Leveraging IT Solution for Travel Transport & Logistics
“Most of our businesses are outside India. However, we will be on the lookout for opportunities. While the major airlines might look for enhancing its presence in the country, new regional players are likely to set shop under the Udan scheme of the Government of India. Against this backdrop, IBS is the technology provider best placed to serve as a one-stop shop to the India aviation industry, both on account of its range of offerings and the ‘Make in India’ off-set initiative of the Government”, asserted V K Mathews, Founder and Executive Chairman, IBS Software in a conversation with Poulami Chakraborty of BW SmartCitiesWorld. Excerpts below:
IBS Software operates in a different space from other leading IT companies in India? How?
What sets us apart from other technology companies in the country is that we are an IT product company, and not an IT services company, which India is globally known for. Services companies execute what customers tell them to do whereas product companies are at the higher end of the value chain. We develop and implement enterprise software products after understanding the business needs of the customers. There is IP creation in product companies. If the Indian IT industry has to come of age, the country has to be seen as a land of developers and owners of innovative and disruptive offerings. Product companies push the envelope from “outsourced to India” to “imagined and owned in India”.
Please give a brief overview of how IBS Software is leveraging IT for the solutions that it is catering to the industry.
Our space is in the global Travel, Transportation and Logistics (TTL) industry. We have IP rights to over 17 large new generation enterprise software products that help our customers liberate themselves from expensive and cumbersome legacy systems. These IT solutions manage mission-critical operations of airlines, airports, cruise lines, hospitality partners, tour operators and oil & gas companies that help them increase safety, maximize efficiency, improve revenue, manage growth and reduce costs. We do this by facilitating business innovation: supporting such innovative business processes using cutting edge systems. This way IBS partners with customers, long term, for their business transformation.
Where does IBS Software stand as a technology solution provider for the aviation industry across the world?
To the aviation industry, IBS offers IT systems for passenger services (including loyalty and staff travel), cargo operations, flight and crew operations, airport operations and aircraft maintenance engineering. No other single enterprise in the world offers a range of technology products to the aviation industry as IBS. During our 21 year journey we have invested 9500+ person years dedicated to R&D to develop innovative, futuristic software solutions helping us compete successfully against some of the biggest technology names in the global travel industry like Amadeus, SITA and Sabre. Our 170 plus customers in the TTL industry include 10 of the most renowned airlines groups in the world, over 20 large air freighters, some of the busiest airports and ground handling agents.
What scope of digital optimization of operations do you envisage in this segment?
Digital capabilities has brought the importance of owning the customer into focus. Passengers now expect a hugely superior level of engagement and service in air travel. Personalization through AI and disintermediation are fast becoming just as important as possessing the capability to aggregate, package & sell not just one’s own travel inventory, but that of all of your partners as well. Technology platforms are increasingly enabling digitally operating employees and digitally managed services. The rapid ascent of the sharing economy has helped unlock previously untapped sources on the supply side driving up utilization of assets at rates affordable to the end-consumer. The scope is pretty much limitless and further advances in digital technologies are set to revolutionize the way people travel.
What are some of the questions global airlines need to grapple with to lead in a digital world?
Airlines needs to ask several questions:
How can they better respond to changing consumer expectations, brought about by emerging technologies and disruptive innovation?
What role would technologies such as AI, machine learning, block chain, mobile et al play towards enabling enterprises achieve their goals?
How can enterprises leverage digital to innovate and focus on what matters – enhancing customer experience and driving operations excellence?
How can one motivate the world to consume more travel, in spite of adverse socio-economic and political circumstances?
What challenges do you see while operating in the Indian aviation market?
India is projected by IATA to become the third-largest aviation market in the world. Having said that, irrational competition and pricing strategy are causes for concern. This, coupled with high levies, is proving to be a huge financial strain for most airlines. Therefore cost rationalization has to be achieved. Newer technology in their business areas is a step in the right direction. However, most airlines in India look at technology as a cost, not an investment. Hence, it may not be a top priority. Besides, the market is hugely commoditized. These are challenges for aviation technology providers in India.
What plans for further business development do you have for the Indian market?
Most of our businesses are outside India. However, we will be on the lookout for opportunities. While the major airlines might look for enhancing its presence in the country, new regional players are likely to set shop under the Udan scheme of the Government of India. Against this backdrop, IBS is the technology provider best placed to serve as a one-stop shop to the India aviation industry, both on account of its range of offerings and the ‘Make in India’ off-set initiative of the Government. We are confident of market traction within India in the near future.