Case Studies » Making informed decisions

The client is a multi-award winning online travel service with headquarters in Australia and branches in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Its principle is to give customers easy access to the lowest flight fares without compromising great service. Essentially, the client runs a comprehensive data retrieval and extraction system to find the cheapest fares available, taking into account discounts through its consolidator network.

In 2006, the client launched a business intelligence initiative to get analytical reports from its massive database and other competitors. The project dragged for 1 year with no positive result. Several factors contributed to its failure:

  • The data extraction tool failed when the target data structure changed.
  • The report generation was too slow (about 5 – 10 minutes).
  • The report was hard to customize.

Given the critical role of the initiative in supporting decision making, the client was then looking for an alternative service provider to revive the project from the verge of failure.

Citigo came up with several innovative solutions to address the problems:

  • Replicating required data: Clearly, it was not wise to get analytical report from a transactional database with millions of records. It also affected routine operation. Citigo developed a background service that replicated required data during night time hours in a separate analytics database.

  • Writing custom data extraction tool: The problem with commercial data extraction tools is that it is almost impossible to stay adaptable with the change of target data. By writing a custom data extraction tool, Citigo could perform tweak whenever changes occur at target data.

  • Using JavaScript to control report generation: Raw report data are mashed with JavaScript to produce nice looking and customizable reports.

At first, Citigo employed several experts in business intelligence and database tuning to build proof of concept. After seeing impressive improvement in report generation time, the client decided to hire a dedicated team from Citigo to implement the system and support.

The failed project has revived as a strategic success for the client. Report generation time was reduced more than 500 times. The new powerful and intuitive report system helped the client make wise business decisions, which resulted in major market share gain. As a fruitful result, the client won the best travel agent website award in 2010 and was able to expand the business to several branches globally.