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There is no such thing as an average customer

June 7, 2018
Sharon Doyle
Sharon Doyle

How digital transformation is helping us think differently about customer needs

What do you want your customer to say about your product in three years’ time? What feedback would make you feel proud? How do you know what your customer needs?

By asking these questions internally right at the start of our product planning process, Travelport’s product team is transforming the way we deliver from our newly-centralized product organization. Late in 2017, Travelport restructured our product and technology organization, moving product under the remit of the Chief Customer and Marketing Officer. Going through this transition process, which will continue into 2019, has created a single, strong and strategic product function, with a determined focus on developing stand-out products which are driven by the needs of our customers. This model will enable us to work right across our portfolio to develop products our customers love and which set the Travelport brand apart.  

While we’re utilizing the latest technology in all aspects of our digital transformation, we’ve also gone right back to basics. We’ve ensured we have clear product management and product owner roles, with known accountability and responsibility that operate within a structured Product Management Lifecycle. We’re using the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) setting up Agile Release Trains of around 10 “scrum teams” and including different parts of the business on the train which then work together more effectively earlier on in the process of product development. This means dependencies and risks can be removed or mitigated as soon as they are known, and owned for resolution as early as possible in the 10-week program increment process to avoid causing delays later. Our first two trains are focused on the areas of our new Demand API “Trip Services” and the streamlining of onboarding airline API content (both NDC and LCC) into our platform.

What should our customers expect to see as we go through this process?

We’ve put the customer right at the heart of product design. We know how we want our customers to feel when they use our products, both now and in the future. We’ve challenged ourselves to understand what our customers really need and what their pain points are, right across the range of different customers we serve. We’ve also prioritized our initiatives based on their value to our customers, not on what best suits us and our internal timelines. Everything we do for our customers is also linked to clear KPIs which will continue to drive improvements, and metrics which will drive decisions, as we monitor time to market, defect reduction, increases in productivity and employee motivation. Our customers should find working with Travelport much simpler in future, as their interactions with us have been streamlined to be more efficient.

Travelport is in the process of transformation; moving from a travel company that uses technology to a digital platform where travel distribution remains our key focus. We are making ourselves ready to lead our industry towards an ever accelerating fast-paced digital future. Are you with us?