Cornerstone Wins Federal Data Account As Concur Sunsets TravelTrax

By | May 16, 2017

Concur is phasing out the TravelTrax data solution and its biggest user, the U.S. federal government, is switching to Cornerstone Information Systems.

A Concur representative confirmed the company would be sunsetting TravelTrax by next year. “We are committed to the travel analytics space and will continue to invest and innovate in this area,” according to the spokesperson. “We are working with our customers to ensure they have the best technology to meet their needs.”

Concur offers the basic Analysis product as well as a premium Intelligence option.

TravelTrax is based on technology built by Hi-Mark Software, acquired by TRX in 2006. Concur bought TRX in 2013. (It subsequently retired the separate TRX mid-office product.)

Concur declined to comment on the migration from TravelTrax by the U.S. General Services Administration, which conducts procurement on behalf of federal agencies. GSA had contracted for TravelTrax since before Concur bought TRX. It selected the system again in January 2015 after a full solicitation process for data needs covering what it described as roughly $14 billion in annual travel spending. If all options were exercised, that contract would have run until 2020.

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Then GSA on Feb. 23, 2017 awarded a 33-month data contract to Cornerstone as part of a “blanket purchase agreement” related to its travel agency services framework.

BPAs are leaner purchasing mechanisms that allow GSA to “eliminate such contracting and open market costs as the search for sources, the need to prepare solicitations and the requirement to synopsize the acquisition.”

What changed? A GSA spokesperson did not offer answers by press time.

The BPA award documentation indicates there was a “full and open competition” that resulted in two bids. The contract appears to be focused mainly on GSA’s airline City Pair Program. The earlier full solicitation had numerous additional components related to hotel data and emissions tracking, among other areas.

According to Cornerstone Information Systems CEO Mat Orrego, following a “comprehensive bid process” federal agencies will use the company’s iBank and next-generation TravelOptix products for data acquisition, consolidation and normalization services.

The platforms will provide “an extensive data warehouse and data lake for GSA to access all their data in real-time,” Orrego wrote in emailed statements. “TravelOptix is designed to create a single analytical and visualization lens for data from multiple sources – from booking and reservation data to expense and risk management information.”

Implementation is underway. Cornerstone aims to have the government running on TravelOptix by July, according to Orrego.

Additional info: Two independent organizations in 2015 recommended improvements in government travel data.

The Governmentwide Travel Advisory Committee, comprised of public and private sector professionals, in March 2015 recommended that federal agencies “should compile and maintain enterprise-level travel data.” The committee said this would support business decisions and improve purchasing leverage. GSA replied that it would “lead a formal working group” to create “a long-term strategy map for government-wide travel data … for travel policy, procurement, and programs, all driving toward more efficient travel by federal employees.”

A few months later, the Government Accountability Office issued a report criticizing the inability of the six federal agencies that spent the most on travel to quantify savings from their cost-reduction efforts. These six departments (Agriculture, Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, State and Veterans Affairs) accounted for about 84 percent of the total governmentwide travel budget in fiscal year 2015, GAO wrote. “Without standardized reporting practices, the federal government lacks common metrics for identifying, comparing and evaluating travel spending across federal agencies,” GAO noted.

The reports neither mentioned nor specifically blamed the government’s travel management vendors for the deficiencies.

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Author: Jay Campbell

Jay Campbell in 2004 created travel business newsletter The Beat, in 2006 co-founded Travel Procurement magazine and in 2010 integrated them into Northstar Travel Media's BTN Group. He served as editorial director until 2013. Jay made his travel industry media debut in 1993 at the Air Travel Journal of Boston while earning his undergraduate degree in journalism at Boston University. More on LinkedIn.