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Making the most of ONE Order: Think finance!

Getting the finance team involved early in the process could be the key to unlocking the high-performance retailing potential of ONE Order, writes Muffi Lokhandwala, Business Development for Financial Solutions at Accelya.

Technological changes typically bring opportunities for airlines. That covers both expanded commercial potential and the simplicity of systems and processes. Maximizing those opportunities though requires that every team that will be impacted by the change is involved from the start. Bringing the finance team out from “behind the scenes” in the planning and integration phase could be critical in a transformational change such as the implementation of ONE Order.

As the latest step in a journey from paper tickets to a single order, ONE Order will bring a customer-focused digital record that strips out inefficiencies and improves communication between order management, revenue accounting, and delivery providers. For finance, the rewards can be lower costs and a reduction in reconciliation activity.

Early input from all key teams is critical

Although often regarded as “back office”, finance has a critical role to play in compliance, risk, and reporting. Best practice demands that finance has a 360-view of what’s going on in the organization so that surprises can be avoided. Ensuring this is delivered in a change as fundamental as new messaging and standards for Order transformation, and subsequent settlement and accounting is therefore essential.

Too often, however, the input of teams that will implement and integrate new standards is introduced too late. Early cooperation can help to avoid bottlenecks and difficulties further down the line.

There’s a lot to think about as airlines consider the implementation of ONE Order to drive transformation. And in the journey to high-performance retailing, it’s critical to think as carefully about what happens on the back end in accounting and control systems as the front end. This is particularly urgent if airlines are to achieve IATA’s goal of being in control of 100% of Offers & Orders by 2030.

Where finance can make it count

Some of the key steps finance teams could consider are as follows:

  • Sharing their insights into developing the ONE Order vision.
  • Ensuring their inputs are considered by commercial teams in the ONE Order build/buy process.
  • Getting involved in technology planning, rollout, and roadmap development.
  • Input in planning the transition approach as we move from the legacy of RBDs, Fares & Rules, PNRs, eTickets & EMDs to Dynamic Offers and customer-centric Orders.
  • Designing an optimized accounting process.
  • Meeting auditing and legal compliance.

With ONE Order, the airline’s finance team still exists in a complex environment. Their world is characterized by issues such as the integration of financial and sales data, operating with multiple payment providers, and working in markets with very different regulatory regimes.

It also has the same responsibilities, including fast, accurate reporting and seamless settlement; to prepare accounting systems capable of delivering new and innovative products, and it should be ready to accept new services, such as those offered by third-party vendors, in the future.

Simplification is hard work but comes with rewards

The truth is that simplification requires a lot of hard work! Accelya has worked with the industry’s early adopters in both NDC and ONE Order and has helped to develop roll-out strategies. And while every airline has its unique journey, one universal learning is that there are huge benefits for those that take account of the need of all internal stakeholders right from the get-go.

Thank you for your interest in Air Transformation Lab. This chapter on retailing transformation includes podcasts, thought-leadership blogs, and customer testimonials that will inspire your journey ahead.

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