New technologies that have emerged during the past five to 10 years have created major opportunities for the airline industry to improve and update its infrastructure. Development language and analytics have come a long way, and computing power is faster and more affordable than ever before.

This digital transformation has helped airlines redefine their core competencies and focus on the interconnectivity of technology, people, and processes to deliver a superior customer experience. However, there’s still much room for improvement.

Today, it’s estimated that as many as 70 individual systems are required for airlines to operate daily. That not only means a lot of data, but a lot of opportunity for data to become out of sync and inaccurate. With industry standards such as the New Distribution Capability (NDC) becoming more widespread, airlines must create an integrated system where knowledge and data can easily be shared across the business.

Additionally, as artificial intelligence, mobile, augmented reality, virtual reality, and conversational commerce become the new norms, airlines will need strategic partners to provide customized solutions to meet a carrier’s unique strategies and create personalized experiences for their customers.

Improving Tech Infrastructure is Key

Traditionally, airlines used a monolithic approach to its technology infrastructure. However, this model was slow and time consuming, as IT would have to redo and deploy an entirely new system every time there was an update or new feature. The one-solution approach has caused problems with larger and more complex applications being built. As we look to technology giants such as Amazon, Netflix, Uber, and eBay, we see a common theme: investment in open, flexible, and intelligent IT infrastructures, powered by microservices.

Microservices are an API-driven layer of architecture with clearly defined infrastructure and platform capabilities shared by all products. API-driven architecture is easier to develop and maintain because of its bite-size nature, and the plug-and-play capabilities of microservices are flexible enough to meet current and future business needs.

Integrating microservices has the potential to bring multiple benefits to the airline sector, enabling speed to market and control over distribution across all channels, and improving monitoring, application resiliency, and infrastructure deployment that’s scalable, simplified, and streamlined.

One example of how airlines can use microservices to increase speed to market and flexibility is through airport merchandising. Passengers often spend several hours in an airport waiting on their flight, giving airlines ample opportunities to sell additional products and services to these customers. With the help of microservices, airlines can upsell, cross-sell, and acquire new customers through intelligent offers –– offers that take customer needs, wants, likes, dislikes, and habits into account. These intelligent offers are promoted and deployed to ensure the right person is receiving the right offer at the right time.

A customer-centric approach is required for airlines to remain competitive. This can only be accomplished with modern technology that empowers unique and innovative business strategies.

Sabre Airline Solutions offers the broadest portfolio of software and data solutions to help airlines drive revenue maximization and a differentiated brand experience. Learn more about the value of open technology and how Sabre is playing a major role in digital transformation for airlines.

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