Susan Doniz shares her passion for aviation, and how Qantas is encouraging more women to enter the airline industry. She also discusses how Qantas is managing disruption by focusing on designing products and experiences that are predictive, real-time, and consistent. Susan believes in the power of digital & technology: that it can address the root causes of disparity between the representation of men and women in leadership positions.

Accenture Travel: You are the Group CIO of Qantas Airways Ltd. and your technology experience spans diverse industries. What fuels your passion for the Aviation industry?

Susan Doniz: The aviation industry is so dynamic and has been a leader in delivering great customer-centric experiences. As the national carrier, and a respected Australian brand, Qantas has been recognized for leading the way globally in providing quality service to customers. We have a reputation for rapidly adopting new technology and digital continues to respond to opportunities and open new avenues for the airline industry. I find this context incredibly exciting to work with. I feel proud in representing such an iconic brand, knowing that technology is driving tangible change across the organization and to our customers.

AT: Accenture's research 1 finds the ratio of female to male manager is at a poor 17:50 globally. While Pew research 2 reveals that the share of female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies fell to 4.8% in 2018. How can digital and technology be leveraged to facilitate equal leadership opportunities for women?

SD: I view digital and technology as an enabler for helping address the root causes of the disparity between the representation of men and women in leadership positions. I believe that technology is fundamental to providing flexible ways of working that will help female and male managers manage the real time challenges of life and work especially in a 24x7 operation. Having more girls pursuing a career in STEM is critical to facilitate leadership and create a pipeline. Girls need role models, mentorship and support to actively encourage pursuing careers in STEM. There is a perception that STEM is not as heavily geared towards people leadership but I believe you can’t be successful in technology without having a sound grasp on people and change management.

We’ve introduced a number of programs to encourage more women to enter aviation, including the Nancy-Bird Walton initiative, named after a pioneering female Australian pilot. It aims to improve upon our 5% female pilots by committing to a 40% female intake of cadet pilots in ten years. It’s all about inspiring young women to pursue careers in aviation, educating them about the available career opportunities and pathways, and supporting women who already hold jobs in technical aviation. We’ve also been sponsoring the Power of Engineering program open days, reaching girls aged fourteen and fifteen across Australia. From a technology standpoint, we are continuing to invest in Microsoft Office 365 to support flexible working as well as working with the community to get more young women into coding.

AT: Customer expectations are higher than ever amidst unprecedented competition, disruptive business models and market volatility. How can new and emerging technologies like AI, Virtual reality and Digital platforms help airlines transform the customer experience and win market share?

SD: At Qantas we continue to focus on expanding our digital ecosystem to provide more choice in the way our customers interact with us. We now offer SMS/Messaging to service our customers’ needs along with digital contact channels such as our chat bot via Facebook Messenger.

Within the disruption management space there is a focus on designing products and experiences that are predictive, real-time, and consistent, while providing our people and customers with the right information at the right time to proactively manage the ‘moments that matter’. We are working to link our digital ecosystems and have our customers, our people and our suppliers connected and communicating to deliver the best customer experience possible.

Jetstar’s engineers are also leading the way in using virtual reality to support their maintenance training. The technology will become an additional tool in the engineering training program. It has been introduced for Jetstar’s 787 and A320 fleet and is expected to save more than 300 hours in aircraft ground time each year.

AT: Accenture Technology Vision for Travel 3 reveals 75 percent of travel industry executives agree that organizations are basing their most critical systems and strategies on data—yet many have not invested in the capabilities to verify the truth within it. What according to you is the imperative and benefit of creating a verified and secure digital traveller identity?

SD: Customers are increasingly expecting a personalized experience and we need to rise to the challenge of addressing this as an industry. A customer’s last interaction in any industry sets their next expectation. At Qantas, we have started our journey towards delivering a more personalized customer experience by adopting a number of components of Adobe’s Marketing Cloud including Adobe Experience Manager to re-platform and personalize the core qantas.com website, and Adobe Audience Manager. The Qantas Distribution Platform is another new piece of technology we’ve launched that generates richer content and information about our fares and products, giving travel agents more power to make the right bookings for their customers with tailored offerings and customer loyalty recognition features.

AT: What kind of a traveler are you?

SD: I’m a different traveller when flying for work or for leisure, as I think many others are. My preference is to travel to the airport just in time to board the flight with no bags to check-in. Just straight onboard. However, when I travel with my family I know that I need to adjust my routine as they love the airport shopping, lounges and relaxing.

AT: What is your favorite travel destination?

SD: I've travelled to over 100 destinations and I've enjoyed every single one of them because I’ve learned something new about myself and the world we live in each time. It’s a wonderful world and I feel fortunate to be able to experience the cultures of so many places.

1 Accenture's research

2 Pew research

3 Accenture Technology Vision for Travel

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