At Manchester Digital, we like to conduct interviews with our members to delve deeper into their areas of passion within the dynamic digital and technology landscape of Greater Manchester. This week we're speaking with Allan Schweitz, Enterprise Architect at Onepoint
Can you give us a quick intro to the client and the problem they wanted to solve that led them to reach out to Onepoint?
TravelCo, one of the world's largest travel management groups, reached out to Onepoint based on recommendation, to reimagine their data platform that would spearhead their digital transformation. They were facing challenges with their outdated, rigid data systems that were hampering customer experience and employee efficiency. Data quality and data sovereignty (GDPR) was their biggest concern at the time. The legacy data platforms and hard-coded systems lacked flexibility, making it difficult and slow to adapt to changing business needs. This resulted in poor customer experiences due to their data being inaccurate, late or even missing in many cases. It also reduced employee productivity through manual workflows. The company realised they needed to fully transform their data infrastructure to meet the demands of corporate customers who expected excellent service and real-time visibility into travel spend and patterns. Therefore, they sought Onepoint's expertise to deliver an innovative, cloud-based enterprise platform that enabled real-time data analytics, improved data quality, simplified processes leading to increased business agility.
What were some of the key challenges and pain points the travel company faced to meet customer demands?
The key challenges and pain points that the TravelCo teams were facing included outdated, rigid data systems that hampered customer experience and employee efficiency. These systems lacked flexibility, making it difficult and slow to adapt to changing business needs. This resulted in poor customer experiences when agents couldn't quickly update reservations or access accurate data. It also reduced employee productivity through manual workflows. The company also faced issues with hard-coded 'business logic' changes, which were time-consuming and expensive to implement. They also struggled with data quality, which was crucial for providing detailed insights into travel expenses, travel habits and patterns of employees, trends and risk assessments. The company also needed to conform to regulatory requirements, such as GDPR and other data privacy legislation.
We'd love to hear more about the workshop approach you took to deeply understand their needs. How did that set you up to deliver an innovative solution?
Onepoint’s approach to deeply understanding the needs of our clients begins with a custom-designed Springboard Workshop. This workshop brings together a cross-functional client team with a selection of Onepoint colleagues, allowing us to understand the root of the problem from multiple perspectives. This diversity of thought and experience is key in generating innovative solutions. Once we have a clear understanding of the issues, we bring the challenge to our world-class research and development initiative, Onepoint Labs. Here, we explore the issue and potential solutions, considering commercial or open-source solutions that would allow non-technical staff to make rule changes rapidly. Once we have developed ideas for potential routes, our Onepoint Valuepath™ approach kicks in. We build a robust and independent Proof of Value prototype, allowing the client to see, feel and experience a working prototype. This approach not only helps us to deliver innovative solutions but also builds trust with our clients, demonstrating our integrity and commitment to achieving transformational business outcomes.
Walk us through some of the biggest improvements and benefits the new data platform drove for their business.
The new data platform drove significant improvements and benefits for the business. These include a 10x faster customer onboarding process, enhanced data accuracy and depth, 10x faster implementation of business rule changes, and a 3x faster time to data insights. Operational efficiency was increased and dependency on technical resources was reduced. The technology landscape was modernised and real-time data analytics with simplified reporting were enabled. The platform also allowed for easy rule changes empowering non-technical users and flexible scaling to handle usage spikes. The customer and colleague experience was improved, and the speed of obtaining insights from data was increased. Implementing a business code change used to take weeks, but with the new platform, it's now over 10x faster. The technology stack is now more fit-for-purpose to the strategic priorities of the business.
For other tech leaders and innovators in our community, what are few key takeaways or lessons you want them to learn from this success story with a leading travel company?
• Embrace Digital Transformation: Recognise when it's time for a revolution rather than an evolution. In the case of TravelCo, they realised that their legacy systems were hampering customer experience and employee efficiency. They decided to invest in a digital transformation, building a new data platform from the ground up with the customer and colleague experience at its heart.
• Rapid Prototyping: Onepoint developed a working prototype in just four weeks, allowing TravelCo to experience the potential solution and justify the significant investment in digital transformation. This approach reduces risk and helps secure buy-in from business sponsors.
• Focus on Business Outcomes: The new data platform had an immediate impact on TravelCo's business, improving data quality, customer and colleague experience, operational efficiency and the speed of obtaining insights from data. The technology stack became more aligned with the strategic priorities of the business.
Founders like this have a rare breed of tenacity and are worth keeping an eye on.