Guest Post: Data is airline’s new oil, so why do we keep it in silos?

Guest Post: Data is airline’s new oil, so why do we keep it in silos?

Gavin Smith, CEO of element tech, talks to us about the limitations of traditional data processing and business intelligence, and the importance of unifying data analytics

The traditional approach to business intelligence is struggling to keep up with the demands of today's data-driven landscape. 

We’ve all been there. Populated our business with all the tools and apps we need to maximise the power of technology. Some airlines use more than thirty applications to run their operations. It can be a bit clunky and disjointed but somehow all the separate components seem to work together. That is until it comes to analysing the data. The problem is that this singular approach does not work with data, or more specifically when it comes to analysing data for the greater good of the business.

The data is all there of course. There are vast amounts of data swirling around and it’s good stuff. But the information that adds value and helps business critical decisions, sits in data silos. There’s no unity. 

Many airlines have multiple communication solutions such as voice, web chat Microsoft teams and social media. Communication solutions are complex and rich in data but it’s difficult to manage and understand, especially in isolation. Marketing has an impact on sales which impacts customer support and business finance and customer support and, well you get the picture. Who looks at the overall performance of the business? What’s needed is a 360-degree view of company analysis, where we bring in data from any source to provide a complete view across all streams. By consolidating the data across the board airlines would have the ultimate visibility of their communication functionality. Presenting key metrics via easy-to-understand reports.

The limitations of traditional data processing and analytics are clear, and an innovative approach is needed. One that can provide real-time, accessible analytics to all people in the company, regardless of technical expertise. This is where the concept of a unified data analytics platform comes in. Integrating data processing and analysis and providing a comprehensive view of data across the entire business. 

By unifying data analytics airlines would access and analyse data without the need for specialised training. It would drive innovation and transformation and help to identify new business opportunities, optimize operations, and improve the customer experience. 

Around 70% of CEOs today acknowledge their organization needs to become more data driven. Just under 90% of CXOs expect a more agile, integrated, and data-driven organization within the next five years. This according to a recent IDC Study. To achieve this, organisations would need to move beyond traditional business intelligence which requires an IT environment and heavy involvement from IT staff. By democratising this process and making data more consumable with easy analytics tools, information given directly to the business user. 

Unified data analytics would provide a more modern architecture and offer new capabilities such as the ability to use AI models, which are made available across every layer. This opens a wealth of opportunities and introduces key business drivers such as predictive analytics and ChatGPT. 

AI will be able to tell the user in easy-to-understand language not just which stats they should be looking at but the recommended course of action for the business and then craft it all into neat data story-telling presentations. 

Other industries such as technology and retail are already leveraging unified data analytics to update their data management processes. Reducing manual effort in data preparation by 50. By analysing data from various sources, including their mobile app, these businesses are identifying key trends and optimising their products and promotions. By leveraging machine learning capabilities, they are also able to predict failures and proactively address customer complaints. 

A recent ITM Buyers event brought up data and their challenges with the current silo approach. They are not happy with the accuracy and duplication that they get. They rely on specialised people to deliver the reports they need. And when stakeholders want data, they need to explain that it is not financial data most of the time. This should not be the case when a unified business analytics approach is used. SME data is taken out of its silos, cleaned, and transformed by a non-specialist and delivered into the business analytics tool. The days of relying on dedicated MI report sent once a month or requiring specialists to deliver ad hoc reports is not how a business consumes and uses the data it has.