“We are delivering a lot more to our users and are doing it more intelligently. We’re creating the tools to understand and serve our customers better.”
– Wilson Go, CIO, Philippine Airlines
The dramatic forces reshaping the world during the COVID-19 pandemic hit the air travel industry particularly hard. At Philippine Airlines (PAL), a focus on technology as a business enabler has helped the company weather the storm even as the country imposed one of the world’s strictest and longest-lasting coronavirus lockdowns.
PAL CIO, Wilson Go elaborated, “The pandemic highlighted the need to accelerate digital transformation initiatives and gave us the opportunity to drive enhanced collaboration and efficiency across the company.”
Navigating a Strategic Route
The crisis surfaced the critical role of technology in helping the airline withstand the challenges, pivot quickly, and capitalize on new opportunities.
Luckily for PAL, Wilson was already leading several successful technology-as-business-enabler projects.
Wilson is responsible for running the company’s IT infrastructure and its digital transformation efforts. With a background in both finance and IT, he explained his perspective on his role as CIO, “I’m a CPA by profession, but an IT practitioner at heart. The one who is in charge of information technology is responsible to and for enabling the business. Because of my finance background, I’m cognizant of the impact of our undertakings, from both a functional and a financial point of view.”
Actions that Matter
When Wilson joined PAL in 2018, his early objectives were to drive efficiencies. Wilson shared, “Oracle is the single biggest system and runs our back-office operations, from finance and administration to procurement and human resources. It’s a mission critical application for us.”
Another, perhaps more significant, endeavor has been to look at PAL’s portfolio of applications and identify how to streamline, modernize, and improve. Wilson said, “We’ve undertaken numerous tasks to revamp many applications simultaneously. It’s really exciting. We are delivering a lot more to our users and are doing it more intelligently. We’re creating the tools to understand and serve our customers better.”
Wilson’s projects include passenger analytics to improve understanding of customer needs, modernizing the airline’s cargo system, adding mobile and remote capabilities, and consolidating and adding intelligence to the crew management application. He added, “As business starts to normalize, all the initiatives are coming together to create a more efficient, stronger, and leaner airline.”
Discovering Added Capacity
Selecting an independent third-party support provider for Oracle support not only dramatically reduced the airline’s Oracle annual maintenance costs, but also liberated the team’s capacity to focus on strategic initiatives.
Wilson revealed, “Not only did Rimini Street’s support services translate into additional capacity and capability, but it also achieved significant cost savings. With both, I can deliver even greater value to the business.
He continued, “The quality of support we’re receiving for these crucial systems is a game-changer. Because the back-office systems are interconnected, resiliency is only as good as your weakest link. So, the confidence of knowing that we are well taken care of helps us sleep better.”
Fueling Optimized Investments
“If we have $100 to invest, I’m always looking to do more with it. That’s the value of third-party support: The money we previously spent with Oracle is now providing high-quality support, and results in us having more time and money to focus on our business transformation efforts,” Wilson explained.
The added capacity was an important element of his business case to the organization. “Every time we bring a proposal to our procurement committee, we assemble a business case that articulates the financial benefits, not only in absolute figures for the project, but also accounting for the incremental benefits of how we’re utilizing the extra resource bandwidth to positively impact the company.”
He added, “I’m fortunate that our leadership is aligned around the three key benefits of technology: generating more revenue, doing things more cost-effectively and efficiently, and driving customer and employee satisfaction.”
Rimini Street: A Human Partner
Wilson points to Rimini Street as the key for freeing his team to do so much more.
“At Philippine Airlines, our tagline translates as ‘complete, wholehearted service and care’. That’s why we appreciate how Rimini Street takes care of us the same way,” he shared.
He continued, “Oracle would frequently just point us to the online knowledge repository to figure out how to handle an issue. Digitization and self-service are good, but we are human beings, so working collaboratively in real time with an expert is more effective. With Rimini Street, we know we can pick up the phone and find help.”
Wilson’s team benefits from having both local and global support with a follow-the-sun resource available around the clock. According to Wilson, “The most important things are still the responsiveness and quality of service that we’re receiving from Rimini Street.”
Those advantages inspire Wilson to further leverage Rimini Street. He said, “The relationship that we have places Rimini Street as a top-of-mind service provider for Philippine Airlines.”
- Unleashed resources: Internal capacity freed to invest in transformation projects, like modernizing systems, updating processes and enabling remote capabilities
- Maximized ROI: Over 50% saved on annual maintenance costs reinvested in expanded support, IT modernization, and business intelligence initiatives
- Improved application reliability: Follow-the-sun coverage model, strong relationships, access to expertise, and a proactive approach elevated confidence in availability of key systems