Digital Transformation: Expensive Words… Do They Really Mean Something?

By Jean Luc Devisscher
28th October, 2021

A recent McKinsey study points towards two elements that are critical for the future of any business:

  • The move to digital transformation
  • The interpersonal relations within any organization as seen by employees and managers

Post-COVID, businesses should adopt more digital processes ranging from moving to web-based solutions to the use of digital communication to interact with the end user. They must ensure that internal processes are digitized to move faster and become more resilient.

Digital transformation has been part of most airports’ strategy for years but has often been limited to the front end (passenger services, security, etc.) or viewed in terms of updating or upgrading systems like the AODB or FIDS. In many instances, however, the end-to-end view has been omitted.

This is understandable as a lot of processes do not belong to one person within a company; they belong to a series of people that all have their own responsibilities and objectives. This is the area airports should focus on: introducing one approach which covers all processes, from people going to the airport to their luggage being loaded in the luggage compartment. Introducing A-CDM can be a part of this solution as all stakeholders need to work together to become efficient and implementing A-CDM is an ideal way to have common goals. In an A-CDM environment, every stakeholder is part of the overall approach and thus also responsible to achieve their targets.

Interpersonal relations involve relations between executives (managers) and employees. Employers may sometimes overestimate the effectiveness of their support and training efforts. There is thus talk about disconnect between the two levels (managers and employees), often related to two worlds heading into separate directions. Post-COVID, the rising cost-management priority can hinder workforce support and often work-from-home tools significantly lag behind workforce needs. Here too, a unified method of managing different stakeholders makes great sense on all levels. Employees need to feel that what they do leads to a positive impact on airport operations. This can be done by making the roles of each stakeholder much clearer, making them understand how they contribute and how technology can help them avoid uncoordinated actions or time lost due to the unavailability of information. Streamlined processes and matching IT systems give a better meaning to what each employee does and how this positively impacts the airport’s operations. This is why, at EMMA Systems, we consider training critical so people see why such processes and systems get implemented, what the result is of a unique view on airport operations and how this contributes to efficiency.

There are a lot of challenges ahead for businesses and airports and airport stakeholders but there is also a lot of low-hanging fruit. Unified processes, great stakeholder collaboration and a flexible system will ensure that these challenges become great opportunities for the airport.

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