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

Where We’re Investing in 2017

As we finished 2016, we took time to look across our solutions and take stock of where we stood. Our goal is to make strong investments in our core platforms, adding new capabilities to enable you to make better business decisions, and listening to feedback from you, our customers and our partners.

2016: A Year Of Change

Last year was a year of swapping out and upgrading the old with the new at Cornerstone. We focused on making architectural changes to our iBank® software platform – changing the entire report production and distribution code base.  These efforts will allow you to create the reports and analyses that you need faster and with more flexibility. Requests that used to require engineering development can now be managed through configuration.

We also ensured our existing redundant and robust systems are ready for future growth. We increased the capacity of our server cluster and moved to all-flash memory solution. Our investment into the all-flash memory technology provides the foundation for next-generation business applications as well as bolstering support of real-time analytics. This new structure gives us eight times the input/output per second that we had previously as well as sub-millisecond latency.

We also released our TravelOptix™ software platform in 2016, as well as our new AutoPay™ product. TravelOptix provides you the flexibility to load data from virtually any data source, including spreadsheets, databases, operational systems, ERP, and web sources. Additionally, TravelOptix gives you the control to cleanse, transform, and unify multiple disparate data sources without requiring external tools. TravelOptix allows you to tell your own story on a responsive platform. The self-service data visualization enables you to answer your own questions on the fly, from any device, with data governance for your back office and reservation data built in.

AutoPay enables you to request virtual cards from within your desktop workflow, automates the generation of the virtual card numbers with the financial institution, provides that information back into the booking and passes enriched data to your back-office systems for 100% reconciliation. We partnered with two leading payment aggregators this year – eNett and Conferma. This ensures we can provide you full range of capabilities and options that best fit your individual needs.

2017: Where We Are Going

We remain committed to our mission in 2017. This year we plan to enhance our unique domain knowledge around travel data – from how travel is operationalized to how information is managed.

We remain committed to helping our customers manage their process and information, to drive better decision making. Our focus continues to be on travel data, from the management of the reservation to the creation and presentation of information.

As we enter 2017, we want to build on the progress we made in 2016 with three main areas of investment.

1) Investing in system infrastructure

We will focus on enhancing and upgrading our access to our partners, especially our GDS partners. This includes updating some of our APIs and web service calls, as well as capturing reservation data in new ways. Much of this work happens in the background – you will see the benefits in faster access to data, quicker processing times, and greater continuity of data.

We know that process times and system reliability are critically important for your business. We maintained our 99.99% uptime in 2016, and our goal is to continue provide that exceptional level of performance.

2) Expanding data capture capabilities

One of the most valuable capabilities of our TravelOptix platform is its ability to load and analyze data from any source. A critical area of focus for us in 2017 is to expand the data connections we have.

This includes building new partnerships to add data sources, and building custom links for our customers. We are evaluating the best methods of bringing data into our unified environment, so that you can view everything from reservation data to expense and human resources data in one place. This also benefits our Policy Compliance Manager™ product as well as AutoPay.

Expanding our data capture capabilities ensures that we can continue to uncover insights for your business, helping you make data-driven decisions.

3) Launching 4site™ platform

One of the areas we are most excited about is the market release of 4site. You may have seen glimpses of this Innovation Team project over the last year and a half. We have iterated our 4site platform a few times and the result is a data-driven platform designed to manage travelers before and during travel, anticipating disruptions before they happen.

We are developing 4site to use predictive intelligence to calculate the most likely scenario at any given moment, allowing the traveler, corporate travel manager, and travel management company to respond in real time.

We think that 4site will be one of the most exciting set of capabilities we bring to market in 2017.

 

Questions? Feel free to contact your Cornerstone account manager or email ask@ciswired.com.