To buy or build? That’s the question when considering new technology solutions; both routes have their benefits. If you build, it’s yours, so upgrades and developments could be faster. If you buy, you’re likely purchasing because it is something that isn’t your core competency, and someone else can do it better.
With this in mind, the findings in a recent report from T2RL are interesting. It shows Accelya holds 20% of the market for NDC APIs based on total passengers boarded. As someone who has been working with NDC since its inception, it makes me proud to know that we have come so far.
You may be wondering, who comes next? Interestingly, it’s not another technology company – it’s in-house development which captures 12% of the market. It’s easy to see why. In-house development gives you a greater sense of control. But there are some downsides, especially with a technology standard that is constantly changing – such as NDC.
It can be a challenge for an airline to maintain the NDC product pipeline and support the capability from a technical perspective. For example, there’s partner onboarding, customer support and agent workflows to address. It’s not just operational spending but takes significant staffing. The overhead can be several million dollars per year.
NDC is a strategic choice. Airlines sometime struggle to justify the internal developments needed to move to IATA NDC 21.3 and beyond – a major but essential change that involves lots of rework. It can be difficult for the CFO to understand the value outside of the cost. Essentially, the industry will leave behind airlines that don’t invest. Choosing a respected technology vendor can save money. The vendor manages the upgrade process for many airlines, and that avoids the individual investment by each carrier.
Build or buy? You know where I stand. Even though everyone’s journey is unique, you are not alone. If you want to mull over the options, let’s have a conversation.