Part II Examination of Data
In part 1 of Love Your Data, we examined the lifecycle of data from creation to collation. The catalyst for generating new data in the travel industry is the traveler. Data created by the traveler’s journey begins with thinking about a trip. From the moment a trip is conceptualized, numerous information sources are poised to be ignited that eventually filter down into pieces of data. All of this data needs to be collated in a meaningful way.
The traveler, along with travel buyers, sellers and technology partners, generates business intelligence through sources such as GDS, credit card data, expense management, online and mobile bookings. The problem companies face in examining this information is that data sources work autonomously and in many cases require manual collation.
Before analysis, data needs to be published by retrieving information from those various sources in a user-friendly format. TravelOptix™ solves the data aggregation problem by incorporating travel statistics into a rich visualization that highlights actionable data that is leveraged by the TMC or a corporate travel manager. The graphical dashboard is responsive in design and can be viewed on any platform including mobile, web or tablet.
Reporting applications, while they might be an extension of the business intelligence tool, have their requirements. These tools must have the ability to be scheduled and run automatically on a regular basis. They should be easy to distribute to both users and non-users. So how is this all pulled together?
To make meaningful data, technology must integrate data flowing in, data that is stored, and have the ability to publish the data customized in a beneficial way for the end user.
Cornerstone’s overall goal for the next generation data analysis is to establish a process of capturing data from any source in any format. Collected data is gathered via API integration along with export files and other sources. Feeds include data consisting of purchase information, content data, and contextual data. Purchase data is specific to the acquisition of travel, such as an invoice, ticket and credit card transactions. Content data is data that supplements the transaction, such as seat map information, restaurant and event data. Contextual data is lookup data or master data that describes information about the trip, such as a list of airports or hotel properties. Information is cleaned up at this stage to fix “bad” data at the time of transformation.
Two main types of data are stored, facts and master data. Fact data relates to both purchase and content data as previously mentioned. Data arrives via various sources such as Cornerstone’s ICCX, iBank, other expense management tools, rail providers, HR systems, CRM platforms or credit card systems.
The second type of data is master data. Master data is a lookup type of data that enhances the trip to give it a unified translation for the various sources. Master data includes information like airlines, airports, rail carriers, hotel properties, mileage and benchmarking data.
In a next generation system, publishing refers to the way data is retrieved from the system and presented to a user or collaborating system. It is where any external API’s would be used giving TMC’s and their clients a way to retrieve information in their programs and mobile applications.
TravelOptix™ is a platform that is flexible and easy to configure so that clients can determine what information is necessary and sort and filter the data on based on how the end user wants to view the data. Business intelligence becomes dependent on analysts ability to create a view that provides actionable data while maintaining the needs of the clients.
Until now, the capability to slice and dice this information in an accessible and understandable way has been out of reach. Cornerstone’s launch of TravelOptix™ solves that problem.
Imagine taking one metric like airline ticket travel cost and be able to view that data by such categories as a class of service, regions, and city pairs or advance purchases. In addition, TravelOptix™ will bring in any external data and incorporate it into the existing information.
Now the data starts to take shape, especially when it is sliced and diced to paint a more accurate and complete picture of a company performance.
The lifecycle of data from creation to collation, to examination is a complex process involving an intricate combination of partnerships and technology. Originating with the traveler, data is created throughout every step of the travel journey. Travel managers and TMCs play a significant role in collating and analyzing the data in a meaningful way. Proper technology is needed to make sense of the tremendous amount of information gathered from hundreds of trips taken in an organization.
Throughout the process, business intelligence plays a central role in guiding and evaluating a company’s overall strategy, yet today is still a fragmented process. Cornerstone is passionate about solving this and is continually innovating next generation solutions for business intelligence, helping all parties involved to “Love their data”!