Why airport operational knowledge matters

With our solution Better Airport® we are delivering a solution, not a system. Our team consists of airport planning professionals, not IT implementation consultants. So why is distinction that important?

Implementation of larger software solutions including multiple stakeholders is difficult. The chart below outlines the success rate within selected project categories.

Source: Harvey Nash/KPMG Creative CIO survey 2016.
Sample: The survey of 3,352 CIOs and technology leaders was conducted between December 12, 2015 and April 10, 2016, across 82 countries.

As an example, only 37% of ERP roll-outs are deemed successful. One of the main drivers for the lack of success is a lack of understanding of the desired results and an insufficient understanding of the business requirements. At Copenhagen Optimization, each member of our core team has solid experience from Copenhagen Airport prior to being part of Copenhagen Optimization. We have worked with more than 20 airports worldwide on optimizing the airport operation by implementation of our solution in combination with our consultancy services. We have not yet had an unsuccessful implementation and a key driver of this is our ability to fully understand the requirements and desired outcomes from our clients.

The operation of airports is one of the most complicated operations in the world. Characterized by a large set of stakeholders, frequent updates to demand and supply, and multiple touchpoints for the passengers, deep airport operational knowledge is a key differentiator for a successful implementation of solutions for planning and execution of the airport operation.
A guiding principle in our implementation approach is the Gartner hierarchy on Analytics Maturity presented below.

To deliver the full value from our services, we ascertain that our clients can cover all four dimensions of the Analytics Maturity process. Especially the last step in the Analytics Maturity process is difficult – namely the ability to take actions in the future which will change the predicted outcome. An example from airports is the widespread use of sensor and WiFi data to create predictions in the future. Whereas these providers enable the prediction with varying accuracy, they all struggle when it comes to directing actions. For instance, when predicting additional passengers at a security checkpoint, this must be converted to the effect on the number of open lanes. Once converted to a change in the number of lanes, this must be checked against available staffing. If there is insufficient staffing, it must be considered whether passengers can be moved to another checkpoint or staff numbers can be increased. Lastly, the correct action must be taken by the manager. Our software platform Better Airport® assists the manager in making the right decision by outlining all the possible options and recommending an action to take.
Another guiding principle for us is “Operate to plan”. Operate to plan means that an operational plan must always be followed which in turn requires to operational plan to be updated in real-time and be accurately calculated based on a validated set of input parameters. Part of our implementation approach is fine tuning of our operational plans in Better Airport® to ascertain that these plans match reality and can be followed on day of operation.


A last key element in successful implementation is the understanding that the business will change as part of the implementation of a new software solution like Better Airport®. Change management is therefore a key component of our implementation. As part of the preparation for our implementation, we carry out a Planning Maturity Assessment where we assess the current planning of each operational department and compare this to the best practice planning approach embedded in Better Airport®. We outline the differences to best practice and develop a plan guiding the change required as part of the implementation.

Combined, these three elements ascertain a successful implementation of Better Airport®.

AUTHOR: Kasper Hounsgaard
Kasper has a M.Sc. in Economics and has for years been a main driver in business development in Maersk, CPH Airport and Copenhagen Optimization. Kasper is a natural in identifying new areas of interest and has extensive experience in developing and implementing solutions with proven results. With responsibility for Consultancy and Business Development, Kasper excels in quickly understanding your challenges and adapting our ideas and experience to identify ways of overcoming the challenges.
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