(US and Canada) France Grenot, Director, IT Data Enterprise & Customer & Commercial, Southwest Airlines, speaks with Ravi Shankar, Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer, Denodo, about the company’s data management strategy and how it leverages data for better customer service.

Southwest Airlines employs technology to coordinate with its call centers and ground operations agents because they are the ones providing data, resulting in a 360-degree view of its customers. “They know what they need to know about the customers to serve them the best. And they also know what they don't want to discover by talking to the customer. We want to provide that data to them right away,” Grenot says. 

The organization is gradually inclining toward event-based data sources instead of multiple sources, she notes. “Our technology is all over the place. Like a lot of big tech shops, we take data from files, APIs, and events, combine store data and all of that, and serve it back. We are starting to move towards this event-driven architecture where most of the data is coming to us through events. It definitely will be easier to join all of that data. Then we are serving that data to the call center apps, to our ground operation apps, etc., through APIs. We are moving towards more real-time streaming so that the data can be even more accessible.”

Southwest’s overall approach right now is pointing toward self-service visualization.

“We are partnering with some of our more tech-savvy business folks, too, because they also have a need like data science folks. What we are doing is answering those bigger needs. We are providing them direct access to some data platforms, and we embed data engineers in those teams so that they can access the data that way, too,” Grenot concludes.