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Southwest Airlines"™ Digital Transformation Takes Off
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Southwest Airlines"™ Digital Transformation Takes Off

Southwest Airline"™ hub in Dallas exists in a world of constant hecticness. Love Field, one of the city"™s two main airports, is as close to a private Southwest airport as you"™re likely to find. On any given day, Southwest operates 180 flights out of the airport; apart from a few Virgin America and Delta flights, Love Field is Southwest"™s home turf. Southwest"™s corporate headquarters is even located there.

Now this busy airport and the 8 million fliers it serves each year are at the center of an amazingly complicated project: Southwest"™s effort to digitize massive swaths of the airline experience and migrate employees used to working with ancient tools like logbooks, radio, pneumatic tubes, and whiteboards to 21st century-style digital communications.

A big part of this migration is a project called OpsSuite"“a web-based app package that handles many of the tasks that ensure travelers make it safely from destination A to destination B. With OpsSuite tools, Southwest"™s employees monitor gate assignments and use, ensure luggage is loaded onto aircraft, and track a myriad amount of other traveler data. If an employee inside an airport needs information from a plane that is sitting at the gate, they use OpsSuite. If workers at LAX want to know what the logistical ramifications are of a storm in Dallas, they use OpsSuite. A whole lot of data goes through OpsSuite"“data the airline needs to know in order to operate. Currently based over the web on conventional PCs and laptops, Southwest plans to bring OpsSuite"™s functionality to phones and tablets in the coming years. This change will make employee communications significantly easier at the airline, which has operations spread across dozens of airports…

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