Air France : Optimizing the quality of IT service to improve user satisfaction

Air France, founded in 1933, and KLM, which dates back to 1919, are two member companies of the group Air France KLM, formed in 2004. At present the world’s leading airline in terms of turnover, it posted revenues of 20.9 billion euros for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. The total is divided up among three main activities: passenger transportation (77.4%), freight (11.6%), and aircraft maintenance (4.6%). The 594 aircraft in operation serve 244 destinations and 71.4 million passengers.

 

The Context

The General Direction of Information Systems (Direction Générale des Systèmes d’Information – DGSI) plays a preponderant part at the heart of the organization. With IT staff of more than 1,600 spread out across 4 main locations, this department’s mission is to develop, administer and maintain the 1000 applications currently in use in addition to managing a fleet of over 61,000 workstations located at 800 connected sites. Within this information systems department, the “Studies and Monitoring” section develops and maintains tools dedicated to monitoring, automation, and customer relations. It is also a technology watch unit for solutions in this field, with a view to implementing new tools.

 

The challenges

In this context, the “Studies and Monitoring” section has three main goals:

  • to supply objective indicators of end-to-end quality
  • to contribute to analysis of disruptions
  • to provide real-time assistance to operations

These qualitative objectives led the DGSI to resort to a solution to check the quality of service delivered to external as well as internal users (R&D, operations, customer relations) in order to set up an SLA that is as representative as possible of application operation, on the basis of objective data recognized by all participants in the information system.The DGSI therefore turned to Newtest for Active Monitoring, a proactive solution for monitoring user quality of experience from end to end.

 

Managing application performance with Newtest

The Newtest for Active Monitoring solution is made up of robots (active agents), along with an administration tool and a reporting module. Newtest robots simulate user access to an application that the DGSI wishes to monitor, by running pre-designed scenarios to emulate the actions performed by users.

 

“This project’s success would not have been possible without the dedication of the leading managers of the departments involved. They found in this tool a way to communicate and work objectively with metrics that were credible and accepted by all.” Claude Maillard, Air France KLM.

 

Following deployment at Air France in 2003, and in 2008 at KLM, more than 180 applications are monitored today, of which over 130 are critical, sensitive applications. This calls for about a hundred probes deployed across some 50 sites in France and abroad, with around 500 scenarios in service. One of the complex applications closely monitored by the DGSI allows passengers to perform their own check-in on the internet. This service is sensitive and strategic because the application is common to Air France and KLM, and is important to the group’s brand image. As of summer 2007, customer complaints were noted about erratic performance.

A crisis management unit was formed at Air France, and the DGSI used Newtest for Active Monitoring to objectivize the complaints. Active monitoring was implemented with:

  • one scenario to create a simulated flight each day
  • a batch which creates “Newtest robot” passengers on that flight
  • a scenario to check in “Newtest robot” passengers via the Air France site
  • a scenario that cancels the check-in of “Newtest robot” passengers

Following a few weeks of such analyses a patch was implemented to put the findings to good effect.  Deployment requirements on the reporting side are situated mainly at the level of DGSI communications with its users. The DGSI publishes aggregated or detailed reports at different intervals for its many users. It also provides monthly dashboards to the executive committee of the Air France KLM group.  At the same time, Air France monitors the performance of its critical applications in real time via a dedicated portal, Newtest Management Console (Web Services). This monitoring system was developed by ip-label and customized for Air France to provide views of how downtime impacts applications, identify the users affected by incidents, and check the return to normal operation.

Advantages of Newtest for Air France KLM

The chief benefits of deploying this solution are:

  • improved communication with users (IT and the customer rely on the same basis of communication)
  • heightened awareness of users’ issues on the part of technical teams
  • better control over the impact of incidents and migrations.

 

“Newtest is now at the core of our operations and our customer relationship management. We are working on 3 major projects: extending rollout to our entire range of strategic applications, implementation of reporting that is common to Air France and KLM, and the setup of a solution to ensure continuity (24/7) of Newtest monitoring,” adds Erwan Asseloos, Air France KLM.