In his two previous blogs in this three-part series looking at digital revenue adoption by airports, Daniel firstly outlined the compelling commercial rationale of ‘Why?’ airports should develop a digital revenue platform. He then explained the ‘How?’ - detailing the phased program in the creation of a digital revenue platform. Now he explains ‘Who?’ – highlighting the key roles required across the joint airport-Omnevo team to make the project a success.
From 20 years’ experience in digitalization projects, I always recommend that the airport starts by creating a dedicated project team. This team will drive the project within the airport and will integrate with the Omnevo project team throughout the phased program. As every project is unique, the precise number, roles and skills required of each airport’s team will vary according to the project scale, its requirements and scope, as well as the level of resources available to the airport.
The roles I outline in this blog are not prescriptive but are useful simply to help define the pivotal areas of responsibility. Also, the roles will require flexibility and adjustment as the project progresses, particularly in the major shifts that occur in the transition of phases, especially the progressions from Launch to Operations and from Planning to Implementation phases.
Across the key phases in a digitalization project, success is built around a number of pivotal roles but everything is built on a team ethos.
In a series of shared workshops, the joint airport-Omnevo team establish the aims, governance, and dependencies of the project, establishing a design path for the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) - culminating in a Solution Design.
The airport’s team leaders will kick-start the project, engaging, inspiring, and guiding their key staff and stakeholders. There are three key airport roles in the Discovery phase, the foundation planning phase –these roles drive their area of the project and coordinate with all relevant stakeholders both within the airport and with the appropriate specialists at Omnevo.
The MVP is created. Omnevo’s team build the infrastructure, configure components, develop customizations, and establish integrations. From this original MVP, enhanced iterations are developed.
Depending on the airport’s available resources and the project scale, the airport team can be adjusted to new needs and priorities as the project evolves. For example, this can include three guiding roles in the program, focused on the fine-tuning of operations, platform quality and reliability, and the development of platform features:
Across the airport team, close co-ordination with relevant airport departments (especially CRM, Loyalty, IT etc) and with Retail partners is needed to bring the right people to the table at the right time and support a smooth integration. This focus on coordination is a key element for the Project Manager but the responsibility can be allocated across roles, as necessary.
QA demands intensive testing and a full Test Plan, including bug fixing cycles. The platform’s content, product data, etc. is imported, migrations finalized - final rollout begins.
The QA phase is launched by Omnevo’s role in testing, bug fixing and ensuring the quality and reliability of the platform as it reaches Roll-out. We always recommend that airports implement their own QA program. The Omnevo team conduct their test program first (FAT - Factory Acceptance Testing), and then the airport will conduct its own user testing (UAT, User Acceptance Testing). In addition, non-functional requirements must be tested, and we find that most airports hire external service providers for Pen- and Security, for example.
In this high-pressure phase, Omnevo provides intensified support to the airport team as they embed their new system.
By sharing an ‘all hands on deck’ approach, we can quickly address any issues arising in this early post-launch phase. Typical requests are help with editorial changes, setting up the first promotions and discounts, editing product data etc. As the airport team soon gain confidence and speed in managing the platform, we then settle into the full-scale Ops-phase and they take control of the commercial running and management of the platform.
The platform’s versatility enables it to be constantly evolved – expanding and adapting to the needs of the airport and its customers.
Once the airport has assumed full operational control of the ‘live’ platform, we then see another shift in the required roles. The airport team grow in both confidence and familiarity with their new platform, they then gain a wider view of its true potential and start sharing exciting ideas to enhance it. This often includes analyzing the web-tracking data, adjusting the product range and pricing, setting up promotions, and thinking about marketing for the platform, e.g. using editorial or shoppable content, social media channels etc. In essence, it all comes down to a simple but vital question: How to drive traffic to the platform and increase the conversion? This inevitably includes ideas for new technical features – which the future-proofed platform can adopt at any time - and the team are now totally in tune with their platform.
The role of Marketing to fuel the platform’s performance becomes absolutely critical. For example, the Business Consultant/Analyst role recedes and new functions, such as web tracking, customer analysis, content management, customer segmentation, SEO, social media etc, become vital in optimizing the platform’s commercial effectiveness. This evolution of roles makes it critical from the very start of the project that the airport should plan the skills and roles needed at each phase of the project.
Throughout the project, please also bear in mind that the project’s scale and complexity will determine the precise team roles needed, and these may well vary both in the amount of input required and the timing of that input from each stakeholder. The project might also utilize a mix of internal staff and external consultants and specialists to fil the roles. In many projects, we find that airports may have team members able to take cross-functional roles or shared responsibilities; we are always open to flexibility in how we work together and share in the delivery of the project.
The standard project team from Omnevo is a very lean supporting team, usually consisting of two essential roles, summarized below:
This core team is usually sufficient to roll out a project that has very few or no customizations, limited mostly to existing out of the box-functionalities and will be adequate for ‘start small and grow’ strategies.
For large-scale projects, the team can expand with up to five further roles to create the capacity to handle any project size and any level of complexity.
While designed for major platform development, these additional supports can also be utilized on projects of any scale, should the airport require specialist input in any of these project areas.
The scale of Omnevo’s input will, inevitably, be at its highest in the Implementation phase but we don’t impose our supporting input inputs as a package; we ensure that the airport receives support tailored precisely to the specific needs of the project and we also adapt according to the technical and specialist inputs that the airport itself can provide.
Regardless of the project scale, the close cohesion between the airport and Omnevo creates powerful efficiencies and synergies to drive the project. In adopting a shared approach on large-scale projects, we also recommend setting up a joint Project Steering Committee, made up of senior representatives of the airport and members of the Omnevo team. This co-ordination and information sharing at a senior level is very effective in the early phases in establishing and managing the project roadmap and also helps to identify upcoming problems and quick decision-making.
In everything from security processing and baggage operations, from robotic cleaners to AI, digitalization will play an ever-increasing role across every aspect of the airport experience of the future. Digital revenue platforms are central to that future, not only driving stronger airport experiences and deeper relationships with the passenger, they also deliver a powerful, controlled, future-proof path to stronger Non-Aeronautical Revenue. I hope this series of three blogs helps airport managers to see how they can seize that potential by taking Omnevo’s proven route to digital success.