All the questions that you need to answer are highlighted in red colour and others are case facts, instructions, and some theory notes in order to answer questions.
Please answer part (a) in the excel sheet attached and answer in a word document for part (b) and (c).
Aileron Travel (Aileron) is an online travel agency and metasearch engine founded in 2015 by three information technology professionals. Aileron has two main customer groups: business travellers and leisure travellers.
Aileron helps travellers search for and book travel options for their flights through its online booking platform. The booking platform enables customers to compare flights from different sources across the internet, including from online travel agents and directly from the airlines. Using an interactive mapping feature, customers can search for the cheapest flights from any airport to anywhere in the world on specific dates, and view prices over an entire month to find the best offers.
Customers like the booking platform because it reduces the need to browse and compare flights across multiple web pages. Customers simply choose an available flight, select a seat and service option, enter their details, and make a payment to make a reservation. The booking process takes a few minutes for a first-time booking and, once an account is created, even less time for subsequent bookings.
The booking platform can be accessed through Aileron’s website. Customers can also access the booking platform through the company’s booking app, Smart Aileron, which can be downloaded from the leading app stores.
The app provides the same functionality as that of the website but also offers additional benefits to customers and the company:
• The automatic flight check-in feature simplifies the check-in process: As the boarding pass is sent to the customer’s phone, they can then skip the check-in counter, proceed straight to the security checkpoint and continue to their assigned gate.
• The app integrates with Google Maps to provide customers with real-time travel information about their route to the airport, including possible traffic delays or train cancellations.
• The app integrates with airline baggage-handling features and offers real-time tracking of customer baggage items.
• When a customer arrives at selected airports, the app receives signals from Wi-Fi-based real-time locating systems and beacons to send location-specific information, for example, sales promotions, delays, and gate changes. It can also help customers to navigate the airport via interactive maps.
Aileron collects data on user experience through regular surveys on the website and app. The app also collects data on customers’ movement patterns inside airports, including arrival times, time spent at certain locations in the airport and queuing times. The data is also used for in-app advertisements, and Aileron promotes selected third parties through these advertisements. For example, the app displays special hotel and car hire deals available at the customer’s destination.
Aileron’s sensitive customer data is stored securely on the company’s local server and is protected by innovative encryption technology.
As part of preparation for the annual process evaluation meeting, two members of Aileron’s management team, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO), have asked for your assistance. Although Aileron receives a lot of positive customer feedback from online product review pages, the executive managers have become aware of some negative reviews. They want to understand the efficiency of the current booking process and provide you with the following review excerpts, which are representative of a wide range of other similar customer feedback:
‘This platform is so bad! I booked my flight last month through the app. Right after I paid, I received an email that said the flight was not available. Why would the company ask for a payment if a flight is not even available? I asked for a refund, but it took Aileron more than two weeks to refund my money. The same thing happened to a friend of mine but they used the website to book their flights. They received their refund immediately. The overall booking process experience is really not what I’d expect. I am so disappointed and would not recommend Aileron to anyone.’
‘Aileron prices are great, but this is the third time a flight I’ve booked on the website that was not even available. The entire booking process experience is so bad. If I could give a minus star rating, I would.’
‘Never again. Youll be asked to pay for flights that are not available. The company I work for booked a business ticket, it was cancelled. I missed an important meeting with my client and our company still hasn’t received the refund.’
‘The whole booking process experience was horrible! I had to provide all my personal payment details on the website and once I made the booking and the payment, I received a message that my request couldn’t be processed. But they’ve taken my money! I’ve contacted the company several times to refund my money immediately, but I’m still waiting for my refund. How many times do Aileron’s customers normally have to ask for a refund??? I’m considering involving a lawyer. This will be the last time I use Aileron!!!’
‘Customer service is so bad. You receive stupid apology messages but have to wait forever to get a refund. I booked a flight that was cancelled and couldn’t book another flight because I was waiting for my money. What kind of booking process is that? Don’t book here. Save yourself the headache and your money.’
‘Booked a ticket for my upcoming holiday using the app, paid, but the flight was not available. And aside from that the overall booking refund process took ages. Never again.’
Aileron’s CEO and CIO believe that the booking process is key to a successful user experience. They want to ensure that the booking platform delivers the best possible user experience and that the satisfaction rating for customers receiving refunds does not go below ‘5’. They ask you to analyse the company’s existing dataset to generate insights into user experience with the booking platform and to support Aileron in deciding how to respond to customer reviews.
Using the dataset provided in Microsoft Excel, complete the tasks below. These form the basis of your 2,000-word report to be submitted as a Microsoft Word document when you complete the requirements for case study parts (a), (b) and (c).
In your written report you will need to refer to and/or copy relevant data from your Microsoft Excel file, and you will need to submit your updated Microsoft Excel file along with your 2,000-word report. (See below for requirements a.1.1 – a.3.1 about what you must include in your Excel file).
a.1 Cleanse the dataset (in Microsoft Excel).
• You should assume the dataset might be used for different analysis purposes by the CEO and CIO respectively. This means you will need to cleanse all data in the database, even if not used for the analysis. Data relevance filtering should not be applied.
• You can assume that the content in the cells is correct.
a.2 Analyse the cleansed data in Microsoft Excel using the review excerpts to inform your choice of data and analysis types.
• Use descriptive and inferential statistical methods for the analysis.
• Limit the inferential statistical techniques to correlation analysis and comparison of means.
You must answer the question below in the excel document attached. (see the excel document. Prepare a dashboard in the tab (Dashboard (A3)).
a.3 Based on your analysis, prepare a dashboard to present to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO and Chief Information Officer (CIO). The dashboard should provide relevant information from the results of your analysis to enhance the CEO’s and CIO’s understanding of the user experience of the booking platform.
After completing a.3, complete the tasks related to case study part (b) and (c) in a Microsoft Word document (see below).
Based on your findings in part (a), Aileron’s CEO and CIO have asked you to perform further analysis of the booking process. They provide you with the following description of the booking process:
To search for a flight, the user enters their search parameters into the online booking platform on Aileron’s website or the Smart Aileron app. These parameters relate to the route (departure and arrival location), schedule, passenger type, service class (economy, business, first-class), flight type (non-stop or stop-over) and itinerary type (return or one-way). Aileron’s global distribution system has a real-time link to the vendors’ (travel agents and airlines) central reservation databases, which contain data on the number of seats available. The Aileron system takes this information from the vendors’ systems to display available flights.
After reviewing available flights, the user selects a flight and any additional service options (eg seat selection, additional baggage, and in-flight meals). Once a flight is selected, the user can either log in to their existing Aileron account or proceed with the purchase as a guest. If a user proceeds as a guest, all user details are entered manually, including name, date of birth, email, address, contact number, gender, nationality and passport number. At this point, the booking platform offers the user the option to create an account, based on the information they have already provided. The user is then asked if they would be interested in a travel insurance. The user can choose from different insurance covers.
Before proceeding to the payment page, the user is also asked if they are interested in local deals (eg on local hotels, rental cars, and sightseeing tours). The user can select local deals and is then sent to the payment page. There, they can change their payment method and/or their details, if required. The user then enters their payment information and makes an up-front payment for the full amount of the ticket price.
Online payments from Aileron users are processed by an accredited third-party payment gateway, SpeedoPay, which offers the most popular payment options, such as Visa and MasterCard. Aileron uses SpeedoPay to ensure a secure and simple payment process.
To process a payment, SpeedoPay first places an authorisation hold on the cardholder’s account to ensure the cardholder has sufficient funds to pay for their ticket. SpeedoPay then processes the payment and transfers the funds to Aileron’s bank account. Aileron receives an automated notification from SpeedoPay once the money has been transferred to its bank account.
Once payment has been made by the user, and processed by SpeedoPay, Aileron’s booking platform automatically requests a reservation with the relevant airline and generates a passenger name record (PNR). The PNR is displayed on electronic tickets (e-tickets) as a 10-digit personal code that contains the traveller’s personal information, booking reservation number and itinerary. The PNR allows airlines to validate the request; it is also used by Aileron to track the user’s record. If the flight is available, Aileron’s booking platform automatically books it and sends a booking confirmation, including the e-ticket, to the user.
Online check-in becomes available 48 hours before the flight, but this varies by airline. To check in, the user enters the details from their e-ticket, either via Aileron’s website or the Smart Aileron app. The user can amend their previously selected options, such as for seats, if available. Once, this process is complete, the user receives their electronic boarding pass.
Sometimes, a booked ticket might not be available and is cancelled by the airline. This occurs when the flight is already fully booked, but the airline has not yet updated the booking details in its system. The airline also cancels the booked ticket when a user uses another booking system at the same time as Aileron is booking the seat and the user on the other booking system completes the booking process first.
Aileron has no control over these cancellations. If a ticket is unavailable, Aileron receives an automated notification from the airline. Aileron’s booking platform then automatically informs the user and starts the refund process.
Two of Aileron’s admin staff are responsible for the refund process. As they are also allocated to other time-consuming tasks, the refund staff members only initiate the refund process once a week – every Friday – for all refunds accumulated during the week. Once a ticket is cancelled, the refund staff members call Aileron’s bank to authorise a refund. The bank then refunds the paid amount to SpeedoPay. This process can take up to one business day. Then, SpeedoPay transfers the funds to the user’s bank account. This can take up to two business days.
In your report, evaluate?the current booking process and?identify?areas for improvement.?
Your answer should include the following:
b.1 A booking process flow diagram illustrating the current booking process (please ensure this is readable).
(Note – You must draw a process flow diagram. accurate illustration of the booking process, correct use of symbols and connectors, which results in a logical and well-organized process flow diagram.)
b.2 An explanation and evaluation of the three sub-problems areas applying computational thinking principles of decomposition and abstraction.(hint – I have highlighted three problems in yellow colour above)
Problem Explanation and evaluation using decomposition Explanation and evaluation using abstractions
Problem 1 Hint: central reservation database See the below example first and apply to the problem like how the example did. See the below example first and apply to the problem like how the example did.
Problem 2 Hint: using third party Speedopay is time consuming process
Problem 3 Hint: inefficiency -two staff -need more staff
Following are lecture notes, so read below about decomposition and abstraction. So it helps you to answer above question which is applying decomposition and abstractions for explain and evaluation of three sun-problem areas.
Decomposition is a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy. It is the process of breaking a large and/or complex problem into smaller, more manageable sub-problems, as illustrated in the following figure. This process is repeated, breaking the smaller sub-problems into even smaller component problems until each part of the problem is easily understandable and solvable. Even outside computational thinking, decomposition is a common and useful problem solving approach in itself.
Example 8.1 – A business solution plug-in for Xero – decomposition
Xero is a cloud-based accounting platform for small and medium-sized businesses. The Xero accounting software uses a single unified ledger that can be accessed online from anywhere and is independent of the user’s operating system and technology platform.
From time to time the company offers new applications to improve the value it provides for its customers. For example, it may add new functionality to further automate various processes. Xero also enables third-party developers and users to create plug-ins that integrate with Xero to provide particular functionality. This is done via the application programming interface (API) protocol – essentially a standardised method that allows separate applications to be integrated by accessing each other’s processes and data. APIs facilitate many of the innovations found in the financial technology sector, with specialists each providing particular functionality around a common platform.
Assume your firm recently migrated to Xero’s cloud-based accounting platform. The implementation proceeded smoothly and staff are now up to speed with the system. In fact, as the benefits have become clear, particularly being able to seamlessly access data and applications from their laptops, tablets and phones while out of the office, some of the staff have begun to point out that their work could be a lot more efficient if the organisation could convert more of its paper-based processes to digital workflows. The accounting team is supportive as this would reduce data entry and cross-checking work as well as better support real-time reporting.
A number of digital workflow plug-ins have already been developed and are available for use on the Xero platform, but your firm wants to develop its own tailored solution. You have been made the accounting lead for the project, meaning you will work on the business needs for the project and collaborate with technology specialists to ensure the solution is built in a way that meets these needs. The first business process to be integrated into a digital workflow is the sales process. Your responsibility is to understand how the paper-based sales process currently works and how it will work when re-engineered as a digital workflow.
You can apply computational thinking to understand the problem and its solution and to help you communicate the business needs clearly and comprehensively to other members of the project team. As a computational thinker, you first analyse your existing system and decompose the ‘problem’ of converting the sales process into components. One approach would be to decompose the sales process according to the paperwork to be replaced. Once those components are identified, each input and output for each piece of paperwork might be identified as another layer of decomposition. An extract from a simplified example, drawn on a whiteboard, paper or in software, might look as follows.
Abstraction is the process of focusing on the important parts of the problem, ignoring irrelevant details. As a simple example, consider a maths problem involving packing 1,250 products into cartons that hold five rows of five products each. The fact the quantities are products and cartons is irrelevant. The important part of the problem is 1,250/5*5 .
Abstraction is a way of generalising a problem by reducing the unimportant details of the problem such that the general simple solution is obtained. The following figure illustrates this concept.
Abstraction helps to simplify the thinking process and reduce the complexity of the problem. Let’s see how this works for our Xero plug-in.
Example 8.3 – A business solution plug-in for Xero – abstraction
Abstraction involves focusing on the relevant parts of the problem. Consider the sales representative’s price look-up. We need to focus on those aspects of the price look-up that are fundamental to what it needs to do. One approach would be to undertake a requirements-gathering exercise, by consulting with sales representatives and any other potential users to list and prioritise the features of the required mobile app. Some users are likely to raise issues such as improving the app’s performance across different devices. A little thought shows this is part of a different sub-problem and not specific to the price look-up function of the sales representative app. A relevant problem, however, is how to authenticate the sales representative’s access to prevent unauthorised people from being able to edit customer records or offer one-off discounts. It is important to consult with other experts, including in particular the software development team, to understand what information they need to successfully implement a solution. Abstraction focuses on only the relevant detail of the problem at hand.
c.1 Clear identification of problem areas in the booking process flow diagram developed in (b.1) above, (eg use colours to highlight problem areas, or alternatively circle the problem areas).
Aileron’s management team has reviewed your process flow diagram and the problems you identified in the booking process. They are worried that inefficiencies in the current process are creating negative user experiences and damaging Aileron’s reputation in the market. To resolve the booking process issues, they suggest automating the existing process using intelligent process automation (IPA).
Aileron’s management team only has a limited understanding of IPA. They ask you to advise on how to improve the current booking process using IPA.
Before you begin, you meet with Aileron’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) to hear more about their requirements for the IPA implementation.
Read the relevant transcripts containing the CEO’s and CIO’s thoughts.
Your task Requirements
Continue your report by adding to the Microsoft Word document you prepared for case study parts (a) and (b). Evaluate how IPA (intelligent process automation) could be used to resolve the problem areas you identified in Aileron’s booking process.
Your answer should address the following:
c.1 An explanation and justification of how IPA (intelligent process automation) can improve the problem areas identified in Part (b). You should consider the appropriateness of IPA for each problem area identified.
(Note: A clear and convincing explanation and justification of how IPA can improve the process identified in the problem areas.
Problem Explanation and justification of how IPA can improve the problem area
Problem 1 in Part (b).
Problem 2 in Part (b).
Problem 3 in Part (b).
c.2 An assessment of three potential ethical issues of IPA implementation.
(Note: - Three relevant ethical issues are identified and appropriately assessed.)
Ethical issue 1 –
Ethical issue 2 –
Ethical issue 3 –
c.3 An updated booking process flow diagram that illustrates how the recommended IPA solution directly addresses the problem areas identified in Part (b), (please ensure this is readable).
(Note: draw updated process flow diagram. You must accurate illustration of the improved booking process, correct use of symbols and connectors which results in a logical and well-organized process flow diagram. )
c.4 Provide a recommendation as to whether Aileron should implement IPA to improve the booking process. Justify your recommendation. Your recommendation should be based on all the information that you have considered in case study parts (a), (b) and (c).
Note- recommendation is clear, convincing and justified and aligns directly with the analysis.