Talend has given us the ability to reach into markets we couldn't target before. We didn't have the right tools to handle data collection and consolidation in an appropriate time frame with the resources we had available. We would have needed an entire department and a huge budget to do what Talend Data Integration lets us do with just a handful of people. Talend is the reason that we're in business today.Rock Blanco, President
A revolutionary approach to corporate travel
In 2005, Prime Numbers Technology, among the world's largest global benchmarking tracking services, developed a new corporate customer relationship management (CRM) system called Common Knowledge\Profiler designed to track, manage, and synchronize client data. Two of the key benefits of the Common Knowledge\Profiler are its bidirectional synchronization capabilities, designed to keep profiles in Global Distribution Systems (GDS) for travel and in-house agency databases in sync, and its ability to handle unique travel-industry requirements.
Overall, the system tracks all trip data, customer activity, and customer profiles to help agents make better decisions and make them more quickly. Because the system works on all GDSs and on all platforms/browsers, it can capture, export, and rebuild data from any platform to any platform. The richness and complexity of the data capture available in the CRM system was created especially for the corporate travel market.
The company's flagship product, Travel GPA, is a complete travel program management and analysis service comprising Goal Metrics and a Report Card that provide in-depth analysis of a company's overall travel program performance based on policy compliance and performance against other companies in the Travel GPA database. Travel GPA is the first product to provide real-time, in-depth dashboard and benchmarking analysis on corporate travel spending.
Changing travel methodology
In today's fiercely competitive travel industry, margins are tighter than ever and unforeseen events unfold at a phenomenal rate. The Travel GPA Report Card becomes the basis for establishing travel policies and programs that can improve a company's bottom line. Using feeds from some of the largest and most respected travel management companies in the U.S. and Canada, the data is live and can be scored against internal goals, or benchmarked against the Travel GPA database comprising more than 17,000 companies and totaling more than $4 billion in annual travel spending.
"Given the current state of the economy, we're actually getting more traction that we did a year ago," says Rock Blanco, President of Prime Numbers Technology. "In a climate where sales and marketing are critical, corporations are reluctantly cutting travel budgets. We can prove to them that it's not necessary."
To do this, Travel GPA benchmarks a company's major analytics (airfare, car rental, hotel, etc.) based on an overall grade detailing individual components and generates a report card equivalent to an individual's own credit bureau report.
"Our benchmarks leverage real-time travel data and history from tens of thousands of companies across the globe," explains Rock Blanco. "Getting reliable and high-performance access to numerous sources of data is the life blood of our systems. Over the years, we had custom-coded some 15 different data collection mechanisms, which were becoming too complex to maintain. We needed to identify a more robust way of developing and operating our data integration processes."
At the same time, Prime Number Technologies was moving its reporting platform to an enterprise-grade reporting system, MicroStrategy, They were looking for a data integration platform that would be equally robust and powerful.
Travel GPA runs on Talend
Prime Number Technologies evaluated Talend's open source data integration solutions based on recommendations from peers in the travel industry. "I have to say that the open source model makes it really easy to try out the product," says Rock Blanco. "We downloaded Talend Open Studio for Data Integration from the Web, got the user documentation and went through a couple of online tutorials. In 2 hours, we were up and running and developing our first data integration jobs."
After a few weeks of prototyping, Prime Number Technologies decided to invest in a subscription license of Talend Data Integration - Talend's enterprise-grade data integration platform. Talend Data Integration extends Talend Open Studio for Data Integration with value-added features for job deployment, scheduling and monitoring, a multi-user development repository, technical support with guaranteed Service Level Agreements, and IP indemnification. "The fact that Talend Open Studio for Data Integration and Talend Data Integration share the same development environment made it completely seamless to move from one to the other, and we were able to deploy immediately all the prototyping work we had done with the free product," adds Rock Blanco.
Talend Data Integration is now central to Travel GPA, automatically consolidating data from multiple feeds. "We're handling billions of transactions," says Rock Blanco, "and we interface with a huge number of diverse sources and a variety of data. We might be dealing with 45 different currencies and perhaps 18 different languages or we might need to merge an HR feed to a particular system. Before Talend, and using the tools that were available at the time, it took us 3 to 4 years to build the 15+ different interfaces we needed. We replicated all those interfaces on Talend in three months. That's more than a 90% increase in productivity!"
Speed and the ability to reuse code weren't the only criteria. "Our database is growing exponentially because every second someone, somewhere in the world, is sending data to Travel GPA, and Talend Data Integration keeps it constantly updated," adds Rock Blanco. "I needed reassurance that the data integration jobs would scale to that level, so Talend put me in touch with several of their customers - very large companies that manage billions of transactions. Their feedback was really impressive, and they also confirmed the professionalism of Talend's support teams."
"In terms of data mining, Talend pulled the travel industry out of the Middle Ages," says Rock Blanco. "I'd never worked with a tool like Talend, but the ramp up time was really fast. It's easy to learn and to use and we were quickly able to leverage the efficiencies that are so inherent in the platform."
"Our business is data," adds Rock Blanco. "With Talend we've got a fast, reliable, dashboard that gives companies a consolidated view of their performance in real-time. Using Talend's connectors I can take extracts from any source. We developed a host of new data extracts from the leading providers of content in the travel industry and continue to add new interfaces on a regular basis. Now we can bring on a new extract within no more than two days and - on average - one day."
"Talend has given us the ability to reach into markets we couldn't target before," continues Rock Blanco. "We didn't have the right tools to handle data collection and consolidation in an appropriate time frame with the resources we had available. We would have needed an entire department and a huge budget to do what Talend Data Integration lets us do with just a handful of people. Talend is the reason that we're in business today."
"We're helping those who administer and manage travel perform better tomorrow by providing better data today," concludes Rock Blanco. "Bad data leads to bad decisions. Thanks to Talend Data Integration we can get timely and reliable access to the right data, and provide accurate analysis to our customers - who use this information to optimize their travel budgets."