In travel and transportation most companies today don’t look at customer journeys as a collaborative exercise. They consider their job done when passengers are delivered safely to their appointed destination for their segment. A railway, for example, may only care that it has moved passengers safely from station A to station B. It ignores the fact station B is an airport, and the passengers it dropped off are actually headed to dozens of different destinations.
To deliver real value to customers, companies need to surmount the cultural and technical obstacles to data sharing to create a true transportation ecosystem. The idea of bridging systems, breaking down silos and sharing data with others raises the fear of companies losing their individual value propositions. The reality, however, is that being part of a connected transportation platform will generate more value than it destroys and will create entirely new opportunities for companies that never before existed. What’s needed is a digital enablement strategy.
Looking across a chain of events
Digital transformation is built around an information architecture that enables companies to look across a chain of travel events for an individual customer or package to identify problems, predict the impact, and automatically develop and execute solutions that keep passengers and freight moving.
New services can be built around a platform like this that help companies differentiate their offerings or add value in new ways, through mobile tracking solutions, or by using analytics to improve warehousing fulfillment and distribution. For examples, sensors in a refrigerated freight car that can sense an elevation in temperature could trigger a maintenance request to repair a problem or move cargo to another car before it spoils.
Passenger transportation companies can tap into these same tools to find ways to extend their brands and expand into the multiple modes of transportation available to passengers. Digital enablement helps companies understand the full passenger journey and allows for a seamless approach, even if the company is not part of the entire chain of events. A hotel notified that incoming guests are experiencing delays could offer weary travelers an added comfort or convenience as a way to differentiate their customer service.
Capabilities like this don’t require wholesale integration. They can be developed and delivered through loosely connected systems that share selected data, understand the most important attributes of a customer’s journey, and have the awareness to detect issues, the context to recognize the impact and the intelligence to take action.