Airline IT giant Amadeus buys Accenture's Navitaire for $839m; reveals big data architecture

Amadeus, the leading supplier of IT to the airline industry has bought Accenture’s Navitaire airline business software for $839 million, as it continues to focus on big data features for its customers.

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Amadeus, the leading supplier of IT to the airline industry has bought Accenture’s Navitaire airline business software for $839 million (£538 million), as it continues to focus on big data features for its customers.

As part of the acquisition, approximately 550 Navitaire employees, including the company’s senior management team, are expected to transfer to Amadeus from Accenture.

Navitaire provides reservation, ancillary sales, loyalty, revenue management, revenue accounting and business intelligence to more than 50 global air transport operators.

Business intelligence - and big data - is a prime focus for Amadeus since opening its travel Intelligence business unit, Pascal Clement, head of travel intelligence, Amadeus told ComputerworldUK yesterday. The unit is  devoted to helping travel companies such as airlines, travel agents and tourism bodies make the most of their data.

Google trends for travel agents

The first of the two new products, ‘Search Analysis’ works similarly to a Google trends dashboard but for airline data, sifting through Amadeus’ one billion daily transactions for popular destinations, travel dates, and trip duration to help agents tailor packages based on demand.

The second, ‘Booking Analysis’ lets agencies benchmark their market position and evaluate their market position and evaluate the competition by showing trends on growing routes and airlines. This will help agencies planning entry into new markets.

The tools are based on Amadeus’ proprietary Hadoop data lake-based platform. The platform will soon use Apache Spark and Cassandra to provide online, streaming analysis capabilities to deliver real-time booking information, similarly to what disruptors like Hotels.com or Expedia have accomplished. The open-source nature means that the The cloud-based Travel Intelligence Engine has no predefined architecture and can integrate with traditional business intelligence environments.

Online travel agents have invested in big data, but don't have the foundation right

While the travel industry appears to be innovating in terms of deploying open-source data platforms based on Hadoop, Clement said that in reality, “most of online travel agents that we see have not invested in the platform they are doing some very sophisticated things, dealing with a lot of data but with time pressures they haven’t put the foundation in and that is what we can offer them.”

Expedia, or Hotels.com are examples of businesses that have combined Cassandra and Hadoop to create offline and online data streaming for real-time insights, like the feature that lets bookers see only three rooms remain in a certain hotel on their website.

Clement said that Amadeus is working on a operational datastore that has real-time data streaming so that travel agents can claw back custom from the digital disruptors.

While Amadeus has its own data-centre in Germany, it is hosting part of its travel intelligence unit in a datacentre in France to get the speed the cloud offers, and will expand to other parts of the world as it grows.

The firm has also extended its infrastructure outsourcing, application and research and development services with Accenture which will continue to host Navitaire customers’ services.

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