Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, and Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH), a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process outsourcing services, has announced a strategic agreement to drive digital transformation across the airline and its equity partners.
Under the three-year, multi-million dollar deal, Cognizant will help Etihad Airways define its digital strategy and reimagine the guest experience along a guest's travel journey across the group.
By bringing together its digital strategy, technology, industry and experiential design expertise, Cognizant will conduct a comprehensive study of Etihad Airways' current business and technology footprint to outline and operationalise a best-in-class digital ecosystem, enabling multi-channel distribution, customer persona segmentation and personalised marketing techniques.
Through data and customer insights, Cognizant will enable Etihad Airways, and subsequently its equity partners, to better understand the needs of their guests. Combining this research with streamlined best practices, processes and technology, the airline will provide guests with customised offerings, tailored travel solutions, and enhanced experiences throughout their journey based on their loyalty status and personal preferences such as product and service features, preferred seating, meal choices, holiday destinations and more. For the airline, this means unlocking new revenue streams, enhancing its brand and building new commercial models.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways' Chief Commercial Officer, said: "Our guests are increasingly turning to digital channels to connect with us, and therefore we recognise the importance of delivering a personalised and seamless guest experience across all touch-points. Our partnership with Cognizant will help us define a superior digital experience roadmap that enhances the customer journey from planning to booking, in the airport and on the plane, and improve guest loyalty by attracting and engaging with guests in new and innovative ways. The scope includes digital tools and data insights for our customer-facing staff to further enhance their ability to provide a more customised and personalised service to our guests."
Robert Webb, Etihad Airways' Chief Information and Technology Officer, said: "This partnership is core to our technology and innovation strategy, which will empower us and our equity partners to redefine an exceptional digital guest experience that matches our remarkable inflight and on-ground experience. We chose Cognizant because of its leadership in digital transformation programmes, deep travel and hospitality industry experience, and long-term partnerships with digital technology leaders."
Francisco D'Souza, Chief Executive Officer, Cognizant, said: "We are pleased to partner with Etihad Airways to create a world-class airline guest experience by harnessing the power of digital technologies. For Cognizant, 'digital' means the ability to connect technology, data science, devices, design, and business strategy to transform processes and experiences. This engagement marks the coming together of two pioneering organisations whose growth strategy is underpinned by digital innovation. The Cognizant Digital Works team looks forward to helping Etihad Airways and its equity partners deliver control, simplicity and transparency to the modern connected traveller. The digital initiative will further strengthen Etihad Airways' leadership position as a premium brand known for high-touch customer service."
As part of the engagement, Cognizant will manage Etihad Airways' existing web applications and portals and integrate them into the new digital platform. A new Digital Centre of Excellence will be established to drive innovation with the airline's key technology partners.