Saudi Airlines, among the largest airlines in the Middle East, has implemented a business intelligence (BI) solution with Microsoft Corp. that includes Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Power BI for Office 365, Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 to analyze, visualize and share data in a unified way, which allows the company to have better business visibility, more engaged employees, and projected savings of millions of dollars per year in the process.
This deployment is helping the company gain insight to better manage different aspects of the global aviation operations, and once totally completed, it will also provide management with the necessary consolidated insights into subsidiaries such as Saudi Cargo, Saudi Catering and Saudi Ground Services, and is uniting business information spanning across multiple systems at the airline.
"Before we worked with Microsoft, we had scattered information everywhere. We had many different business intelligence and incentive solutions, separate training and no standard platform to run all the environments," said Muhammad Albakri, executive vice president of Finance, Saudi Airlines. "The new BI solution from Microsoft maximizes the value of information coming from multiple systems. We've started to run analyses and provide results to executives to help them track trends and react quickly and proactively," he added.
Beginning in 2007, Saudi Airlines spent five years on a major overhaul of its IT infrastructure to automate and integrate the airline's core planning, scheduling, marketing and sales - including e-commerce, operations and back-office functions. It needed a business intelligence solution that could provide an integrated view of its data across its growing and expanding operations. By working with Microsoft Consulting Services, Saudi Airlines was able to implement the foundation of its business intelligence solution in just 90 days, which provided fast payback time to recoup the investment.
The solution is able to pull disparate data together for multiple sources for analysis, and provides dynamic dashboards, enterprise reports and customer reports that allow executives to view any subset of information and any level of detail they require. In addition, the airline is using a Windows 8.1 app to give a consolidated view of the data for its highly mobile workforce.
Since the implementation, the airline is seeing improved operational functions, such as passengers sales, revenue accounting, customer service, marketing and fraud prevention, which has increased Saudi Airline's overall efficiencies globally and saved millions of dollars annually.
With highly flexible, rich information now readily available through its business intelligence solution, Saudi Airlines has clear visibility into everything going on within its business, with its customers and in the marketplace, giving the airline a strong advantage over competitors.
"For us, the new BI solution is like turning on the headlights of a car on a curvy, dark road," Albakri said. "Without it, it really would be a sort of guessing game for how to tone our marketing or determine our pricing strategy or our service offering. So for Saudi Airlines it is a competitive advantage; it is a valuable tool," Albakri added.