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IATA-ThoughtWorks - Engaging in Change
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IATA-ThoughtWorks - Engaging in Change

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The air travel industry is on the brink of the biggest change in the way products are distributed since they first invented global ecommerce in the 1970s. At the heart of this change is IATA’s New …

The air travel industry is on the brink of the biggest change in the way products are distributed since they first invented global ecommerce in the 1970s. At the heart of this change is IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC). In this talk Yanik Hoyles, IATA Head of NDC, will tell us about NDC, why it’s such a big change and the challenges IATA has faced in defining and encouraging the adoption of this new standard. Brett Ansley will talk about TW’s role in supporting IATA’s ambitious mission, the intricacies of delivering a user experience that is used entirely for educational and promotional purposes and how this changed our approach to the project delivery. Birgitta will discuss the technology and agile practices that allowed us to move as quickly as we did to deliver a compelling experience for promoting NDC.

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  • Why do we need change? Why is NDC necessary? In order to answer this we must first look backward. In the ‘70s airline distribution through the travel agent channel was the cutting edge, it was the forefront of eCommerce, thousands of agents connected to hundreds of airlines and green screens did a great job of services travellers’ needs – there was great co-operation between airlines, IT partners and travel agents to make the whole industry work well.
  • But things have moved on and in the ‘90s airlines started promoting their own direct channels, they pushed information beyond just price and schedule including descriptions, clarity with images an rich content and the ability to rapidly change the offering and bring new products to the market. This speed to market is key and is enabled by using new internet technology. The gap between the old technology used in the indirect channel and the new direct channels is continuing to grow – despite the GDSs and other IT providers working hard to implement new feature in the indirect channel – the technology just does not facilitate rapid change.
  • NDC is a programme, a travel industry-wide programme to develop, test and deploy a new standard and to promote high levels of communication and information transfer between airlines and travel agents and there can be aggregators in between the two and NDC supports this, the GDSs of today are perfectly placed to be these market aggregators as could other IT providers.
    But NDC is not a database, it’s not a business model it’s not even mandatory – airlines and travel agents can choose to adopt as they see value and depending what their overall strategy is, NDC is channel agnostic and it is not a GDS or travel agent bypass.
    NDC is an opportunity for travel agents to have better access to the information and systems they need in order to better retail airline products. Access to rich content, a great speed to market of new product and a great experience for the shopper by providing the same experience in all channels and personalisation if you want it. Airline websites already have all of this but you can’t compare, NDC wants to bring all this to the travel agent to allow greater comparison and to close the gap between the capabilities on the airline’s websites and the travel agent channel.
  • Just a little bit on the technical side:
    Today a GDS constructs the offer taking fares the airlines have filed in ATPCO, the schedules the airlines have filed in AOG and availability from the airline. This is different from the airline website that pushes offers direct to the consumer or travel agent through what we call direct connect. These offers are constructed in one place and conveyed using modern technology that allows transmission of rich content and increases the speed to market which in turn facilitates greater innovation.
    This flexibility is not available in the old model of EDIFACT and TeleType – they still do a great job and we’ll continue to rely on the but they have their limitations.
  • NDC is a standard that all an airline to push out offers that is has constructed in the same way as it does on its website but to an aggregator (which could be a GDS or a new entrant) or to a travel agent. The aggregator is a great value add in this conversation because they know the right airlines to ask for any given request and they can compile offers allowing for comparison – bits of which already exist today and some of the GDSs are doing some of this today but having a standard makes it more cost effective and efficient, it enables a faster speed to market and airline’s rich products become available.
  • In summary NDC aims to provide airlines the chance to differentiate their product, it provides those in the indirect value chain access to full and rich air content and it delivers an enhanced shopping experience to consumers.
  • Start of Brett’s part
  • Brett: “…needed to figure out what it meant… arranged a 3 day workshop”
  • (Start Birgitta’s part) >> started building a new online travel agency … team processes … distribution of the team across two places
  • (Birgitta) … technologies, simple and efficient
    >> Don’t know if this really fits, but I feel like it represents that we had to STOP doing complex things and keep it simple.
    Also, it has some Hamburg colour, because it’s a ship’s machine, and “Achtung” is a German word lots of people know 
  • technologies: continuous feedback = continuous delivery
    I like this picture because it’s airline relevant – unfortunately it’s in portrait, so not sure if we can use it? (I got it from Google image search…)
  • Brett’s last part: “intense engagement with the industry … privileged to become a true partner with IATA…”
    (This is Brett talking at the World Passenger Symposium in Dublin)
  • Yanik’s last part about “how it affected people”
    (NDC booth at world passenger symposium in Dublin)
  • Transcript

    • 1. ENGAGING IN CHANGE 1
    • 2. WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR CHANGE? Agent channel closed for airline product merchandising 2 F J M
    • 3. WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR CHANGE? Agent channel closed for airline product merchandising 3 F J M LOUNGE ACCESS MEAL SPECIAL SERVICES BAGGAGE FJM FREQUENT FLYER MILES FAST-TRACK INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT ETC
    • 4. WHAT “IT” IS AND WHY ■  A 5 year travel industry-wide program (NDC Program) ■  Development, testing and deployment of a new, XML-based data transmission standard (NDC Standard) ■  Communication between airlines and travel agents The NDC Standard will enable travel agents to better retail air products to corporations, leisure and business travellers, by addressing the industry’s current distribution limitations: PRODUCT DIFFERENTIATION ACCESS TO FULL AND RICH CONTENT A GREATER SHOPPING EXPERIENCE 4
    • 5. NEW DISTRIBUTION CAPABILITY (NDC) 5 Consumers TMC / OTA Airline Reservation Systems Availability GDS FaresSchedule Airline website/ e-commerce engine ■  Airlines file fares and schedules with 3rd parties ■  GDSs package and push offers based on 3rd party databases ■  Agents submit travellers’ requests using GDS ■  Airlines last to know who has purchased airline ticket ■  Distribution capability constrained by current level of innovation
    • 6. NEW DISTRIBUTION CAPABILITY (NDC) 6 Airline Reservation Systems Aggregators GDS New Entrant NDC ■  Airline provides “offer” ●  Just as for direct channel ■  NDC Standard ●  Lower costs, speed of innovation ●  Facilitates comparison ●  Connections exist, not interoperable ■  Airline rich products: ●  Available via travel agents ●  Direct, or via Aggregator ●  Enable comparison shopping Consumers TMC / OTA Airline website/ e-commerce engine
    • 7. WHAT BENEFITS DOES NDC BRING 7 Merchandize airlines’ “uniqueness” Distribute personalised products (if requested) PRODUCT DIFFERENTIATION ACCESS TO FULL AND RICH CONTENT A GREATER SHOPPING EXPERIENCE Compare flight products based on schedule, price and equality Work with real-time fare and product information Deliver the right products at the right prices to corporate buyers Offer each traveller the opportunity to shop based on what they value – be it anonymous or personalised.
    • 8. GET PEOPLE ENGAGED AND EXCITED – ABOUT AN XML STANDARD 8 IATA’schallenge
    • 9. 9
    • 10. Hamburg Genf
    • 11. 11
    • 12. 12
    • 13. 13
    • 14. 14
    • 15. 15
    • 16. THANK YOU Yanik Hoyles Head of NDC Brett Ansley Principal Consultant Birgitta Boeckler Technical Principal