Information intensive industries are particularly subject to digital disruption. This has been seen in a variety of industries and none more so than travel. Companies like Uber, Airbnb, and TripAdvisor have profoundly disrupted existing vertically integrated travel business models.

These digital players offer seamless, personalised online experiences that pose a threat to asset-intensive businesses like this one. So, they selected us to help them develop a technology strategy that would keep them agile and relevant in the market.

Why Elixirr?

This global travel company were looking for a strategic partner that deeply understood its organisation, the market environment, the emergence of new, non-traditional competitors, and the necessary trade-offs that needed to be made between local ‘freedom’ and a central ‘framework’. In order to address this very complex problem, we partnered with the IT leadership team to develop a Group IT strategy that would support the delivery and execution of this new digital and technology vision for the organisation.

They considered us the right strategic partner for them because of our comprehensive knowledge of emerging industry trends and technology/platform responses to disruption. They were confident we could help them successfully challenge the status of in-flight technology programmes and improve ways of working in IT to help them move to a sustainable digital future.

The challenge

They were looking to drive profitable business growth by enabling a single view of the customer, at the same time as improving the efficiency of their core, legacy infrastructure. Although Group IT were developing a number of technology solutions and reforms, local IT teams would need to continue to enjoy the freedom to adapt technologies to meet their market needs.

The approach

The key approach was engaging with senior stakeholders and bringing next generation capabilities from Elixirr to work alongside their executives and staff to support their step-change in technology capability.

In partnership with their Group CIO and the IT leadership team, we supported this company in the development of a group-wide IT strategy that aligned to their overall business strategy. This outlined the agreed strategic vision for technology, the key priorities for Group IT over the next 2-3 years and highlighted the need for new ways of working between teams to enable the success of this transition. The strategy enforced the need for change, the need to exploit emerging technologies, and the need to develop and tailor technologies in local markets.

Central to our approach was the customer journey and experience, aligned with agile and responsive capabilities of the travel company, and ‘end to end’ review from front end customer experience to back end capabilities.

To develop this strategy, we facilitated workshops and one-to-one discussions with the IT leadership team to really understand the current state. This enabled us to help them agree the appropriate set up and new ways of working for IT going forward.

We worked closely with the leadership team to identify which IT processes would be crucial to the successful approval, design, development, deployment and delivery of technology solutions. The first of these processes involved a prioritisation framework and stage-gating process to manage the growing business demands on IT for new technologies in different markets.

This process now ensures technology programmes are approved in a coordinated way and that each programme is set up for success in terms of cost, business buy-in and resourcing. We further tested this design with a number of pipeline and in-flight programmes to ensure it could be implemented quickly.

In parallel to developing this process, we engaged the business to develop a relevant service management framework (including inbound and outbound services) that was required to support deployed technology solutions in various markets. This service management framework has been immediately used by Group Marketing, as they look to operationalise new technology platforms.

The value

The outcomes of this project include:

  • The review and identification of the business strategy and its implications for technology. Engagement with C-suite executives to agree the way forward.
  • Development and deployment of an agreed and coherent IT strategy, and the associated architectural blueprints and roadmaps relating to platform-based principles.
  • Development and implementation of ‘next generation’ IT operating model and transformed, agile ways of working to ensure responsive and relevant IT capabilities. Consolidation of strategic partnerships.
  • The strategy focused on enabling local divisions whilst enabling consistency and scalability: ‘Freedom in a Framework’.
  • Consolidation of multiple data centres with a ‘Cloud First’ strategy.