Platform Updates for Q3 2017

Now that we’ve finished the third quarter, we wanted to share some exciting platform updates that we released this quarter and provide some insight into upcoming releases.

Many of you are familiar with our different products, but what you may not realize is that our products are specific combinations of features and functions built on three technology platforms designed to integrate seamlessly with each other. These features and functions focus on data acquisition services, data normalization, data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics.

If you would like to learn more about the enhancements or platforms highlighted below, please contact your Account Manager or Customer Support.

iBank® Platform

The iBank team continued their hard work to update and release iBank reports in the updated code base. We have now rolled out 37% of total reports – while improving report quality and server efficiency. The reports released represent our most commonly accessed reports as well as some of our most complex. We are continuing to release the most complex reports in our next few release cycles. It has now been 10 months since we released the new iBank infrastructure, and we have found that we are not only able to fix defects in a shorter time (90% less time) but also that we can respond to custom requests faster than ever.

Our focus in iBank remains on the monthly financial reports and travel data reports that operations teams and team managers depend on for the daily management of business operations at a TMC or corporation. 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.

We built a deeper integration with our TravelOptix® Platform, enabling the back-office data to be accessed through the new TravelOptix Spend Analysis App™. Learn more about that App in the TravelOptix update.

We also continued to make additional progress on our investment Project Basin. Our first phase of development is focused on creating a new data cleanser – an entirely new approach to data cleansing. Our focused team of platform experts and engineers has been crafting use cases and developing data requirements as we look towards the release of the new capabilities later this year.

iQCX® Platform

This quarter we developed updates for iQCX Ticketing around services fees and EMDs, and our teams are focused on testing the capabilities with a select group of customers. These new capabilities enable the automatic ticketing for bookings that include additional services fees and EMDs. We continue to work closely with our GDS partners, especially Amadeus, as we consume their new Web Services.

After deploying the new Composer version to all of our ResRule writers at the end of Q2, we continued to release enhancements throughout Q3. 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.

We added Sample PNR search to the PNR search functionality. We also 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.

Overall, we released 42 enhancements to the iQCX platform this quarter. For more information on these enhancements, please contact Customer Support.

TravelOptix Platform

The TravelOptix team has been busy delivering Apps to our customers. The available Apps are Spend Analysis App™, Seatchecker App™, and TicketTRAK App™. The Spend Analysis App is the cornerstone App available on the TravelOptix platform, and leverages back office data from iBank. The 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.

In Q3, the team has developed a new standard App for TravelOptix. The TravelOptix Reservation Analysis App™ is the sister App to the Spend Analysis App. It provides similar insight and understanding, but leverages reservation data instead. This allows customers to get an entirely different set of insights on their pre-trip data and compare it in real-time to their back-office data. This App will launch in Q4, but we are interested in making it available to any clients who want to be early adopters.

We also started work on a new App in support of our Schedule Change Manager™ product. The TravelOptix Schedule Change Manager App™ will provide insight and analysis on schedule change data from Schedule Change Manager. To learn more about Schedule Change Manager, contact your Account Manager.

As the TravelOptix platform grew in Q3, the engineering team spent more time building custom Apps for customer’s unique business needs. Our professional services team and platforms experts have delivered more than 25 custom Apps and implementations in Q3. 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.

We also worked to refine our App deployment process that your Apps and any updates to them can be updated as efficiently and seamlessly as possible.

4site® Platform

The 4site Platform released enhancements to its notification systems and traveler mapping capabilities. Individual users can now select the types of notifications they would like to receive based on the customers and travelers they support.

We built this customization option because we understand that some agents may want to focus on areas in distress, as we just experienced with Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, and the earthquake in Mexico. But we also recognize that some agents are dealing with a select group of VIP travelers and working to ensure every step along the way is completely seamless.

In addition to the custom notifications, we’ve 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.

The 4site team is focused delivering the platform to new customers. We are adding more than 15,000 bookings to 4site every month, and alerting clients and their travelers on a quarter million flight disruptions events every month.

 

Platform Updates for Q2 2017

Now that we have finished the second quarter, we wanted to share some exciting platform updates that we released this quarter and provide some insight into upcoming releases.

Many of you are familiar with our different products, but what you may not realize is that our products are specific combinations of features and functions built on four technology platforms designed to integrate seamlessly with each other. These features and functions focus on data acquisition services, data normalization, data warehousing, reporting, business intelligence, and analytics.

iBank® Platform

The iBank team continues to migrate and rollout existing iBank reports in the new .NET code base. We have rolled out 15% of total reports to the new servers, and plan to finish the remaining 85% in Q3 and Q4. The 15% of released reports represent more than 50% of the total reporting volume – we made sure to update the most used reports first. As a reminder, the new iBank infrastructure allows us to deliver new capabilities to you, faster and with more flexibility.

We are already seeing the results of this work with our Air Activity, Rail Activity, Arrivals, Departures, and Upcoming Plans reports.  In Q2, as a direct result of the investment in our updated code base, we were able to fix defects in 90% less time.

We also wanted to provide a bit more information regarding an upcoming project we shared in our Q1 update. In April, we kicked off a major project, codename: Project Basin. We call it Project Basin because it covers everything but the kitchen sink.

Project Basin is a massive investment we are making to enhance our iBank Data Services. Our current data acquisition capability in iBank is focused on GDS reservation data and Back Office Invoicing data.  We leverage our TravelOptix® for additional types of data acquisition, specifically from booking providers like Farelogix and expense data.

The work we are doing with Project Basin will enable us to provide you with a single point of data acquisition for all your data, in any form, from just about any source. With Project Basin as the single point of data acquisition, your data is consolidated, cleansed, and normalized into a single set that can be consumed by any of our services or any other specialized third-party that you may work with. We expect to work on the Project Basin capabilities throughout Q3, and plan to begin to release functionality to the market, most specifically related to data cleansing, towards the end of Q3 and Q4.

iQCX® Platform

We continued to work closely with our GDS partners throughout the second quarter. We migrated almost all our customers to the new Web Services standard for Amadeus.

After gathering requirements in Q1, 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 in Q2, and are now testing the new capabilities, which include the issuance of EMDs. We are planning a market-wide release of the new capabilities in Q3.

We completed the deployment of the new Composer version (version 4.1) to all our ResRule writers. This update improves security, stability, and performance.

We released 56 enhancements to the iQCX platform this quarter. To learn more, contact your Cornerstone account manager.

TravelOptix® Platform

In the second quarter, the TravelOptix team focused on building a set of standard Apps on the TravelOptix platform. 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.

The standard Apps that have been completed are Spend Analysis App™, Farechecker App™, and TicketTRAK App™. Contact your account manager or Christine Dohmen to learn more about these Apps.

In addition to the standard Apps, we can now offer Custom Apps. These can either be built off a standard App, with modifications to data sources or data fields, or a brand-new App. With Custom Apps, our professional services team can design and build the right App, or set of Apps, for your unique business needs. In doing this, we can help you create a more strategic outlook for your travel program.

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.

4site® Platform

The second quarter saw our 4site platform push the boundaries with our first wave of early adopters. We are currently managing almost 100k unique bookings per month on behalf of 7 travel management companies. These bookings represent 30,000 travelers. In addition, we are managing more than 5,000 segments every day.

Our enhancements in Q2 focused on the platform’s notification capabilities and dashboard rendering. We worked to make sure data loaded more efficiently and maps rendered faster. If you are interested in learning more about 4site, please contact your account manager or email ask@ciswired.com for a demo.

 

Platform Updates Q1 2017

We wanted to highlight some of the exciting things we’ve done for you so far this year.

iQCX® Platform

In the first quarter, we primarily focused on continued enhancements to support data services for your GDS partners. We upgraded our systems to meet the new Web Services standards for Amadeus, and continue to work with individual customers to migrate them to these new Web Services. Once migrated, you will experience faster and more reliable data processing with your Amadeus transactions. We also 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 released a new version of our ResRules™ Composer, which provides ResRules writers with more flexibility and efficiency when creating new business rules. Our support team is working with customers to upgrade them to this new version in the second quarter. For more information, visit the Cornerstone Community Site.

We released 28 enhancements to our iQCX platform. These range from a new Composer user interface for our iQCX ticketing module to additional logging details. The details for these enhancements can be found on the Cornerstone Community Site.

 

iBank® Platform

The iBank platform had a very exciting first quarter. We continued to release additional elements of the new .NET code base.  The updated iBank infrastructure allows us to deliver new capabilities to you, faster and with more flexibility. You are already seeing the results of this work with our Air Activity, Rail Activity, Arrivals, Departures and Upcoming Plans reports.

Our Q1 releases enable iBank to gather data more quickly and efficiently, ensuring you have the data you need when you need it. You can also share your 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 also added some additional options for broadcast reporting. We know that you have your own unique needs for broadcast, and we wanted to make sure you could receive the reports in the frequency you needed.  We added a bi-weekly option (every two weeks) and a bi-monthly option (every two months) for both back office and reservation schedules.  You also now have the ability to receive a notification in case delivery of a broadcast report fails to a recipient so that you can respond quickly. A common reason for broadcast emails to fail is an issue with the recipient’s email. This new notification 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.

In the second quarter, we will kick off a project that will increase your ability to load data from new and different sources. This project will upgrade iBank’s current Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) capabilities and broaden data extraction and warehousing capabilities, making it easier to bring in your data such as expense data, credit card data, and other reservations. We look forward to launching this new capability later in the year.

TravelOptix® Platform

In the first quarter, the TravelOptix team completed a technology stack upgrade. This upgrade improved platform performance, with faster loading of data and faster recalculations when filtering. This means that you can work 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 updated our TicketTRAK® application. This includes greater visibility into the tracking and history of unused segments.

 

4site® Platform

Since we premiered the re-architected 4site platform at Phocuswright in November, we have spent the last few months bringing on our first set of early adopter customers. With their feedback, we have further enhanced our TMC Dashboard and are extending the 4site experience to the desktop as an app, allowing agents and company admins to manage disruptions without leaving their workspace. If you are interested in learning more about 4site, contact Phil Tau for a demo.

Travel Payments: Why Virtual, Why Now?

The latest trend is going virtual, whether it’s working virtual, virtual reality or virtual payments; doing things virtual is the way to go. It should be of no surprise that travel payments are going virtual too. Soon the days of carrying around physical plastic cards will be a thing of the past. This article summarizes the benefits of using virtual payments.

Benefits

  1. Unique Card Numbers – Each card is generated on demand and has a unique 16 digit number
  2. Reduce Physical Cards – Only issue physical cards to frequent travelers; issuing corporate cards and their fees are expensive, especially if travelers only travel once or twice a year.
  3. Reduce Fraud – Since no plastic card is issued, it is harder for someone to steal or lose their card
  4. Increased Security – Unique 16 digit card numbers can be set for single use or multiple use before becoming invalid
  5. Increase Policy Compliance – Virtual cards can be set to only issue when travel adhering to company policy is booked
  6. Set Transaction Specific Parameters – Individual parameters like budget limit, carrier set, hotel chain, currency type, number of use, valid date range, etc can be set for each individual card
  7. Enhanced Data Quality – Additional data from the booking is passed into payment generation and back after payment occurs, ensuring detailed information like airline ticket number, cost center, user ID, project number, etc are accounted for in every transaction in both travel and financial systems
  8. Globally Accepted – Virtual cards transact through the same infrastructure and platforms that current credit cards work
  9. Real Time Processing – Virtual cards act like normal cards and are transacted immediately and settled daily
  10. Rebates Enabled – Like normal cards, earn rebates based on transactional volume
  11. Lower Fees – Because virtual cards are more secure than other types of payments, the fees to use them are also lower, saving you money on every transaction
  12. Transact In Global Currencies – Virtual cards can be funded, issued and settled in any currency that credit cards can
  13. Reduce The Cost Of Business –Reduce manual labor in your Accounts Payable department and eliminate costly fees for payment like wire costs for international payments
  14. Supplier Default Protection – Virtual cards are back by card networks like MasterCard, Visa, Amex and Discover who provide money guarantee protections
  15. Reduced Currency Fluctuations Exposure – Currency fluctuations can often be avoided by locking in rates at time of booking
  16. Manage Cash Flow Better – Reducing fraud, currency fluctuations and fees allows more precise budgeting and smarter use of your money