Why Change Software? Reasons are not Enough!


Why Change Software?

There are a lot of rational arguments for change, but the fact is the human brain makes us quite indifferent to most of them.  It’s not until we see something we can NOT NOT do that our indifference is blown away and we are open to change[1].

[1]Acknowledgement to Merrick Furst at Georgia Institute of Technology Center for Deliberate Innovaton.

The double negative sounds strange to our ear, but it unlocks the mind in a unique manner.

Do you think that the features, functions or price are the most important considerations to buy something?  Not really! It is easy to be indifferent to such arguments.  There are a lot of great products we don’t buy.  How many cell phones have more features than the one you use? How many cost less?  Do any of those factors compel you to make a change?

The real reason to change a phone or software (or anything for that matter), is if it enables you to do something you can NOT NOT do once you see that you can.   For example:

  • If your car breaks down all the time and you need it to reliably get to work, you willquicklychange cars or start using some other form of transportation.
  • If you have an old flip-phone and need to use Uber when that car breaks down, you will think seriously about changing to a new smart phone. But, until such a feature creates a NOT NOT situation for you, it is easy to resist making a change.



Does this apply to Airlines?

We explored this idea with airline scheduling and slot managers who recently changed their software tools.  The double negative concept was clearly working in their decisions.

  • One airline had just completed a strategic planning process and realized that they didn’t have the time to address any of their new initiatives because the tedious everyday work and firefights caused by their old schedule manager left them with no time. The initiatives were necessary to achieve growth with value many times greater than the incremental cost for a new modern system, but it was the fact they didn’t have time to do them that opened them up to considering a change. When they saw that a new system could enable them to automate their regular work and also accomplish the strategic initiatives, it became a NOT NOT situation for them.
  • At another airline a new CIO imposed strict security and business continuation policies that all groups were required to meet.The risk of losing a PC or having an obsolete client-server firewall get hacked was not in compliance with the new policies.  The recovery time and risk of errors or lost work had a huge cost.  Both issues were fully satisfied by a cloud-native system using dual authentication and automatic backup capabilities.  Clearly, they could NOT NOT be in compliance.
  • An airline that used an Ops system for live scheduling had to make hundreds of swaps (one for each day of a new season) just to make a sub-fleet change or add a new flight. Many requests from the commercial group could not be handled even though there was significant revenue potential or efficiency benefit from each request.  A true scheduling system with the mass update and automated rotation capabilities based on operational rules became a NOT NOT change that would enable their current small team to get all the requests done and capture the value.
  • A number of airlines export all of their data to Excel and create a pdf file of reports they periodically send to other working areas and to executives.The time delay between new edits and the days old reports led to miscommunications and misaligned actions.  Not having data analytics and user-created reports in their system prevented teams from having timely information and failed to meet the CEO’s vision of a modern digital airline, a clear NOT NOT driver for change.
  • Most airlines are subject to slot coordination groups mandating specific slot rules and messaging capabilities. Manual methods are very tedious, time consuming and run the risk of errors that would not be acceptable for an operation.  Failing to comply is not an option either. Seeing how automated and fast a capable system could be implemented makes it a change that fits the NOT NOT principle.



How Hard is Change?

Seeing what you must do is one thing, but the organizational inertia and resistance to change is often quite another.  It is a lot easier when there is something you can NOT NOT do once the capability is available.  Being in compliance with mandates or enabling growth or contributing significantly to the CEO’s vision is compelling.   But the history of legacy softwareadoption and lack of vendor support has made changing a fairly miserable experienceuntil recently.

Part of Zulu’s business model design is the ease of transition and full supportby experienced schedulers and slot management experts.  The modern technology is easy to use, and Zulu can talk with other systems and integratewith the workflow of the organization quite quickly.  This easy transition happens not only during initial set up, but also for each monthly upgrade of innovationsthat you request.  These are part of the Zulu service and are fully tested and installed in the cloud without disrupting your workflow.  You just log in and keep using the system.

Let us know if you have something you can NOT NOT do now.  We would like to talk.