Take the first steps of your digitalisation journey
With over two decades of experience in the travel technology industry, IPI Innovation Advisor Albert Pozo is a safe pair of hands to guide companies on their digital transformation journeys.

As borders closed and international travel was brought to a standstill, companies in the travel industry got creative to keep their staff employed and their operations running. Hotels were transformed into quarantine centres, airlines offered meals and first-class experiences without leaving the ground and travel agencies pivoted to conduct local tours.

In a bid to further boost the sector, the Singapore Tourism Board has dedicated S$22 million to launch digital initiatives that will bring together different industry players and speed up recovery. As companies start to digitalise, a key challenge is figuring out where to start—what investments to prioritise, which technology options are available, and how to ensure staff are onboard with major changes. To help take their first steps towards digitalisation, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can tap on IPI Innovation Advisor Albert Pozo, an experienced travel industry professional with decades of experience at SATS, Amadeus IT and Swissair.

Adopting fresh practices

As much as the travel industry stresses the importance of the human touch, it was also one of the first adopters of technology, being equipped with a fully functional global digital network as early as the 1970s. The interconnected reservations and passenger handling system allowed airlines to sell tickets and service passengers worldwide. Despite this head start, such advantages of the past can quickly become burdens if companies do not keep up with the pace of change, Pozo warned.

“With COVID-19 on the horizon for a long time, new standards for data exchange and protection will be needed to ensure safe travel,” he shared. By the time leisure travel becomes commonplace again, we can expect personal information like immunity, vaccination, itinerary and immigration data to be collected and shared between multiple stakeholders to comply with new safety measures, Pozo explained.

To keep such information secure, airlines, airports and SMEs such as travel agents and destination service providers will likely have to adopt appropriate technology to comply with International Air Transport Association and national data regulations. This would require revisiting current technological capabilities and existing operating models before coming up with a suitable digitalisation strategy, Pozo highlighted.

Custom solutions for unique companies

Before his latest role as Chief Digital Officer at SATS, Pozo helmed the Asia Pacific region for Amadeus IT, a global travel technology company. With over two decades of experience, his work has taken him across several continents, spearheading digital transformation in the travel industry, implementing new technology standards, and improving processes and management.

“Digital transformation is not just technology and innovation implementation. It’s enterprise transformation empowered by technology,” Pozo emphasised. “Digital transformation must therefore be understood as an enabler of company strategy. Companies need to ask themselves: what are the capabilities needed for my company’s strategy to succeed? How can innovation and technology help to create or accelerate these capabilities?”

Once the company has answered these questions, it must move on to examine its human resources, processes, operating models, value proposition, competitive landscape and a host of other key factors essential to enterprise transformation. With such complexity, there is no single answer that can be applied across different companies. This is where a trusted professional partner becomes essential—their experiences and knowledge can be leveraged to identify key problems and design a unique strategy for a customised and successful digitalisation journey.

Getting ahead with digitalisation

With our world growing increasingly interconnected, customers today have more options than ever before. To get ahead of the competition, companies need to be more flexible and adaptable to fast-changing needs—and they can harness technology to do so, said Pozo.

To this end, Pozo’s experience in leading digital transformation at multinational corporations has made him an expert in partner communication, staff management and digital strategy development. On top of making sure SMEs ask the right questions, he is committed to finding the best answers; screening and identifying the most suitable approaches, solutions and technologies to fit the unique needs of any business.

“I firmly believe that digital transformation should clearly be defined as a priority for any sector, particularly in Singapore where our economy and activities are so deeply connected across multiple stakeholders,” he said. “We don’t need to be hugely ahead of others, but we need to keep a lead and we need to do it consistently.”

If your company is looking to digitalise, check out IPI’s Innovation Advisors Programme to find out more about how you can tap on professional guidance from an experienced consultant.