GrayMatter Software to Reposition Beyond Analytics Post-Pandemic
- 25 Feb 2021
GrayMatter Software CEO, Mr. Vikas Gupta discusses newly-launched products, his ambitious goals for repositioning the company beyond analytics and his new normal with Jeannie Wong, our head of communications and events.
JW: What has become the new normal for you and your team? Did the pandemic trigger any unexpected new activities or opportunities?
Business continuity with work from home, collaborating and innovating remotely has become the new normal. We have always been a highly analytics-focused company for airports. This pandemic triggered us to re-think our analytics-only approach. Analytics is always great to have but not a must have. We have now greatly invested in new ideas and next-gen solution for airports.
We innovated and developed an Airport Commerce platform during this time. A platform that can manage all commercial activities at an airport online. Passengers, through mobile apps and contactless experience at airports, can shop and order online food, duty free products, high-end branded products or book various services like fast track, porter, meet & greet, wheelchairs etc. Airport customers can book rentable properties like car parking, advertisement space and private aircraft. This Airport Commerce platform has now created several new opportunities for the airport. The platform enhances the passenger experience through capabilities like indoor navigation, locating your service provider on a mobile app or estimated time to clear various check points and queues. The complete journey of passenger (home to airport to home) is mapped and enabled on mobile device with contactless experiences throughout journey.
We developed a complete business model and solution to create, develop and implement an airport loyalty program along with our airport commerce platform. Airports can significantly improve the passenger experience and generate additional revenue streams even when passengers are not travelling.
We added a new product to our bouquet of solution offerings called the real-time passenger document processing system. The need came from our first airline customer Air Asia. The system is automated to process COVID-19 certificates, uploaded by passengers during the online check-in process to confirm whether the certificate is valid or not. It accordingly determines if a passenger is allowed to check in or not. It was quite a complex process as there was no standard for such certificate. This system was then innovated and further developed to handle other passenger documents like passport, visa, etc., to compare and match the scanned document with actual passenger information.
This pandemic triggered us to re-think our analytics-only approach.
JW: What are your goals for 2021?
Our goal for 2021 is to redefine our business strategy. We will continue to remain a highly-focused aviation player, however we will reposition ourselves beyond analytics and play a significant role in the airport commerce space in 2021. We are also now extending solutions and offerings to airlines and travel retail space.
In addition, we have been exploring new business and commercial models to run and manage airport commerce solutions like revenue sharing models instead of traditional capital and operational investments by airports.
Our current go-to-market approach primarily has been direct reach to customers, however in 2021 we look forward to building a strong partner network to reach airports globally.
JW: What was the biggest challenge for GrayMatter in 2020? How have you had to interact differently with your customers, in Asia-Pacific and elsewhere?
In the beginning, the biggest challenge was remote working. Adapting to this new model of remote meeting and driving decision through these sessions was difficult. It was relatively easy to overcome this challenge with existing customers as we had deep and continuous relationship with various airports we work with. However, acquiring new customer through remote meetings was a challenge. The airport closures, reduced air traffic and dipping revenue of airlines and airports impacted the entire eco system. We extended and discounted our services and products to existing and potential new customers to support each other during this pandemic time.
JW: What do you want or need to see changed in the short-term for recovery and resumption of business operations?
Our business operations have continued during these tough times as we provided uninterrupted support all our customers both in aviation and non-aviation sectors.
Fortunately, we did not have to take any hard measures for our business continuity. We definitely would like to see an early resumption of air traffic to its pre-pandemic levels and further growth trajectory. With full commencement of air traffic, airports will get back to technology investment and spend again.
GrayMatter, one of ACI Asia-Pacific’s World Business Partners, is a provider of sophisticated Business Intelligence and Revenue Optimization software solutions, investing extensively in new technologies, engineering talent pool, innovation and Business Intelligence and Analytics Competency Centre globally. Mr. Gupta is also a member of the ACI Asia-Pacific WBP Consultative Panel.