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With so much at stake for airlines when taking the leap to implement a new passenger service system, preparation and collaboration are key. Here are some of the guiding principles we use to help airlines feel more confident and knowledgeable when selecting an airline IT partner and managing the migration process, which have proved invaluable in successfully managing each migration project from start to finish:
1. Build a strong provider-customer partnership
Each PSS migration is the dual responsibility of both the airline and the PSS provider. A successful outcome relies on fostering an atmosphere of co-operation and collaboration between both parties. Effective working relationships are built on trust and to achieve this, the PSS provider will need to spend considerable periods of time working alongside the airline’s employees – before, during and after the PSS migration. This enables the migration specialists and the airline to work as a single entity.
2. Encourage clear communication between stakeholders
A PSS migration involves not only the airline’s IT department, but the organisation as a whole. As such, projects of this magnitude require support from all levels of the business and strong leadership from the executive team as well as a solid well scoped change management process. Approaching a PSS migration as a cross-departmental activity helps to ensure that communication flows freely between all stakeholders, so that each stage of the changeover proceeds as smoothly as possible.
3. Tailor the approach according to the airline’s needs
Every airline is different, so it is essential that the PSS provider takes time to understand the internal culture - hierarchy, structure, sensitivities, expectations. It is then possible to approach the migration in a way that reflects the airline's individual circumstances and accommodates its day-to-day operations. This involves tailoring the migration methodology and tools to meet each carrier’s specific requirements and preferences. At Amadeus, we spend considerable time and effort developing a detailed understanding of the way an airline customer does business. Investing time and energy at the start of the migration process minimises the likelihood of planning or functionality changes further down the line.
4. Work closely with the airline during the testing phase
It is essential for the PSS provider to test software and scripting languages extensively before they are put into practice by the airline. At Amadeus, we require that at least 80% of scripts pass our own unique 'brush tests' process before the software is delivered to the airline for in-house testing. Such rigorous checks are crucial to ensure a very high level of quality and reliability in the delivery of the PSS software. The airline must also test the performance of the specific systems used on a daily basis. Do they fulfil the users’ requirements? Are there aspects that could be enhanced? During this user acceptance period, the airline must work closely with the IT provider so that any issues can be addressed and any necessary adjustments applied.
5. Train the trainers
When an airline migrates to a new PSS, employees and passengers will benefit from many new features that are designed to streamline the customer management process. For example, Amadeus Altéa enables an airline to access data for all its channels from a single source. Implementing a PSS training programme ensures that staff members are brought up-to-speed with new procedures and capabilities which they can then put into practice. It is the role of the PSS provider to work closely with the airline’s training team to ensure that an effective instruction programme is in place, and training sessions are supervised.