Using Technology To Create Strategic Options Management Essay

This paper is about how competitory kineticss forced an organisation to change its behavior and about how it used engineering to implement alteration and remain competitory in the infinite. It assesses the organisations capableness to accommodate to alterations in its concern theoretical account or so to drive such alterations. We focus on the air hoses sector in Saudi Arabia and on the national bearer.

Saudi Airlines is the oldest air hose in the Middle East, but it has lost its prima place to other regional participants such as Emirates. The air hose ‘s grosss in 2009 were $ 5bn ( californium. United ‘s grosss of $ 16bn and British Airways $ 12bn ) , in 2009 the air hose carried 2.8 million riders. By turnover it is the 2nd largest bearer in the part after Emirates and is one of the top 50 air hoses in the universe. Despite a strong top-line fiscal place, the air hose is under menace from new entrants like Etihad, Qatar, Emirates and regional price reduction air hoses.

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The Saudi authorities has committed to privatising the air hose and to the go oning to deregulating of the industry. In 2006 the authorities began deregulating by leting two private air hoses to get down domestic operations. Saudi Airlines was non ready to confront the competition. Working patterns were non-standard and inefficiencies were rampant. Costss were out of control. Its fleet was aging as were the majority of its employees. Akoum ( 2009 ) , “ In Saudi Arabia, despite the more rapid gait of advancement during the past few old ages, the denationalization procedure is yet to be accelerated, and public-sector rehabilitation attempts still represent a much-needed undertaking. ” The success of the Saudi Airlines denationalization has influence good beyond air power and would give the authorities the impulse needed to force its other denationalization programs. Saudi Airlines must better efficiencies, cut down costs and beef up its competitory place. Government subsidies have been diminishing since 1995. The air hose must be self sufficient and its competitory place sustainable. Technology is seen as a manner to transform the organisation and is a cardinal portion of the denationalization scheme.

A new CEO ( Khalid Almulhem ) took over in 2006. His authorization was to better efficiencies, transform the concern and fix it for denationalization. The undertaking is still afoot and is non expected to be complete until 2012. Technology is seen as cardinal to this program. The challenge should non be underestimated. In recent history the remainder of industry has been leveraging engineering much more efficaciously than Saudi Airlines. The Saudi Airline ‘s SABRE ( rider reserve ) system has been operational for less than one twelvemonth while American Airlines have been selling SABRE to their rivals for 24 old ages. These rivals have a history of non merely having comparable systems, but construing the information they provide. Saudi Airlines can bridge the ownership spread in a few old ages, but the information spread will be much more ambitious to get the better of.

The entire engineering programme CAPEX value is $ 600m. This figure excludes non engineering denationalization related investings, such as the purchase of new aircraft. It is the largest air power engineering modernisation programme in history.

A corporate restructuring enterprise is under manner in which all non-core concern units ( including IT ) are being divested. All concern units will leverage Saudi Airlines IT services as a standard engineering platform and one time divested would run on a chargeback theoretical account. The concern units will perpetrate to a five twelvemonth services contract from Saudi Airlines IT, after this they would be free to choose any seller from the market. This will increase competition and better public presentation. By so Saudi Airlines IT must supply a full catalogue of services at market rates or above mean quality. Both cost efficiencies and quality have been challenges for this organisation to day of the month.

Figure: Saudi Airlines Corporate Post Privatization Structure ( Source: KPMG board briefing paperss )

The Need

Saudi Airlines faced many of the issues Ross et Al ( 2006 ) described as diagnostic of companies whose substructure was neglecting. There was no consistent set of policies and processs ; as such fiscal information was inconsistent. The concern lacked the ability to map without important regular hard currency influxs from authorities. The de-regulation of the air power sector placed the company at hazard of losing out to planetary and local entrants. The concern lacked legerity. Change programmes floundered and strategic undertakings were slow to acquire off the land ( if at all ) . The IT and substructure division ( Tamkeen ) was seen as a constriction by the remainder of the concern frequently ensuing in a deficiency of required information to back up critical determination devising. A important sum of manual informations processing was taking topographic point and there were no steps for value the company gained from its systems.

All of these factors could hold continued for decennaries, nevertheless, the authorities had merely achieved great success with deregulating and denationalization of the telecommunications sector and had its sights on the air power sector. Saudi Airlines had ne’er considered that domestic air flight could be profitable. A authorities implemented monetary value cap meant that outputs per kilometer where one tierce that that of European and North American domestic flights. Initially the debut of rivals was seen as a positive thing ; leting Saudi Airlines to concentrate on profitable paths. But, in 2009 it became clear that it was possible to be profitable on domestic paths. Nasir ( Saudi National Air Services ) a price reduction bearer had grown enormously since its launch in 2007. In 2009 Nasir began regional/international flights. To get by with dynamic replacers like Nasir Saudi Airlines has to alter at a faster gait than anyone had anticipated.

Resources Brought to Bear

The Saudi Airlines IT maestro program has three aims ; to transform the operating theoretical account, to standardise and heighten the endeavor architecture ; and to beef up IT administration and alliance between engineering and the concern. To present IT led alteration Saudi Airlines have engaged with system planimeters, direction advisers and substructure suppliers. The transmutation affects Saudi Airlines operations in 53 states and 144 metropoliss. Equally good as upgrading waiters and substructure the full terminal user platform is being upgraded and 20,000 new workstations are being deployed across the universe.

Figure: Saudi Airlines IT Components ( Source: KPMG: IT Steering Documents )

One of the best illustrations of how Saudi Airlines will utilize engineering to better public presentation is in the country of output direction. Saudi Airlines computing machines reexamine historical rider booking informations comparing monetary values against rivals to calculate demand, make up one’s mind pricing and program paths. Yield direction is a constituent of the SABRE package implemented in 2009. Saudi Airlines biggest challenge is now, utilizing and construing the extra information it possesses. It will vie with rivals on the footing of the usage and non merely the ownership of information.

We see when using the four box theoretical account proposed by Sampler and Short ( 1994 ) , that Saudi Airlines shared services – high experience half life and high information half life follows the tendency of most IT success narratives. Flight Opss, rider direction and programming are illustrations of short information half life maps. In these countries it is important that Saudi Airlines focus non merely on procedural reengineering but besides information flow reengineering and bettering determination devising. Saudi Airlines has been under a great trade of opposition to alter in these keys countries of the concern. Passenger direction in specific has been immune because it has been run historically as an independent entity.

The nature of the activities performed by gross accounting ( which is shuting linked to airport and route direction ) remains the same after implementing the IT maestro program. However, the bulk of this work had been performed manually. This represents a big displacement non in the cardinal information but in the type of expertness required. Interestingly, this supports Sampler and Short ‘s hypothesis that value from both expertness and information is destroyed. Expertness being destroyed because of the displacement to utilizing engineering in a antecedently offline activity and information destroyed because the value is maximizing profitableness from paths and non merely executing regulative undertakings.

Figure: Expertise/Information Half life mapped onto the SV Architecture

Saudi Airlines had outsourced the bulk of its IT and substructure support to Wipro ( AMEinfo, 2008 ) . However due to Saudi authorities ordinances, whilst Saudi Airlines remains a authorities entity the company must return all their fiscal processing to the Kingdom. Wisely Saudi Airlines have elected to outsource procedures that do non impact their strategic control. Hence substructure and financials were selected instead than rider direction. This is consistent with the Selective Outsourcing Strategy of Stewart et Al, ( 2002 ) for maximizing value from outsourcing.

Competitive Advantage and Rivals

IT plays an of import function in the air hose industry. Downstream facets of the industry are highly information intensive. Neo ( 1998 ) noted, “ … non merely should concern scheme determine IS resource planning, but IS resources should be considered for their possible impact on concern scheme. ” Today, Saudi Airlines views its rider direction system as cardinal to its IT and concern scheme. This was non ever the instance as we will discourse. In contrast fiscal processing, while of import is non a high value map. High value ( multi-loop acquisition ) maps will stay in-house, while low value ( single-loop acquisition ) maps will be outsourced.

Figure: Competitive Advantage Systems ( Source: KPMG IT Steering Documents )

Saudi Airlines investings in engineering enable it to raise barriers to entry, to raise client ‘s outlooks and do it hard for extra bearers to come in the market. They leverage their size and purchasing power to present quality at low cost and as such maintain much of their client base. They must wholly change the balance of power in the value concatenation. To win they must make efficiencies and thereby cut down costs, distinguish their service by bettering quality and concentrate on their strengths – a spiritual bearer with tight integrating along a alone value concatenation.

Since deregulating in 2006, there have been two rivals in the domestic market. Sama and Nasir. Sama tried to emulate Saudi Airlines and construct a fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft. Nasir on the other manus favoured smaller ( and cheaper ) aircraft. Their fleet is based on Embraer aircraft ( a Brazilian maker ) . Both Nasir and Sama used a little cell of multi skilled employees. Saudi Airlines operates wholly a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft with a big contingent of skilled focused employees. In August 2010, after three old ages of intense competition Sama declared bankruptcy. Why did they neglect and Nasir win?

In 2007 Saudi Airlines gave off many of its take off slots to Sama. Nasir was 2nd to establish and lost out on these paths. Sama saw this as a manner to come in the domestic market and grow. Saudi Airlines as a manner to go out an unprofitable monetary value capped market. The committedness to serve these paths meant that Sama set aside important financess buying a big figure of expensive aircraft. Sama overinvested in operations and underinvested in engineering.

Delaies having their planes meant they did n’t hold adequate planes to fulfill demand. Poor systems meant that they could n’t pull off client demand or turn around their stock fast plenty. Customers where often bumped off flights, flights cancelled, seats double booked ( much to the writers dismay ) . Demand started to fall, hard currency dried up, the authorities refused to bail them out and the concern closed. In an dry turn the last Sama flight from Riyadh on August 24 was cancelled.

In contrast, Nasir air began with a individual path from Riyadh to Jeddah. It had plenty aircraft to run into modest demand and it remains in concern today. By standardising on the Embraer platform costs were kept low. By purchasing and renting new aircraft care issues minimized. Nasir struck a better balance between operations and information. Their lower priced stock allowed them to concentrate on utilizing engineering to better the client experience. They were the first domestic air hose to let clients to publish their ain embarkation base on ballss.

Prior to the debut of these two air hoses Saudi Airlines did non run e-ticketing, self service or web based engagement services. These where seen as cannibalizing the bureau concern. However, once it became clear that clients valued the convenience they were speedy to follow the channel. Nasir are now sing traveling into trueness programmes, hotels and sails. The challenge for these companies is how to better the quality of their information and make a concern theoretical account that leverages this information creatively whilst carry throughing client demands. Sampler and Short ( 1998 ) :

“ Failure to pull off information and information-related resources can bring forth unwanted side-effects, among them the possible for increased mistakes in executing, hapless quality determination devising, and deficiency of efficient integrating and/or flexibleness among organisational fractional monetary units and persons to accommodate to environmental alteration. ”

Value Delivered

Earlier this twelvemonth Saudi Airlines VP of Technology asked KPMG to set about a value audit. The intent of this audit was twofold. First, to keep sellers to account for the systems them have implemented and secondly to let Saudi Airlines IT to quantify the value of the services it provides, thereby back uping the program to bear down for its services. The audit is non yet complete but early feedback suggests that the organisation is non having the benefits it would hold hoped for.

Figure: IT Economic Value

Using a study built around the dimensions: Operational, Managerial, Strategic, IT Infrastructure and Organizational ; KPMG are measuring the value expected and the value delivered from Saudi Airlines systems. This analysis is based on Shang & A ; Seddon ( 2002 ) . Where possible KPMG are gauging in dollar footings the economic value, where it is impossible to quantify in dollar footings the analysis is presented as a leaden index.

The rule weakness of the programme so far has been its credence by the concern units ( viz. : operational, direction, strategic and organisational ) . The concern units have been defying the new systems. Many have criticized the Director General for an evident deficiency of respect for alteration direction. However, demographics may be on his side. The Saudi Airlines old guard are retiring and as their figure diminishes the trust on old ways of working besides diminishes and the importance of the new systems increases. During this transformative clip new systems are being introduced ( and resisted ) and old systems abandoned. Passengers face sporadic cancellations and holds. Unlike their fallen rival Saudi Airlines has adequate fat to get by. However get bying comes at a monetary value and ca n’t go on everlastingly. Experience shows that disregarding alteration direction is unsafe. Powell and Dent-Michallef, ( 1997 ) :

“ Merely throwing computing machines at an bing concern job, does non do it to be re-engineered. In fact, the abuse of engineering can barricade re-engineering raw by reenforcing old ways of thought and old behavior forms ” ,


Saudi Airlines was late come ining the first stage of the information revolution ; merely now do they be after to leverage systems and procedures in order to acquire better information. To vie on a planetary graduated table they must rapidly leverage that information and start to do better concern determinations. They must incorporate concern and engineering schemes, mentalities and squads. The absence of a alteration programme guarantees the bringing of the engineering but at a high cost and if non finally recognized hazards this being an all or nil venture – neither strategic nor transformational. Enabling IT in Saudi Airlines is non plenty. To make a sustainable advantage enablement must be done in analogue with organisational alteration and increased coaction along the full value concatenation ; this is consistent with Powell and Dent-Michallef ( 1997 ) .

Today Saudi Airlines VP of Technology works closely with the Director General in order to incorporate concern and engineering visions. Technology and in peculiar rider direction is seen as a competitory advantage. However formal constructions must be put in topographic point to enable this to go on one time their term of office is over. This is a important demand for IT administration.

Saudi Airlines IT has been slow to construct concern continuity and catastrophe recovery capableness. If Saudi Airlines IT is to offer services on a competitory commercial footing this hazard must be addressed. In fact, the absence of such systems or programs places the full organisation and venture at considerable hazard. As information becomes more cardinal to the organisation, so does the importance of doing certain that information is available when needed.

Saudi Airlines was ranked 2nd lowest in Alwahaishi et al analyses of Gulf Airlines websites. A client centric, easy to interact with civilization has failed to develop and it is shown in the manner it presents engineering to its clients. The focal point of executive direction on engineering and non on civilization and behaviours compounds this misalignment.

Given the big CAPEX investing in engineering, the purpose to go a solution supplier to air power and non air power sectors could make important value to Saudi Airlines IT and the state. Not plenty thought has been given to which services will be provided. In fact under these fortunes outsourcing becomes a cost of sale instead than a cost economy. This may be less of an issue if there are chances to leverage cloud and inter-cloud services.

Saudi Airlines must set the client at the Centre of their operations. They must concentrate both on making new capablenesss and incorporating disparate maps. Many of the new capablenesss presently being implemented merely fit the bing capablenesss of rivals. Their current scheme supports denationalization and meeting best pattern. Saudia Airlines must look beyond this to accomplish superior returns ( based on the resource based position of the house ) . They must concentrate on bettering information flows and non merely transactional or procedure flows.

As air travel hazards going increasing commoditised the air hose should research value added services. Integrated, land transit, hotels and visa processing would be a good start. This would capture a portion of the SAR 30bn ( $ 8bn ) spent yearly by pilgrims sing Makkah for Hajj ( pilgrim’s journey ) and Umrah ( visit ) . The new systems provide the vehicle for this. In fact, this figure could increase to SAR 60bn ( $ 16bn ) if they bringing of these services was better coordinated ( Shaikh 2010 ) .

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