The oneworld airline alliance, that counts BA, American Airlines and Qatar Airways as members has rolled out new internal technology built for it by IT partner DataArt.
The system allows seamless access to several shared systems used within the alliance with secure log-ins for employees. DataArt says the collaboration was a case study in how firms should not be afraid to outsource technology development to a trusted partner.
Charlotte Lamp Davies, DataArt’s vice president travel and hospitality Europe, said: “There’s no shame in bringing in another company as long as it has a skill set that complements what you have in-house.
“You can outsource, but keep the core in-home. We can work on the core with you, and we will bring an additional skill set.”
The oneworld partnership came about after the alliance approached DataArt about challenges it was having with its internal system.Each system had its own logins so airline employees needed to track multiple logins.
The solution allows airline operatives to log in to these applications directly from their respective intranets. “It was important there was a seamless access to relevant information between partners. We facilitated a single, unified sign-in that gave access to all partners within the group.
“We were well placed to do this because we have worked in the finance sector for 18 years so we are used to dealing with data security and risk.”
At last week’s Phocuswright Europe conference in Dublin, DataArt was promoting its work with a number of travel clients including Skyscanner, website performance Triometric, and Miki Travel.
Skyscanner used DataArt to simplify the process for partners of installing its white label flight search functionality on their sites so that non-technical people can implement and configure it.
Lamp Davies said this is an ongoing consultancy relationship. “What works is they have a very sophisticated team in house and our guys are challenged. It’s a very open relationship.
“They really do not like it if our developers are not questioning things enough. This allows our developers to come up with some fantastic ideas.”
Triometric employed DataArt to work on non-core systems to aid automation that it did not have the resources to address. Lamp Davies said DataArt’s work with global wholesaler Miki Travel allowed it to understand the pain points of how to make a legacy system integrate with multiple APIs.
“We have integrated with over 30 travel systems and that gives us insight into the pain of having a legacy system. “We have learned how to integrate with so many travel APIs, we’ve done over 250 in total. Miki needed to upgrade because new suppliers are built on up to date tech.”
DataArt now has 1,800 employees spread across ten development centres including those in Argentina, Russia, Ukraine and Poland, and operates in Europe, North and South America.
It is looking for more centres in Eastern Europe saying it “literally can’t employ fast enough” at the moment.
Lamp Davies said many travel firms find they are not able to scale up and down their technology teams in-house to meet changing developer requirements.
“It might be that some projects come in that require certain skill sets for a certain amount of time. You have to take on contractors and they are many time more expensive.”
Travel is DataArt’s second biggest vertical, the biggest, by some distance, being finance where it has honed an expertise, including in building huge data warehouses for clients.
Over the last six years travel has grown quickly, said Lamp Davies, who hopes strong communication and a commitment to partnership will ensure that trend continues.
“If you don’t take the time initially to invest in your relationships with your clients, having conversations and being aligned with their expectations you will have a problem.
“People are probably a bit more realistic today about what can be achieved. It boils down to string communications and we want to retain that going forward.”