M ost companies don’t leverage data the way they should. Problems, anomalies, opportunities — all lurk in the terabytes of data organizations all too often relinquish to information silos, never connecting the dots that reveal greater efficiencies and lucrative revenue streams. Working with one of the world’s dominant airlines, Booz Allen Hamilton scientists, using descriptive analytics, did exactly that — and more.
The network planning group is in some ways the beating heart of an airline, plotting where planes fly and when, figuring out the best ways to route hundreds of millions of passengers around the country.
But how to best use the reams of data generated by all this activity to learn more about customer behavior, operations, scheduling and pricing? “There is no clear problem statement that we tackled,” says Booz Allen data scientist Alex Cosmas. “The whole problem was [the airline] didn’t know what the problem statements were.”
Booz Allen’s expertise in descriptive analytics led the airline to broaden its relationship with the firm, from developing a specific solution to helping it devise a strategic vision. What kind of system for organizing corporate data should it build, and when? And what’s the best path to achieve those goals?
Immersing themselves in the business, Booz Allen data scientists began to understand the airline’s systems and customers, who books flights when, how often — patterns and anomalies were identified, which led to insights on things such as booking curves and whether customers would pay premiums for certain kinds of offerings.
“The analytics process they followed revealed to us something we never would have thought of on our own,” says an executive with the airline. “The work that Booz did for us showed we need to be better with overall analytics.”
Instead of asking how the data can answer a specific question, the airline’s executives are enabling the data to define a path forward. Network planning has a couple dozen unique capabilities — gates, curfews, staffing rules and the like — and they need to be integrated.
Data science and descriptive analytics accomplishes that.
“What [Booz Allen] is doing now is helping us figure out what our capabilities should be — but we have a lot of unique capabilities that need to be blended together,” says an airline executive. “There’s a science behind managing the constraints of our business.”
Looking to define an analytics path forward for your organization? We can help. That’s because Booz Allen’s data scientists are attacking challenges and working toward the future, a future where anything is possible.