Summing Up the SITA/Airlne Business IT Summit

Every year at the end of the IT Summit, I have both the honour and the challenge of summing up the proceedings. 

It’s a challenge since I have to summarise the contributions of the distinguished speakers, and often the results of some interesting debates, and then draw conclusions from them.  I hope I will be able to post both my introductory challenge and my concluding remarks here as video clips. 

Meanwhile, particularly for those who were there, here is a summary of what I suggested were the conclusions of the Summit.  This year it was easier than most years because the presentations and the discussions converged in a remarkable way.

In my opening I said there were 4 “Mega IT Trends” that would hit the air transport industry in the the next few years.  These were:

* the Cloud

* Big Data

* Social Media and

* Mobility

From Tony Tyler’s Keynote in the morning to Henry Harteveldt at the close these themes DID keep coming back.

But there were two additional themes that also came through, which I felt were the glue which will join up these 4 technological Mega Trends.  One was a techie piece of glue and the other was behavioural glue.  

The techie super-glue was

* Web Services

And the behavioural adhesive was 

* Collaboration across the Air Transport Industry or as we in SITA call it Air Transport Community (ATC)

First, web services which Madame Xiong and Dr Krieg from Beijing and Frankfurt Airports – 2 of the leading airports in the World – and our own Jim Peters SITA CTO talked about.  Smart use of web services, open APIs and Service Oriented Architecture could join up apps, data, social media and mobile devices across the industry.

Second there was Tony’s central theme of how the elements of the whole air transport industry – not just airlines – must work together to provide better service for customers, and indeed to ensure that the industry was sustainable.  

Competition will intensify and should, but there are areas where airlines and airports, GDSs and government agencies need to share information so that the whole air transport eco-system works better.  

This is where SITA can help.   As the commercial co-operative company owned by the ATC, SITA can provide an honest broker role at the interface between the airlines, airports, government agencies and GDSs.  As a provider of technology networks and services to air transport we can help “join up the dots” in the new world of the Cloud, big data, social media and ubiquitous customer and employee connectivity on smart phones and tablets.   This would be an interesting reinvention of SITA’s original mission from 63 years ago. 

About paulcoby
I am CIO at the John Lewis Partnership in the UK. I was Chair of SITA - the airline solutions company owned by the Air Transport Community - for 11 years. I am also on the Boards of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank and Pets at Home. Previously I was Head of BA Services and for 10 years CIO at British Airways. I am interested in Roman and Military History. The views expressed are entirely my own not my employers.

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