First Published on 3rd January, 2019
Ai Editorial: The planned offer and order management systems, and the concept of ONE Order holds a lot of promise, writes Ai's Ritesh Gupta
Airlines, collectively as an industry, over the years haven’t really excelled in the arena of servicing during the actual consumption of the product.
Be it for the day-of-travel-experience or even at the time of disruption, there is a scope for improvement.
Though not many full-service carriers have shown swiftness in this context, a handful of them have embraced agile transformation to enrich the passenger experience. And with IATA’s initiative ONE Order program, based around the concept of a single order record, one can only expect the journey of travellers to get better.
ONE Order - an integral part of data-driven enterprise
Not just airlines, but organizations from other sectors, too, are unable to serve their customers owing to inconsistent, fragmented, duplicated, and siloed data landscape in the typical enterprise. But there are certain challenges that are associated with each industry. Airlines are no different, when we think of legacy methodologies.
Even if airlines look at integrating data and strengthen their infrastructure via customer data platforms, they have to reassess industry-specific solutions. As several pieces of a puzzle have to be sorted to ensure passengers are identified at the time when it is needed, it is vital for airlines to look at airline-specific systems and processes to completely provide an answer to siloed data scenario. For example, if data is being ingested from only a fraction of sources, especially the 1st party ones, it wouldn't serve the passenger in all scenarios. That's where the planned offer and order management systems, and the concept of ONE Order holds a lot of promise.
Considering the significance of NDC and ONE Order, the industry is gradually coming to grips with massive changes. An industry-wide as well as a collaborative effort is being made to ascertain what needs to be done to provide a more robust offer and order structure. The industry today stands at a crucial juncture as far as embracing airline retailing is concerned. Every step in the process is expected to bring in a change. For instance, NDC will continue to create e-tickets. But once a switch is made to ONE Order there will be no tickets.
One Order combines the PNR data information with the E-ticket and the EMD information into one single record.
As envisioned by IATA, One Order will result in the gradual disappearance of multiple reservation records as well as e-ticket/ EMD concepts to be replaced by a single reference travel document. A new standardized and expandable reference will become the single access point for customer orders by third parties (interline partners, distribution channels, ground handling agents and airport staff, among others).
In the One Order environment, all information is contained in a single order.
"ONE Order would have information about the passenger's journey. And order would be created based on the passenger information that the airline has. When you go into modifying the order, the process would require a new offer. And that offer is always created considering passenger details and personalization," shared Ryan Harris, Director at JR Technologies’ Research and Development Centre in Dublin.
As for how this also simplifies servicing the passenger, imagine meeting a request for changing a seat after a boarding pass has been issued. Today DCS (departure control system) is a separate system. Advanced seat reservation happens in reservation, not in DCS. Information goes from reservation to DCS. Today's environment is complex, as it is not a real-time transaction. But with ONE Order and integrated, connected set up, a system like DCS would be having order information in real-time and updating it. "Everything resides in real-time in that order. In the NDC world, it is one source of data - it doesn't need to be siloed or to be transferred from system to another. So there is one copy of data in today's scenario and if it isn't shared with another, then it remains siloed. Tomorrow with ONE Order, there won't be any single copy or lag time," shared Harris.
The significance of historical data that an airline has about an individual and using it to dynamically bundle and unbundle services and products to create a offer has been discussed widely. As data is received by systems in real-time, and with processing capabilities, analytics and application of algorithms, airlines can set out for coming up with a relevant offer or meeting a passenger's needs on the day of travel, too.
Referring to the screen/ interface that is used by the staff at the airport or in-flight attendants, Harris said, "The key here is automation. The agent shouldn't be making a decision. Decisions should be made for them (predictive analytics or pattern recognition). The IT and operational set up (via Offer and Order Management), airlines would have the capability to use big data/ analytics in real-time. Also, the interface can be customized as per the request of the airline."
How would it work?
Airlines aren't starting from the scratch. Just as in case of offers, there would be NDC and non-NDC content, there has to be a way for converting PNR into orders. So one can expect a platform, running in parallel to an airline’s PSS. It would feature complete PSS booking connectivity and document processing capability, converting PNR into orders. This way a master record would be stored. Changes or answering queries in real-time, including on the day of travel, would become a possibility with this central source of truth.
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