Moving Up The Innovation Curve

The Real-Time Data Integration Platform That Drives Airline Innovation

Sabre Intelligence Exchange addresses one of the airline industry’s biggest challenges — how to gather, analyze and take action on disparate data from across an airline’s operations to enable innovative business processes and applications.

In a world of growing airline competition and ultra-thin margins, every penny matters. Every moment is an opportunity to strengthen a customers’ experience, sell an additional ancillary or streamline a complex process. The power to innovate lies in an airline’s data. The challenge is how to access it and create meaningful insights in real time while simultaneously advancing on the airline innovation curve.

On average, airlines spend 80 percent of their IT budget on data integration, and only 20 percent on true value creation. In the meantime, the demand for customer centricity is rapidly growing, and the ability to respond to customer needs is becoming the key driver for brand differentiation.

Competition is only getting stronger. How can airlines keep up in the rapidly moving marketplace and leverage new technology? Where are airline IT departments in terms of their ability to innovate?

Sabre Airline Solutions has invested heavily in innovation and the development of Sabre Intelligence Exchange, a real time data integration platform that addresses these challenges. The platform aggregates data from disparate legacy systems into one cleansed, enriched and normalized format, allowing airlines the flexibility to rapidly and cost effectively build processes and applications that drive innovation.

Data Integration Versus Innovation

The more time an airline spends on point-to-point data integration, the less time they have to spend on innovation, such as automating processes, building customer-centric applications and generating rich analytics. The Intelligence Exchange platform allows airline IT organizations to unlock the power of their data and march up the airline innovation curve.

How It Works

The Intelligence Exchange platform aggregates crucial data from across an airline’s enterprise, accessing legacy transactional systems such as booking, ticketing, inventory, customer, departure control, operations and more. The airline-centric data model and analyzers cleanse, enrich and normalize the data in real-time. An easy-to-use rules engine allows airlines to write simple “if-then” conditions to trigger actions. Then, the platform can either take actions back to transactional systems or provide insights to third-party applications such as airline.com, loyalty, catering, business intelligence applications and much more, through Web-services and application program interfaces (APIs).

The quantity of processes and use cases (a business process that solves a specific problem leveraging uniquely applied rules) an airline can develop are infinite. The rapidly expanding, global community of airline users — eight of the world’s top carriers such as Etihad Airways (see related article here) and airberlin — have developed hundreds of uses for the platform, ultimately leveraging Intelligence Exchange to address three main opportunities for innovation: customer centricity, incremental revenue generation and cost savings.

Powering Loyalty And Customer Centricity

Airlines are often criticized for lagging behind other retailers in customer centricity and loyalty. With Intelligence Exchange, airlines can close the gap by engaging with customers by offering personalized products and real-time differentiated services, including:

  • Journey management — The platform gives airlines the ability to keep track of their customer at different points in their journey and proactively offers services based on the location.
  • Experience analysis and notifications — By combining different data domains in real time, the platform can help an airline detect events that impact the customer and score them based on severity. As a result, airlines can monitor negative guest experiences and proactively contact guests. This also reduces impact on call center agents and provides a more high-touch customer experience.
  • Customer integrity — Intelligence Exchange can help ensure airlines’ customers receive the service they expect, or for which they have paid. Airlines can enable sense checking, such as within special service requests, for example, and detect if there are errors caused by booking agents. It can also verify consistency so customers receive the requested service on all flights — current and future.
Airlines Worldwide Use Game-Changing Data-Integration Platform

Etihad Airways and airberlin, along with six other leading airlines from around the world, have created hundreds of uses for the Sabre Intelligence Exchange platform, which will address the three primary opportunities for innovation — customer centricity, incremental revenue generation and cost savings.

Drive And Protect Revenue

Ancillary revenue in the airline industry accounted for US$49.9 billion in 2014 worldwide. To discover incremental revenue, airlines need access to data to produce differentiated offers to the right customer, at the right time. The Intelligence Exchange platform has driven up to 3 percent in incremental revenue while protecting existing revenue, leveraging use cases in several areas, including:

  • Push ancillaries and upgrades — The platform highlights passenger name records so agents can contact guests for upgrades and/or ancillaries based on preferences and/or purchasing history. This increases conversion sales while enhancing customer satisfaction.
  • Promotion and campaign tracking — A true game-changer, airlines can leverage the platform to track performance of marketing campaigns in real time, using booking and customer domains. The feedback can also be sent to revenue management departments to optimize promotions and campaigns.
  • Broken-segment detection — Intelligence Exchange addresses unique problems where no industry standard solution is available, such as detecting when an interline-married segment is broken. For instance, if a travel agent creatively circumvents an airline’s processes to find availability, Intelligence Exchange can detect such abuse and automatically cancel/queue such bookings.
Less Integration, More Innovation

Airlines can use the platform to rapidly retrieve data and minimize processing costs of using legacy/other passenger service systems. The data model is extensible and highly scalable, allowing an airline’s IT processes to remain consistent even as the data grows. To date, Intelligence Exchange has driven up to 2.5 percent cost savings for its airline users. Some of the many platform use cases include:

  • Operational cost reduction — Intelligence Exchange has been used to determine the true cost of delaying a flight, including onboard passenger values, maintenance schedules, ground staff impact and more. The insights provide airlines the power to make speedy decisions for their flight plan.
  • Irregular operations — The platform has been leveraged to source and action bookings for the passenger reaccommodation process, in real time.
  • Partner/codeshare communication — Intelligence Exchange has been employed to send movement information to partners in real time, for better coordination with codeshare and interline partnerships.
Connecting Data

Connecting data in real time is the secret to powering customer-centric use cases, incremental-revenue generation and cost-savings process automation.

The Airline Innovation Curve

What is the secret to powering customer-centric use cases, incremental-revenue generation and cost-savings process automation, all in real time? The answer is: connecting data. Many airlines recognize the power of data. The challenge has been the ability to harness this siloed and latent data, and then automate processes for real-time action.

There is a recurring theme of airlines spending more time on point-to-point data integration and less time implementing innovative ideas. On the innovation curve, there are some airlines that are industry thought leaders around leveraging data, while there are others whose data is left alone — sitting dormant in systems across departments or around the world.

The game-changing Intelligence Exchange platform solves an array of problems for airlines, including how to turn nearly every data set across the airline into invaluable, usable information. How can you leverage Intelligence Exchange to move your carrier up the airline innovation curve?

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