Air France-KLM: the challenge of full digital integration

Question: How can we achieve full digital integration to enable better customer experiences?

Consumer expectations evolve almost as rapidly as the technologies that facilitate them, challenging businesses to innovate and fulfill these expectations at speed. While businesses need to roll out new value propositions quickly enough to keep people satisfied, they must also take a pragmatic approach toward existing IT architecture. But for most major corporations, legacy IT systems remain a fact of life. Existing architecture is not something to be redesigned overnight. Such sweeping changes are costly, time-consuming and difficult to roll out, especially in large organizations with many business units.

Nevertheless, Air France-KLM have set an ambitious goal – to empower their employees with an IT system that provides context-relevant data whenever and wherever they need it. To achieve this, the IT infrastructure needs to be up to the task. That’s why the Digital Enablement Platform project was created – to unlock all that vital information and make sure it’s always available to the organization.

Solution: Introduce new services on a project-by-project basis

A conventional approach would be to leverage the axis of your organization and your operating model and force the change that way. We deliberately took a different approach: we wanted to get our talent on board in a participative way, so we used the project and the concept as a vehicle for change. To that end, we broke the process down into three steps:

  1. Sketching out the long-term goals in rough, generalized terms;
  2. Filling in the details for each separate short-term goal as you go;
  3. Making sure everybody is committed to short-term execution.

The big picture is great, but we need to deliver today. That’s where the focus should be. Everybody needs to be involved in the execution. People need to ask themselves: What are the best next steps? How can we translate the big picture into actionable short-term success?

The solution to this impasse is to introduce new services on a project-by-project basis. By setting up projects that address the most pressing business needs with new service architecture, it’s possible to deliver fast and practical value to users. Focusing on achieving solid results in the here and now gives team members a clear view of their own added value and makes working together as fun as possible. In turn, that generates more support, as others come to realize the benefits of project-oriented service architecture design.

"Everybody needs to be involved in the execution. People need to ask themselves: what are the best next steps? How can we translate the big picture into actionable short-term success?"

Results: Experimenting constantly and embracing the new approach

When Air France-KLM started working on the Digital Enablement Platform, we planted a seed in the organization. Although the seed hasn’t yet grown into a tree, it has definitely put down strong roots. We have managed to build a lot of support from people at every level of the organization. Not only are they embracing the new approach, but they also understand the purpose and concept behind it.

That said, we are getting very close. All the elements involved have been tested extensively, in small practical steps.  Every step of the way, we have learned how important it is to strengthen existing connections and make new ones. A meaningful, actionable relationship between the short term and the long term, between the theory and the execution, and between levels in the organization - that’s the key to success.

Switching to service-based architectures favors a pragmatic approach, one that leverages all the talent at your disposal to create real-world value for your users. To that end, it is better to experiment constantly than to design endlessly. Each success paves the way for the next, building momentum and support as you move toward your final vision. And delivering added value in the here and now is the key to keeping that vision viable.

Related opportunities

  • Would you be confident enough in your knowledge to advise a company to follow a full digital transformation? Maybe Strategy & Consulting could be a good fit for you
  • Do you think you would enjoy finding effective solutions for complex technology implementation problems? Then maybe you would be great in Operations or Technology
  • Would you want to explore the possibilities that come with new technologies or develop fantastic user experiences? Try Interactive or Technology

Our recruiters are happy to help you navigate the application process, so get in touch!


A bouquet of innovation, online customization and service

View project

The army taught me some of life's most valuable lessons

View project

Adjusting to the new normal

View project

Finding my professional niche

View project

Learning to enjoy life

View project