seamless. We ensured that our enhanced dashboard supported this VIP level of service and monitoring

Stop by and say hello!

We will be attending a number of events in the next few months. We would love for you to stop by and say hello.

Interested in setting up a time to connect? Feel free to email us at ask@ciswired.com to schedule an appointment or email any of the attendees directly.

We look forward to seeing you soon! 

 

Travel Technology Europe

February 21-22, 2018

London

Mat Orrego, CEO

Email Mat

Tom Lacny, EVP of Sales, Marketing, & Advisory Services

Email Tom

Kyle Moser, Director, Business Development

Email Kyle

James Dargan, Sales Engineer

Email James

Christine Dohmen, TravelOptix® Platform Manager

Email Christine

Mari Hendricks, Director, Strategic Partnerships

Email Mari 

 

Going to Travel Technology Europe or the Business Travel Show? We would love to see you. Click here to RSVP for Cocktails and Canapés.

 

Partnership Travel Consulting Conference

February 21-23, 2018

San Francisco

Michael Kell, Director, Business Development

Email Michael

 

National Defense Transportation Association Conference

March 3-5, 2018

Alexandria

Pat Hochstein, Director, Account Management and Business Development

Email Pat

Kyle Moser, Director, Business Development

Email Kyle

 

Chatbots in Travel & What They Mean

They aren’t new, but they are making a splash right now. Chatbots—or, when in Rome, travel bots—are messaging apps infused with artificial intelligence so that travelers can ask questions or book travel and get instantaneous solutions. They are not some sci-fi dream come true, as the frequent references to artificial intelligence would suggest. What they ARE is data. Travel bots are driven by all sorts of data, and what they can provide is really about how much and what kind of information is integrated into the system.

Our CEO Mat Orrego shares his thoughts on travel bots and insights from Marc Casto, CEO, Casto Travel. Read more.