Are you still trusting your gut rather than making data-driven decisions? Even in our tech-savvy world, that’s a common conflict. But Christopherson is resolving data doubt for corporate travel managers through our integration with Domo, the leading business intelligence and data visualization software. With our Domo integration, you can see the story your data tells through real-time analytics and act on data insights that benefit your travel program today.
Assessing the Data Conflict
Data is one of your business’s most valuable assets (85% of us believe this), but surveys show that U.S. businesses don’t trust 32% of their data because it’s “dirty.” And this figure is rising. Dirty data—outdated, inconsistent, inaccurate, or inconsistent data—results from many factors.
What contributes to “data grunge?” Many things:
- Merging data from multiple sources
- Human error in data entry and interpretation
- Disparate data processing methods
- Lag time between data generation and reporting activities
- Sharing data from different departments or “data silos” across the workplace
Even simple differences, such as showing dates in different formats (YYYY-MM-DD in accounting but DD-MM-YY in HR) may muddy your data and cost you money. In fact, IBM estimated that dirty data costs the U.S. economy over $3 trillion annually.
Data may also cause inefficiencies just because there’s so much of it. Most companies are engaged in nonstop data accumulation, leaving decision makers drowning in the very figures that should provide management insights. Disparate data sources compound the problem. If managers can’t align data from HR with data from accounting, they can’t see the story their data tells.
As a result, data-related careers are booming. However, many who work with data lack the training to understand or interpret it well enough to use it as a basis for arguments and decisions, making data literacy a problem for many businesses.
And if you can’t visualize or understand your data or you doubt its accuracy, you can’t implement data-driven decision making.
Providing a Domo-integrated Data Solution
This data conflict left Christopherson with a real conundrum. We wanted to provide clients with real-time, aggregated, accessible travel program data in a visual format that turned data users into data experts.
“We were looking for speed to data. A good BI tool allows you to build charts and infographics quickly, with speed to creation much quicker than with Excel spreadsheets.”
Josh Cameron, head of strategic initiatives, Christopherson Business Travel
With an established approach of reviewing technical enhancements through the lens of “buy or build,” we looked for an existing business intelligence (BI) solution that would benefit customers and integrate with our proprietary AirPortal travel management platform.
The BI solution, we knew, had to connect to accounting, finance, marketing, and travel systems, and use real-time data analytics for the visualization and report building that would enable data-driven decision making.
A BI solution would also resolve the aging data issue businesses faced when reviewing static reports broadcast on monthly or weekly basis by providing real-time analytics and empowering data-driven decision making. Real-time analytics eliminate the worry that data will change in the middle of collecting statistics or obtaining a report and provide current, actionable data for data-based decision making.
“With instant reporting I can see what was spent yesterday. I don’t need to wait until my credit card statement or any other report to come out at the end of the month.”
Gordon C., Travel Manager, CHG Healthcare
Data access was also key. If businesses have hands-on, self-service reporting capabilities, it eliminates the lag time between client questions and account manager responses. Instead of reviewing travel programs monthly and annually, with data and travel spend monopolizing the conversation, the relationship between account and travel managers could be more consultative, more about increasing efficiency, setting goals, and aligning policy, and less about reviewing numbers.
Delivering Real-Time Data Analytics
Domo delivered what we were searching for: real-time data analytics in a dashboard that gives clients and internal employees better insights into travel budget spending.
“It’s great for travel managers and account managers. Since everything is already populated there’s no of running reports. We used to run 20–25 reports for account reviews, processing them by hand. Now these same reports can be downloaded into a presentation and we can focus on addressing client questions.”
Adelina Littler, Account Support Manager, Christopherson Business Travel
In addition to essentially quadrupling the data available to businesses at a glance, our Domo partnership provides clients with an all-encompassing BI tool that gathers, aligns, and connects those data while making real-time data analytics visible, beautiful, and easy to use. Visible data, in turn, fosters data-driven decision making.
“In today’s world, you have to bring technology to the front and provide meaningful tools to move business forward. Without it, travel managers will fall behind.” We find clients often avoid analyzing their travel data altogether, never seeing the insights that their program and travelers really need. That was our motivation behind developing a solution that makes travel data easier to understand. “Being able to visualize the story their data tells allows them to take informed action that ultimately helps them run a more cost-effective travel program.”
Mike Cameron, CEO, Christopherson Business Travel
“I am using the data to track the volume of travel per each contract we have, track and assess the impacts of ticket changes related to advance ticketing—which allows me to evaluate our recommendation for advance booking—and track volume of travel per individual.”
Stephanie P., Director of Administration/Facilities/Security, Sigmatech
Converting Travel Data into Travel Insights
Domo’s data cards, which are visual aggregations of data, provide high-level travel program views and the ability to drill down data to a granular level.
With this data visibility, businesses can easily identify and rectify data anomalies. An actual hotel error that resulted in a $59 million nightly charge was easy to pinpoint and correct because it produced a giant spike in a three-year data period.
Domo data summaries also reveal that modifying travel patterns can result in savings. By looking at advanced purchases and ticket exchanges, a travel manager determined that their employees were purchasing nonrefundable tickets too far in advance, resulting in a pattern of rescheduling travel, rebooking travel, and ticket loss. Waiting until travel schedules solidified resulted in cost savings for this client.
Conversely, another travel manager looked at cost percentages for flight bookings and acted on the data by identifying booking procrastinators and altering their pattern of last-minute airfare bookings. Booking further in advance brought this company better rates.
Speaking of travel costs, would you be surprised to discover that your most expensive traveler isn’t your most frequent traveler? By drilling to the granular level of the “top travelers” data card (clicking on a pie chart, clicking on a slice of pie, and clicking on an individual traveler), you can identify your costliest traveler and determine what inflates their expenses.
Maybe it’s an increase in international airfare rates, but perhaps Ryan is booking business-class flights and renting SUVs out of policy. Or Angela has 97 separate bookings for only 30 trips because she’s booking in stages—airfare, then hotel, then rental car—and you’re paying a fee for each booking.
Data visualization and drilling insights empower your conversations with travelers and inform your travel policy. You’ll realize savings when Ryan scales back to policy-approved comfort economy flights and smaller vehicles or your policy is amended to require that Angela book airfare, hotel, and rental car in a single transaction.
“Domo makes it extremely easy to identify problem areas—how many exchanges, and who violates the most often.”
Gordon C., Travel Manager, CHG Healthcare
In addition to providing actionable data, Domo can automate event-triggered notifications. Say you want to keep your travel spend in line with passing calendar time. Domo can provide a “gas gauge” of travel spend, notifying you that you’re over budget year-to-date.
“By continually visualizing their travel spend, travel managers have a lighter load. Instead of downloading and analyzing spreadsheets, they have a good, instant snapshot of how they’re doing on travel spend, which lets managers focus on other things but gets them the same information.”
Taylor Daily, Business Intelligence Analyst
Informing Data-driven Decision Making
Like the travel manager and traveler relationship, Domo’s data visibility changes the dynamic between upper management and travel managers. Since decision makers can access, visualize, and share real-time data, it’s easier to reach a consensus for action.
This evolution was demonstrated by a travel manager who, using visible data in Domo along with Concur Travel and Expense, showed potential savings if her company moved to an online booking tool. Not only could management see more was currently being spent for full-service bookings, they could also see travel spend was leaking outside of negotiated contracts and the Christopherson umbrella. Adding this rogue travel spend to contractual agreements improved the client’s negotiating power to justify lower rates because they used real-time data analytics to inform their decision. That’s data-driven decision making.
Negotiating power can also be drawn from viewing and acting on travel vendor data. Looking at hotel bookings by state and then by chain may reveal that you need to request/require travelers to book with your preferred vendors or you need to negotiate a contract with a vendor in a new area. One client discovered savings by requesting that travelers book a hotel in a different zip code—right across the street from the property where they were staying.
“We can easily see how much we are spending in each category (air, car, hotel) and/or with each vendor. For example, if we need to increase spending with a certain vendor to reach a threshold we can easily see where we are. Also, we can compare costs and see any potential problems. For example, in a specific city we can compare our hotel spend and identify properties that are more expensive and exceed our caps.”
Gordon C., Travel Manager, CHG Healthcare
Christopherson uses Domo not only to assess how your travel program is running but also as an internal resource for our own data challenge—assessing constant feedback on our travel management services.
“Domo is one of the most important things we done in last few years, because analyzing travel spend is core to managing a successful overall travel program.”
Matt Cameron, COO, Christopherson Business Travel