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Today, the only way to survive as a business is to evolve digitally. While the airline industry is supported by sophisticated digital technologies, these technologies, and the data generated by them, need to be brought together to uncover insights and take action.

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If you want to operate in a digital world, you must become a digital company. Most aspects of human society now incorporate digital in some way or another, so businesses that haven’t yet made the digital transformation already risk falling behind.

While becoming a digital company requires new strategies built around new types of innovation and creativity, new processes to support these new strategies, and a keen focus on the digital customer and the overall customer experience, business must work to make these changes happen in order to keep up with their competition and meet the demands of today’s customers.

What Is Digital Transformation?

One of the initial barriers preventing airlines, or any organization, from undertaking a digital transformation is agreement among leadership as to what digital is and what it means to their specific business.

Digital transformation is the realignment of, or new investment in, technology, business models, and processes to drive new value for customers and employees and more effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy. Digital transformation is a course of profound and radical change that points a company in a new direction and takes it to an entirely different level of effectiveness. In most cases, it will comprise a new strategy inclusive of new business and operating models enabled by progressive technology.

The Airline Problem…and Solution

To date, airlines have an array of technology necessary to run their businesses, such as passenger services, e-commerce, pricing, revenue-management, aircraft-movement, operations-management and airport-management systems. These much-needed technologies have sustained the airline industry for decades.

However, we live in a digital age, and airlines need to be able to bring together disparate data sets from these technologies so they can identify events across their entire organization in real-time and quickly respond to market needs, customer demand, and irregular operations. Specifically, the airline enterprise must become connected in order to uncover intelligent insights and take relevant action.

Because many of these core systems don’t currently have the intelligence and/or ability to communicate with each other, an airline can’t access the right information at the right time and in the right places to achieve maximum profitability or provide an exceptional customer experience.

It’s this customer experience and revenue optimization that is now required, and will separate the thought-leading and market leaders carriers from the insolvent—there’s no place for the middle ground in the digital age. It’s the data-powered software platforms that will drive this digital transformation and create the market separation between competitors.

Regardless of where an airline is in its digital maturity, employing this type of technology helps carriers continue to achieve digital transformation by:

● Using more real-time, accurate data across the entire organization
● Applying more sophisticated rules, automated workflows, and data integration and orchestration
● Quickly innovating and turning customer data into increased revenue and decreased costs while delivering a truly personalized customer experience

In short, compiling the right data from the customer journey (inclusive of passenger service systems, customer relationship management, loyalty, operations and other systems), deriving insight and taking action is the key to becoming a digital native organization. More specifically, airlines need to deliver insights to frontline employees to engage with customers or downline software applications and decision-makers to take action at scale with the insights to make the right decisions.

As Emirates President, Tim Clark, echoes, “Digital disruption, whether it be in the airline business or any other business, is staring us in the face—ignore it at your own peril.”

Sabre Corporation is the leading technology provider to the global travel industry. Sabre’s software, data, mobile and distribution solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotel properties to manage critical operations, including passenger and guest reservations, revenue management, flight, network and crew management. Click here to learn more about how to leverage data analytics technology to remain competitive and, ultimately, achieve digital transformation.

This content was created collaboratively by Sabre Airline Solutions and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

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