Lee Hayhurst spoke to Amadeus and Accenture about how their new strategic partnership aims to not only help airline customers achieve digital transformation but also bring in a modern, agile way of working with travel sector clients
The new strategic partnership between Amadeus and global management consultancy giant Accenture is promising an acceleration of innovation for its travel sector clients.
The two firms have shared customers for many years, but only now are they starting to work effectively as a single entity.
The idea is that this transforms the way Amadeus works with its customers on projects by working in a more collaborative way to provide more bespoke, tailored services and IT solutions.
Andrea Marazzi, Amadeus’s head of the Accenture strategic alliance, said: “What we are trying to do together is to present ourselves to the customer as a single voice, as a single provider.
“We are a provider of IT solutions to airlines, with Accenture we are adding a transformational component. We are accelerating delivery of innovation to the customer.
“It’s about how you transform your company, to do that in an agile mode and with innovation. Accenture is a leader in the transformational part.”
Marazzi said the new way of collaborative working sees combined teams established to identify what is required for the customer and then work in short sprints to create minimum viable products.
The strategic alliance was announced in June at Amadeus’s Airline Executive Summit in Prague. It is the second such partnership the tech giant has formed having done a similar deal with Adobe.
Carsten Weisse, managing director of Accenture, said: “For us to bring our capabilities to airline clients in depth knowledge of the industry is needed.
“We have a lot of capabilities across multiple industries but we know, especially in the airline industry, we also have to partner to get into the core business.
“To help customers transform you need to get right inside the industry and understand things like passenger servicing and revenue management.
“So, we made a strategic decision to grow our footprint in the industry through a partnership.”
Weisse said Amadeus’s scale and data platform combined with Accenture’s people-led services will help the combined teams to approach problems and find solutions “from a different angle”.
He said Amadeus was a “natural choice” in aviation as it plays a leading role in a sector with few major players at the core of the industry.
The sheer complexity of airline industry requirements from passenger movement systems to aircraft deployment and management to distribution makes it unique, said Weisse.
“Talk to anyone in the airline industry and they know in five seconds if you have been in that industry before and understand it,” he said.
“We have been working for many years alongside Amadeus on behalf of airlines to help them migrate to Amadeus solutions.
“But because it wasn’t a joint offering if a customer wanted to change something they’d ask Amadeus and then have to ask Accenture to deliver it.
“We want to turn this around to identify areas we can jointly tackle and say to airlines if you do this you can generate value of X but it only can be done if you have this combination.
“It starts with in-depth data platforms. Amadeus applies data but then you need to apply service capabilities on top of it to unfold the offering.”
Accenture’s aim is to help airlines in their broader digital transformation strategies combining solutions from multiple sources.
Last year Accenture brought aviation specialist Seabury Consulting into the group, a leading advisor to airlines on transformational change.
These relationships will be used to help Accenture define what airlines need and which customers would benefit so carriers can be approached with solutions based on the value they offer.
Marazzi said: “An extension of this is bringing in the customer as part of the team so everyone is in the same boat.
“From the beginning everyone sits around the table together. You work together as three partners. What we are trying to do is more and more customer-centric projects.
“We want to start from the beginning with the customer working with us on a test and learn approach where we can immediately see the benefits from a customer point of view.”
Marazzi added Amadeus’s partnership with Accenture was part of its own internal digital transformation, as well as the products and services it offers its customers.
“We are becoming much more of a digital company ourselves and this is part of our full transformation.”