IT at WestJet

As WestJet was still growing and developing their focus on IT helped them continue their steady rate of growth and even let them achieve a competitive advantage over the competition. Their IT staff started off small but grew with the company as the company itself grew, but compared to other companies the size of WestJet the IT staff was considered to be small. This however was not a problem because the staff was made up of very competent specialists such as programmers and database admins and also people with a wider general knowledge of Information Technology. They focused on building Information Systems for WestJet that were proprietary and tailored exactly with the day to day running of WestJet in mind. The systems were all built and maintained in house and were considered advanced for their time. With their focus on IT WestJet became and innovator, one example is eTicketing which they pioneered. The convenience that this brought to customers was so great as they no longer had to stand in line to purchase a physical ticket stub was so great that it helped propel WestJet ahead of the competition. They had also build an in-house reservation system which they name aiRes. The system was provided the necessary platform to manage and track the reservations of customers and provided functionality that was specifically targeted to the needs of WestJet. Having such a system made it a lot easier to process the large amounts of reservation information they received. However as their growth continued and time passes they eventually looked into expanding into new markets, add new destinations and forging new alliances with other carriers. Their method of doing everything in-house and proprietary which had helped them rise so fast could no long be used as it allowed for no integration from the outside. The company would now have to revisit their Information Systems if they wanted to take things to the next level while still staying competitive in the market. A vital part of the new strategy would be the ability to use “codeshare”, which is an airline industry agreement where two or more airline share the same flights. The old system which was so heavily tailor to WestJet did not allow for this, thus they turned to Sabre.

Sabre is an online third party international reservation system used by airlines and travel agents around the world which would allow WestJet to employ codeshare; which as stated before

codeshare and all major alliances to expand market reach and generate revenue  Allows airlines to effectively manage their inventory through enhanced inventory controls. Hogg Robinson Group (HRG). Frontier. . loyalty and reporting  Comprehensive user interface optimizes reservations and airport staff efficiency. GetThere and Travelocity. Expedia.would allow WestJet to share flights with other airlines in the industry as well as establishing new interline agreements with over 30 other airlines. Sabre would offer them the opportunity they they needed to not only branch out into new markets but to also keep the competitive edge while doing so. graphical management tool enables creation and update of airline agreements. JetBlue. segmentation and real-time planning  Strengthens your understanding of market trends and customer behavior through data analysis  Web-based. BCD Travel. Carlson Wagonlit Travel. Some of the benefits which are advertised to be derived from Sabre are:  Customer profile ensures customer data availability at all touch points  Consistent customer experience through all points of sale and service  Supports interline. Zuji. American Express. such as codeshare. Holiday Autos. LastMinute. resulting in expedited customer service Sabre would allow WestJet to get connected to major flight agencies and online services such as American Airlines.

The following diagrams show a brief example of how the system operates: A central booking engines holds all the flight data about available flights. Travel agency employees also have access along with sub-agents who perform B2B functions with booking engine. prices and status from the different airlines that are connected using codeshare. All this while trying to manually manage times and flight schedule. the customer would have to book a flight an airport where WestJet is available and then take the flight to Canada. . their times. Imagine a customer booking a flight to Canada but the location where they are at has no service to WestJet but also the airlines in that area do not go to Canada. With the Sabre system the customer could simply search for flights to Canada and the system would cross reference all available flights with all carriers and give the customer a list of options with the shortest flight times and best prices. This system while seemingly complex equates to easier use and more availability of flights for the customer. When a customer searches for s flight on the web he/she would interface with an agency website which is getting the information from the booking engine which is populated via the information from the Sabre system at the airline.

WestJet conducted a survey of potential solutions and determined that OutStart LCMS was a logical choice. such as completing reports. or proof of concept. The types of content that WestJet delivers through OutStart LCMS include: • Facts and concepts. The in-flight group initiated the “pilot” project. for the Annual Flight Attendant Training Program. browser-accessible delivery.Knowledge Management Systems Being a company they that deals in the airline industry which has many operational regulations. Therefore a knowledge management system was deemed necessary in order to complete this task. This minimized the amount of time students needed to spend in class and optimized the remaining blended time. such as attending to passenger needs . such as information about new regulations and services. • Principle-based skills (far transfer). WestJet’s staff of over 9600 people are spread out all over the world and it would prove to be very hard and expensive to organize these workers for physical training sessions. They decided to go with an elearning type of platform which would allow them to offer training to their employees without having to send instructors to them or fly them in for training workshops. with 24/7. The sophisticated. has skilled employee positions such as pilots and airplane engineers/mechanics and with changes coming to the company in terms of IT and new information system being implemented WestJet needed a way to properly train employees and also keep them up to date with any new rules and regulations. • Procedural skills (near transfer). media-rich capabilities of OutStart LCMS content development enable a high degree of interaction and simulation that address the wide range of procedures and processes in the diverse WestJet work environments. WestJet’s online training consists largely of knowledge-based content that follows competency principles for adult learning. The chief advantage of this elearning offering was that it was a self-directed “Home Study”. deals with customer satisfaction.

IBM Websphere One of the main focuses of WestJet is to provide an exceptional guest experience for their customer. etc. To deal with this they decided to increase the number of workers in the call centers and even open up a few new ones to manage the flow of calls. the type in-flight entertainment and food. When the customer books a flight from WestJet three days before they flight they start getting updates via email or SMS as to their preference. This helped with customer relations as customers no longer had to be on anxiously waiting on hold while listening to random music. such as email or SMS. WestJet came across IBM WebSphere. The update includes information about the status of their flights. The . This resulted in an increased amount of calls to their call centers by customers seeking advice on the new system.Customer Relations Management Although the addition of Sabre was to bring with it many benefits the implementation of the new system did not go as smoothly as they would have liked. In pursuit of this they were looking for ways in which to keep the customer involved and updated with the status of their reservations and flights. they had a clear cut timeframe and could decide if they wanted to stay on the call or log the problem and call back later or get a return call. a software used to integrate its systems and deliver notifications to its customers using their preferred method. The turnover was somewhat rushed and many customers who were accustomed to the older way of getting reservations and tickets were confused with the change. To further help the situation they incorporated “virtual hold” into the call system. Websphere would address the smooth flow of what they called the “travel continuum” which is the moment the customer thinks about going somewhere to the moment they return back home. possible gate changes or delays. Virtual hold would more or less guarantee a caller that his or her problem would be solved in a given timeframe. When a customer calls they would state their issue and the system would give them an estimated timeframe. The updates can be configured to be delivered at certain times of day and to certain devices as to the customer’s request.

Information Security .customer’s specific profile or account in tapped for information about the customer and that helps give WebShere a personal touch to its updates.

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