Our previous Air Transformation Lab article, “The road to retailing excellence,” explored ONE Order and order management and briefly touched on how its implementation will affect the future of the airline business. Andrew Webster, Accelya’s newly appointed Director of Product Management for ONE Order, picks up the story in this article. In his first Air Transformation Lab post, Andrew shares his wealth of experience and knowledge from his many years at one of the world’s largest airline groups. Welcome to the team, Andrew!
A little like NDC, ONE Order adoption will be a slow-burning transformation, but it will be well worth the journey, as ONE Order will dramatically simplify the whole industry. Removing existing accountable documents in favor of a more straightforward and more logical Order structure will drive out complexity, reduce costs, and help airlines build the real creative customer opportunities that come with retailing.
I predict that it will take between three to five years for the on ONE Order to be completed, and then we will see more significant changes happening in five to ten years as the industry rallies around IATA’s Future Interline model. However, airlines should start getting ready for ONE Order now. Specifically, they will need to weigh up the costs of doing nothing and evaluate the risk of being left behind. Recognizing the need to change and the benefits of moving away from legacy systems and processes is essential to delivering value. In addition, there will come a time when partners will no longer do business with an airline if they don’t follow the new retailer/supplier paradigm based on offers and orders.
The challenge ahead lies in the transition, i.e., how to finally move away from the legacy constraints of PNR, eTicket/EMD, RBDs, and fares and rules. After all, ONE Order transformation affects all customer touchpoints and a significant set of impacted systems such as Revenue Management and Revenue Accounting.
It’s not a case of trying to make an airline’s existing system perform orders. You need a dedicated Order Management System. The successful transition management will help airlines drive benefits along the way rather than settling for second-best resulting in re-badged versions of legacy artifacts.
A clear, structured path that unlocks value every step of the way is essential to success. The commitment and investment involved in this shift are significant. But the most important thing is to start and adopt an agile approach that adopts and adapts to learnings along the way.
Admittedly, this journey requires resources, and many smaller carriers must play the wait-and-see game, so they can learn from airline frontrunners such as IAG, Lufthansa Group, and Finnair that are leading the way.
Offer and Orders
An outcome of the NDC initiative, offer transformation has achieved much in the last few years, but progress has always been constrained by the need to record purchases in PNRs and eTicket/EMDs. These documents have made it incredibly challenging for airlines to innovate their product offerings. Even where enterprising airline execs have been able to, it resulted in even more complexity, particularly around the servicing and delivery of those products.
ONE Order is the puzzle piece that will enable airlines to control all offers and orders. From an NDC perspective, it will support the much-anticipated drive for differentiated content to speed up NDC adoption. It will allow airlines to introduce innovative retail products that could never be handled in a legacy environment.
ONE Order is the final enabler that will unlock the promise of offer transformation that the industry hasn’t been able to realize so far. Sure, there are benefits to transforming offers on an individual basis, but the benefits will be much more when both are completed.
Airlines will be in complete control of their own offers and orders, along with the ability to innovate in the products they offer to customers and ensure that those can be easily sold, serviced, and delivered.
- From an NDC perspective, it will support the much-anticipated drive for differentiated content to speed up NDC adoption.
- Allow airlines to introduce innovative ancillary products that could never be handled in a legacy environment.
- Enable airlines to engage in full dynamic offer personalization and optimization.
- Facilitate retailing of third-party / non-air products from partner airlines and other suppliers.
With full control comes the added advantage of testing new products to determine their viability within the market. These days, the time to market a new product could be anything from one year to eighteen months. In a fully operational Offer and Order world, an airline’s time to market for new products could be reduced to weeks, days, or even hours. Once airlines get this right, they can get into a test-and-learn methodology to see if a product will sell without even having to build the delivery elements. If the test works well, then the airline can go ahead with the new product. If the test doesn’t perform as expected, then the airline can refund the bookings and move on.
There is a drive to finally achieve the goal of genuine omnichannel offerings with the ability to handle a customer consistently through all touchpoints and maintain state and context across those interactions. Customers should be able to continue their shopping journey regardless of their choice of channel, whether that be via a contact center, airline.com, mobile app, and so forth.
There is also a need to enable future intelligence in how products and bundles are priced, ensure that a deep understanding of the customer can be used in all processes, and facilitate the customers’ ability to self-serve in all situations.
The simplification that ONE Order will bring will be far from simple, but airlines don’t have to tackle all the aspects of this retailing transformation at the same time. Even the most complex tasks can be broken down into smaller, more manageable steps.
Andrew is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of innovation, having joined Accelya from IAG, where he was part of Hangar 51, IAG’s Digital Transformation and Innovation team. In Hangar 51, his focus was on Commercial Systems Transformation – helping IAG airlines and the industry to move away from the constraints of legacy artifacts and processes and embrace the new world of Shop-Order-Settle. With a strong track record delivering technology-driven change in the airline domain, Andrew was responsible for Customer and Commercial architecture across all IAG operating companies and, before that, had a long career focused purely on British Airways (BA) that started in 1998, working on the airline’s in-house Revenue Management System and eventually expanded to responsibility for the architecture and design of all BA’s commercial systems.
Andrew and his team will be responsible for driving the vision, strategy, and requirements to bring ONE Order to life.