Oracle OpenWorld 2015 - Kenya Airways goes from cloudy silos to a Customer Data Hub

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez October 27, 2015
Kenya Airways is using a number Oracle clouds to engage with its customers. But these ended up being in disparate silos. It now has a data hub to tie the customer journey together.

kenya airways
The growth in enterprise cloud software has allowed businesses to interact with their customers in a more real-time, scalable, user friendly way. The adoption of cloud has been especially strong across marketing, sales and CRM applications. The customer-facing applications.

However, the adoption of these ‘off-the-shelf’ apps has not resulted in businesses using less applications than they had been using previously. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Bill Miller, Director of MDM at Oracle, said today at Oracle OpenWorld that as companies have invested in a bunch of new cloud apps to take advantage of the new way of doing things, this has resulted in a fragmented view of the customer for the enterprise. He said:

As the ecosystem expanded, the applications that a company has has not been decreasing, it’s been increasing. The amount of data that shows up that is disparate and incomplete, gets more complex. Ultimately, you think you have one customer named Bob Smith. But Bob Smith shows up 50, 60, maybe 100 times across your entire enterprise. So the question is: will the real Bob Smith please stand up?

And if the enterprise has a fragmented view of the customer, it’s no surprise that the customer is then likely to have a fragmented experience with the enterprise.

That was the experience of Kenya Airways, one of Africa’s leading airlines, which has been running for 37 years, has 4,300 employees and carries approximately 1 million passengers every year. Kenya Airlines had invested in a number of Oracle clouds to better interact with its customers - including Eloqua for marketing, Fusion for sales and RightNow for service.

However, this created silos. Julie Mandu, Customer Care Manager at Kenya Airways, said:

Traditionally we had a loyalty programme, but this has been so operational. We decided to come up with a vision where we would like to delight our guests consistently and inspire people as we do this.

We want to turn moments into memories for our guests at all times. How can we do this consistently? We can only do this by getting one unified voice across the customer journey.

A single view of the customer

Kenya Airways embarked on a project to integrate all of the company’s clouds into one central Oracle-based Customer Data Hub, which it hopes will allow it to deliver the desired consistent experience to its guests. Mandu said:

Our biggest challenge was that we did not have one repository system, one data hub, to capture all the data of the guests. We had each application at each point of the guest journey, making it very difficult to capture any delightful moments for the guests. Or at least see the 360 degree view.

But for all this we discovered that we required data, we did not have data. Data was residing in so many systems and so many applications across the business and this data was not insightful, it was not making any sense for us. We could not make any decisions with it. So we came up with the Customer Data Hub.


However, Mandu admitted that the task of getting all of this data together in one place, whilst also making it usable, wasn’t a straightforward task. She said:

This was not easy. Initially when we started we thought this project we thought it would take a week. But it’s not easy. Because it’s not just about data, it’s about quality data. And you have to cleanse all your data. We had to start this afresh and get data from mainly our booking engine and our departure engine.

But by doing this, Kenya Airways has been able to take a more proactive approach to how it deals with customer incidents and to handling customers throughout the customer journey. Mandu said:

The Customer Data Hub has helped us a lot for disruption management. We are now able to communicate to our guests prior to their departure, we are able to let you know when you are ready to check in, we are able to let you know when the flight is delayed and all the history comes and is enriched on the data hub.

Wherever you go at any point of our network, everybody is able to access the same data and therefore be able to give a consistent service to the guest.”

Gaining a 360 view of the customer, this is very critical for us. At any point we are able to understand what is happening to the customer. And above all we are able to engage in a more intimate way with the guest because we are getting a lot of data on what the guests want, what the special requirements are and this helps us give excellent service. It allows us to wow them at the points they’re not expecting.

Not only this, but customers are now getting the same information and experience across all the Kenya

Airways touch-points, whereas previously different areas of the business may have held different pieces of critical data. One example Mandu gave of how the airline is generally making flying Kenya Airways a better experience for customers, is by remembering their birthdays. She said:

We’ve just started this journey and we are continuing to enrich that data. One of the iDelight moments [we have introduced], is we are now able to get the birthdays of the guests and those are printed on the boarding passes. Guests are given this warm moment across all the touch points, from checking in to boarding the flight.

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