Having been voted the world’s best airport by airline and airport review site Skytrax for eight consecutive years, Changi Airport has earned a reputation for its stellar customer experience. One of the key reasons for this is an efficient management of operational data. A close partnership with data management and analytics expert Oak Consulting over the past six years has enabled the airport to translate data such as plane movement, ground handling activities, and passenger volume into useful actionable insights, giving it a better idea of how to ensure satisfactory customer experience.
Oak Consulting’s executive director and chief technology officer Palani Selvam, and executive director and chief commercial officer Victor Ng, share their thoughts on why data analytics is an important tool in accelerating business growth and how they continue to deliver innovative solutions.
How did Oak Consulting approach a large-scale project like the Singapore Changi Airport?
Mr Ng: We believe that in order to be on-time, on-budget, and on-specs with our deliverables, we must have foresight. Extensive research was done prior to the commencement of the project to identify the potential risks and critical paths that require greater attention. This helps to prevent interruptions to work, hence a quality and smooth-sailing project implementation.
Fostering good relationships with stakeholders such as third-party data system vendors and key internal users at Changi Airport Group (CAG) is also helpful in keeping processes efficient for the implementation. C-level endorsements are vital, especially for long-term projects that undergo different growth phases. Having gained CAG’s full support from the early stages of the project, half our battle was already won.
Why do you think data analytics is especially important in today’s landscape?
Mr Palani: Data was already vastly available 15 years ago. However, its value was limited due to a lack of technologies that could run data analytics platforms cost-effectively. Today, with increasing access to data integration and analytics technologies, the ability to break down data and turn it into useful insights is becoming more common across individuals and organisations. It is important for businesses to leverage data analytics to stay ahead of the competition. Without data in today’s digital age, progress will come to a halt.
IT is a fast-moving industry. How does Oak Consulting keep up?
Mr Palani: We place great emphasis on understanding the client’s mission and long-term directions before we commence implementation of solutions. This brings value to the table because it gives us foresight and enables us to have a better idea of how to implement solutions that are future-proof. Our team of experts are also regularly re-trained as part of the continuous education programme, keeping them abreast of the latest technological developments.
What are some interesting projects Oak Consulting is currently working on?
Mr Ng: We play an active role in equipping the Singapore public sector with data management and analytics capabilities. Many of the public sector agencies have embarked on a digital transformation journey in line with the Smart Nation initiative and we are happy to give a hand in cultivating a data-driven culture in our public services sector.
Mr Palani: We are also in the process of setting up a research and development and innovation incubation centre with a renowned university in South India. Through the incubation centre, we hope to work closely with the university faculty and its research students to develop new AI-driven advanced analytics solutions for our clients.