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NIIT Tech’s PACE Framework: Enabling Personalization to Differentiate Travel & Hospitality Companies

 

As part of NelsonHall’s series of reports focusing on the business priorities and digital initiatives of IT services buyers, we found that buyers in the transportation industry have a significant focus on improving the customer experience. Eighty-five percent of transportation companies are pursuing an operational objective of increasing average revenue per customer to a high extent, while 75% are pursuing enhancing customer experience to a high extent.

These companies are primarily looking to achieve these objectives through the adoption of digital technologies, with 82% of transportation companies believing that improving customer experience and customer satisfaction is a highly important benefit of digital. This focus also correlates with the most pursued areas for digital initiatives: customer service and online commerce & CRM, each cited as being pursued to a high extent by more than 60% of transportation companies.

To address these needs, NIIT Technologies has introduced a new framework that enables travel and hospitality companies to improve customer service and drive revenues through greater tailoring of services to individual customer needs. With years of stagnant revenues and the rise of low-cost competitors, NIIT Tech sees an opportunity for travel and hospitality companies to use personalization to change what can be a commoditized product (a plane seat or hotel room). NIIT Tech is positioned to understand and address these needs, as NelsonHall estimates ~55% of its digital transformation consulting revenues are associated with travel and hospitality clients.

NIIT Tech’s PACE framework (Personalization for enhanced Ancillary revenue and Customer Experience) uses an assessment of the maturity of current operations to plot current capabilities, determine the target level of maturity, and map the process for achieving it. PACE considers capabilities across two dimensions: personalization maturity and engineering proficiency:

  • Personalization maturity spans from a 1:many model to a 1:1 model. It analyzes three elements to assess the use of data to tailor user experiences: system of insight, integration and channel enablement, and system of engagement
  • Engineering proficiency uses NIIT Tech’s DONE framework to assess the internal technical delivery capabilities to plot companies from ‘predictable’ (with eight mature disciplines) to ‘lean startup’ (with 23 mature disciplines). Disciplines measured span areas including business value, solution, continuous delivery, agile practices, and support.

Delivered through a 4-week assessment project, the outputs are plotted to illustrate where a company’s maturity falls within one of four quadrants: naivete, contender, thinker, nirvana.

Based on the current positioning and the company’s objectives, a project plan is then developed for the company. These projects are planned to address the three layers that comprise the customer experience mentioned above:

  • Systems of insight: the systems that capture customer data
  • Integration and channel enablement: the systems that enable the use of captured data through the dissemination of the data to inform business operations
  • System of engagement: the customer-facing user experience, informed by captured data fed through integrated environment.

These projects span all three layers as necessary. Though the entire project can require an 18 to 24-month commitment, NIIT Tech develops a project plan that includes delivering quick wins to demonstrate value, while the more challenging, lower direct ROI effort of building the foundational elements of the data capture and integration necessary to feed a tailored customer experience are completed.

PACE projects are supported by NIIT Tech’s ecosystem of partners, to align with the specific needs and preferences of clients, including UiPath, Appian, Sitecore, Salesforce, Adobe, Pega, Oracle, Tableau and others.

NIIT Tech’s experience to date has shown most travel and hospitality companies are low on the maturity cycle. But to achieve internal objectives, projects have had different types of focus, examples being:

  • Transforming a website for a large airline to better use customer data
  • Micro-services implementation to enable greater integration and channel enablement for a loyalty program
  • Managed service for business intelligence services for an Asia-Pacific airline
  • Implementation of a data lake for a large airline to expand analytics capability
  • Transforming an e-commerce platform for an Asia-Pacific airline. This included both process and technology changes, with a significant focus on increased use of automation, that enabled the time to market for changes to fall from three weeks to less than three days. With further transformation, this is expected to fall to under four hours.

In travel and hospitality industries increasingly focused on a self-defeating cycle of lower and lower prices, personalization of experiences offers an opportunity to use digital to differentiate from competitors. NIIT Tech’s PACE offering has been developed to help these clients meet or exceed their customer needs. 

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