Case Studies

Air Traffic Control for an Airline’s Data

By Daragh O Brien
July 10, 2020
9min read
Data GovernanceData StrategyGap AnalysisMaturity Assessment
Plane flying into clouds


Castlebridge worked with a well known airline to help their Data Analytics and Reporting function develop an operating model for Data Governance to tame the “spaghetti” of reporting systems and data change initiatives across a complex information value chain supporting a highly regulated industry.

The Pain Point

The client was investing in a data analytics modernisation strategy with the goal of improving their internal and external reporting capabilities and improve operating efficiencies.

As part of this proposed change, they recognised that there was a risk of pouring old wine into new bottles when they changed their technology for data if they failed to address the People and Process dimensions of the data quality and data governance change required to deliver the step-change improvements they were seeking. In addition, the need to ensure alignment of their Enterprise Information Management change with other internal change initiative was also recognised by management. Finally, the need to replace legacy data management systems had highlighted the reliance on key staff and tacit knowledge of data and how it was managed to keep the organisation running smoothly

However, they weren’t sure where to start or how to frame this Data Governance and Culture change.

The Plan

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there. To ensure clarity on the data governance requirements of the airline, Castlebridge reviewed their business strategy and drivers to identify the critical-to-strategy data capabilities and baseline the current state of data management maturity in the organisation.

As Operation Efficiency was a priority strategic goal for the organisation, we looked for examples of operational bottlenecks and unwanted outcomes arising from poor quality data across the end-to-end information value chain in the organisation. We worked with the client to understand the people, process, and technology root causes of these issues so that appropriate mitigation and remediation plans could be put in place across a range of internal projects.

Castlebridge designed an operating model for the newly created Data Governance and Reporting function in the airline to ensure appropriate governance of information and management of data quality issues in parallel with the development of their Business Intelligence Competency Centre. A key goal was to ensure effective separation of duties over the stewardship of the organisation’s data assets. An organisational framework for data governance was also developed that linked data governance and data quality functions into the “business as usual” roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of managers in line-of-business departments in the organisation.

Castlebridge also provided role specifications for new or evolving management roles in the organisation, and training and skills development requirements for staff to help them better execute their functions and implement the required changes in the organisation and its information management processes.

Where ever possible we sought out role-model behaviours from other areas of the industry, from passenger safety to aircraft maintenance, to help align the change vision with the existing culture and ethos of the company and the industry.

The Outcome

In an industry that has experienced a lot of turbulence and change in recent years, the data governance strategy and road map developed by Castlebridge remains a valued navigation aid for the organisation. When faced with organisational changes and shifting priorities, the data strategy alignment that was performed has given the Data Governance team a tool they have used to realign and evolve their priorities and execution plans in the face of those changes and ensure alignment of business, information, and technology for the delivery of the required outcomes to internal and external stakeholders.

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