Amadeus aims to demonstrate that a new way of partnering more collaboratively on technology developments with its airline partners is working within months.
The European technology giant and GDS hosted over 300 delegates at last week’s Airline Executive Summit in Prague and gave an insight into the digital transformation it has been undergoing.
John Lonergan, director of airline digital, who joined Amadeus in 2017 from Qantas where he had worked since 2000, latterly as head of direct digital, told delegates all firms had challenges bring innovation into legacy systems.
But he said Amadeus was committed to developing technology “better suited to airline’s needs” with a focus on agility and improved speed to market.
Referring to a new “digital tribes” approach that sees Amadeus deploying experts to work in collaborative teams with airline partners and their technology providers, he said Amadeus was focusing on three “important things”:
- Open solutions;
- New digital skills, and
- New ways of working within Amadeus and between Amadeus and airline partners.
He said the journey to operate in a more agile was “was not a straight forward task”, but “if you want to move forward you have to work in agile”.
“We are going to be aligning our agile cycle with our consumers’ agile cycles. Only that way will we bring complex innovations to market in a way our airlines need,” said Lonergan.
“It’s not just Amadeus creating intelligent experiences. There will be distributed innovation right across the airline community. We need to provide the digital skills to make that happen.”
Lonergan added: “Within six months we need to demonstrate this is working.”
Speaking in an earlier keynote, Christophe Bousquet, Amadeus’s senior vice president research and development for airlines, said the company had changed to take an open platform approach to computing.
He said the firm will provide a place for more developers to work on top of the core Amadeus platform to drive innovation and help it benefit from a network effect.
Bousquet said many such different sorts of platform abound today in the digital sphere like Google, Facebook, Salesforce and Amazon, and Amadeus will operate in a similar way for its airline partners.
“They are all different, but they have a lot of things in common. A platform is anything you can build upon,” he said.
Easy to use API connections will mean high levels of adoption, added Bousquet. “There is a phenomenon of network. The more people who are using it the better it is. It has to be easy to develop on, an open environment, and easy to interact with.
“Most platforms are collecting data and making sure that enriches them,” said Bousquet who added Amadeus’s move to the cloud and away from physical data centres and mainframe computers has accelerated the platform phenomenon.
“Now anyone can work and operate an application on his own without having his own data centre,” he said. “Everyone can enrich the platform. We are now in the platform space.”
The Amadeus Airline Platform has two key components, a Digital Experience Suite and a Dynamic Intelligence Hub that collects data from multiple sources and makes that available to developers to build applications.
“The platform is actually distributing innovation. We want flexibility to take control – this is our answer,” said Bousquet.