While Europe’s busiest airport, London’s Heathrow, has been less a little less busy front-of-house over the last 20 months, thanks to the pandemic, it has continued to be super-busy behind the scenes, as it’s undergone a digital transformation in readiness for a full-throttle return to the skies.
This transformation – the largest in the airport’s 75-year history – is a core part of Heathrow’s strategy to modernise key operations, digitise its 20-year-old ageing infrastructure, and ultimately to support efficient growth through recovery from the pandemic.
Started pre-pandemic and in partnership with Capgemini and Oracle Consulting, Heathrow’s transition to the cloud has been accelerated by, and adapted throughout, the pandemic, reaching completion at the start of 2022.
“Because of the pandemic, we’ve had to fundamentally rethink how we organise ourselves, make decisions, and keep everyone connected remotely,” says Stephen Williams, Heathrow Transformation Programme Director. “Our industry has been severely impacted by the pandemic. We’ve had severe disruption, loss of resources, and of course a personal toll on so many colleagues; but through it all, we still had a business-critical deadline to meet.”
And that deadline has been met, and at pace, thanks to the collaborative resources of Capgemini and Oracle Consulting, and the implementation of Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications with the aim of transforming the airport’s HR and finance functions.
Implementation of Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications
To modernise and automate the Finance, HR, Revenue, Service and Asset Management functions, Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) was implemented alongside Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM) and Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC).
While Oracle Billing Revenue Management (BRM) was implemented in order to support Heathrow’s high-volume aeronautical billing transactions with the airlines.
Oracle Cloud HCM and Oracle Cloud ERP work together to provide a seamless, integrated set of business processes across all HR and Finance functions.
This means that everything from the employee life-cycle to procurement and revenue generation are all brought together into one unified experience. This allows the airport to benefit from automation, improved decision making and increased operational efficiencies. And the Oracle Cloud infrastructure provides an underlying layer of connectivity that unites the new platform with Heathrow’s wider digital estate.
This transition to the cloud has proven to be a significant undertaking, not surprising considering the complex IT estate at Heathrow and the significant changes necessary as the aviation industry adapts to a post-pandemic future.
And since going live, Heathrow is already seeing significant benefits through IT optimisations, including being able to deliver an improved user experience for its employees.
It’s an investment, says Heathrow, that will help support its efforts in supporting its passengers and give them the platform to meet future growth with long-term objectives to eventually reclaim the 80 million passengers per year Heathrow had in 2019.
“Heathrow has a culture of progressiveness and innovation that has made it one of the frontrunners of the industry in Europe and globally,” says Cormac Watters, EVP of Applications Oracle EMEA. “And with Oracle Cloud Applications, it now has an integrated platform, powered by the latest emerging technologies, to support its current and future needs.”
Capgemini has history in the aviation industry
It’s not the first time Capgemini has worked with aviation to pull off a digital transformation. Just last year, the firm was enlisted by Singapore Airlines to help a worldwide rollout of 1Point, a Salesforce solution aimed at streamlining customer experience management for the aviation giant.
Last year too, the management and technology consulting firm also signed a five-year contract with Airbus to support the redesign of its global collaborative workplace, integrating new technologies and cloud.
Pre-pandemic, Capgemini supported Cathay Pacific in its digital transformation, helping the Asian airline to transform its worldwide finance and procurement functions; and supported Lufthansa in the development of a reference architecture for the industry.