The Sum of The Parts: Removing Barriers to Collaboration
In the 17th Century, the English poet John Donne wrote “No man is an island”. Intended as a solemn argument against international isolationism — an argument that continues to resonate some 400 years later, it also reminds us that as human beings, we cannot succeed or thrive when isolated from others.
This is especially true in the world of aviation. As members of any community where we share a common passion, we often find ourselves in different roles — employer, employee, contractor, customer, instructor and student — and those roles and those connections can change from one moment to the next.
Nowhere is the effect of an interconnected community effect more evident than online. For better or worse, we find ourselves connected with people around the world via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or whatever the next social media innovation will be. Almost overnight, the Internet has removed practical barriers to communication and collaboration.
Increasingly, our aviation community is demanding the removal of barriers to effective business communication and better operational outcomes. Following in the footsteps of Kiwi technology darling and accounting firm Xero, more and more Software as a Service (SaaS) companies are positioning themselves not as isolated, proprietary, winner-takes-it-all monoliths, but as collaborative, flexible and innovative businesses who play nicely with others. This allows customers to choose the exact services that they need from a broad range of competing providers, secure in the knowledge that these systems will work together.
In 2017, the pace of integration and community growth — the network effect — is increasing at an incredible pace. Across our global community — not only aviation, but across land, sea and air — operators want more collaboration, more capability, and seamless integration with every aspect of their business, be it internal — accounting, rostering, flight records management, incident reports, recency and audit management — or external, such as compliance and contract eligibility.
The key critical success factor for our industry is and remains freedom of choice. It is not the role of the market or the regulator to choose winners or to dictate solutions via single solution mandates. As critical service providers to our global community, our role is to provide freedom of choice and to not only allow our customers to participate where they need to operate, but to collaborate with a growing network of providers of complementary and sometimes competitive services.
No man is an island, indeed.