The biggest challenge that the continental Airlines is grappling with is with regards to their operational efficiency. Their previous decision of resounding key functions like reservations, payroll and DES were causing a delay in flow of information thus hindering data based decision making in the company. Most decision thus were being made not by what data said but by the “hunch” or “intuition” which often proved wrong.
Lack of real time data, complex system of booking tickets, inability to access other carriers’ data to help their gangers make the connections was all causing poor performance and poor customer satisfaction which led to their being ranked as the worst airline (in ranking) by Department of Transportation. Efficient operations are key to a successful business especially in airlines. The problem that continental is facing would fall under operations since all the problems that continental is facing like lack of real time information, ticketing systems, traveler tracking system are all part of operations.
This is a serious problem since as mentioned earlier, efficient operations are at the heart of any successful airline business. No matter how good the aircrafts and crew are, if the flight won’t take off on time, if the passengers won’t have a access to info no one would want to fly using that airline. The problem was solved when Continental decided that “outsourcing” was not a solution and realized that they needed to handle the data in house for maximum efficiency.
They developed new data management and software to store and manage the flow of and this enabled real time flow of information within the company. To achieve this Continental created their own data warehousing team that could roved data and analytics support as per the need of the business. For example, when the reservation system lost customer reservations, the data warehousing team was able to run a query to find those customers who were affected but not yet flown.
Therefore, through the use of business intelligence and database queries, Continental was able to solve a problem before it affected even more customers. The in house data management systems also enabled them to create information dashboards where high level views of reports could be broken down into more detail to show information about customers. Hint this case was really interesting and here are the lessons I have learnt from it, Data driven decision making is key to the success of each and every company.
Data can give us insights into opportunities that are otherwise invisible Right data in the hands of right people at the right time can give you a competitive edge in the business Have data/information is not enough – use of that information to guide your decision making is key.