CIO Leadership Live with Eash Sundaram, EVP, Chief Digital & Technology Officer at JetBlue


hi good afternoon I’m Maryfran Johnson
executive director of CIO programs here at IDG welcome to this edition of the
CIO leadership live I’m joined today by the chief digital officer and executive
VP of JetBlue Airways and we’re gonna have a lot of fun talking for the next
45 minutes or so our broadcast that you’re watching is that is streaming
live right now onto Twitter and to YouTube to our IDG Tech Talk Channel and
then also and this is new today on to LinkedIn through our CIO comm page on
LinkedIn it’s our first experience streaming live
on to LinkedIn as well as Twitter and YouTube so please take advantage of this
opportunity since you’re here live and party you can be part of this
conversation just you can post a comment and we’re watching for all that and if
you have a question directly for the chief digital officer of JetBlue I will
be able to throw it his way so let me do a more formal introduction
Eash Sundaram is the executive vice president and chief digital and
technology officer at JetBlue Airways in addition to his executive vp and his CEO
role each is also serving as the oversight officer for JetBlue technology
ventures which is a silicon valley-based subsidiary that invests in early-stage
technologies that are focused in the travel hospitality and technology
industries as a member of the airline’s executive leadership team each is
responsible for all technology strategy and the digital transformation efforts
that are being felt by customers of the airline and I think there’s something
like 40 million of us over time and then more than 22 thousand crew members he
also leads JetBlue’s innovation hub before he joined JetBlue early in 2012
each served as the CIO and the global supply chain officer for Paul
Corporation a new york-based biotech business before that he held a variety
of global leadership positions in technology and operations with McKesson
Corporation I two technologies and lk technologies among the many awards
and honors he has amassed over the years are two very recent ones this past May
each one the 2019 MIT Sloan CIO leadership of the of the Year award and
last year we inducted him into our CIO Hall of Fame thank you so much for
joining me here today each how are you thank you thank you Mary friend I’m
doing great live from our Long Island City Support
Center it’s an honor and pleasure to be in the show
okay wonderful let’s start out I often do this with our CIO guess where we take
a we go 30,000 feet above the world today which is so appropriate for you at
JetBlue and we talked about the disruption that you see going on in the
industry and what kind of an impact you’re feeling from that on the
competitive landscape so to kind of place that for us about how JetBlue is
looking at that landscape these days you know a my friend if you know we always
share this when you think about aviation commercial aviation started January 1st
1914 in 105 years of commercial aviation the first late st. Petersburg to Tampa
in hundred five years this industry has seen more challenges than opportunities
then you think about it inheritance ideas you’ve seen mergers acquisitions
and bankruptcies and and JetBlue is very proud to say we are one of the airlines
that has survived them and thrived in two decades without going through one of
them and and and the first thing when we look at our strategy in terms of our
customer experience we say it has to be personal helpful and simple and and
there’s two things that matters the most for us one is a great culture 22,000
solid crew members who you know deliver that experience day in and day out and
also a great technology platform that gives the tools to our customers and our
crew members to deliver that experience okay well one of the things you and I
have talked about was the is the importance of future proofing the
JetBlue brain and with all the stress and the economic
cycles and things that you mentioned technology drives a lot of enable that
there but when you talk about future proofing the brand what does that mean
yeah when you think about our industry aviation is very acid heavy and very
cyclical for us the future proof JetBlue as a brand we look at things beyond just
buying new planes and also grow asset late in the next decade and you know
technology has been a key enabler for us and when you look at the product
expansion whether it’s whether it’s our travel products that’s a newly owned
subsidiary of JetBlue we’re bringing in a lot of expansion into the travel
driven on asset laid products that is going to draw the JetBlue footprint one
of the other things that you and I have talked about about the mission of
JetBlue is the the future being turning more into a travel company versus an
airline I mean running an airline is tough enough but to expand the brand and
to future-proof it when you become more of a travel company how does that happen
and and what does that mean exactly yeah when you think about you know the
the industry itself we look at you know growing beyond just selling tickets for
us as a great opportunity for us to expand that tronic portfolio in the
travel driven generally people come in buy an airline ticket they most likely
buy a hotel in a car but there are many many opportunities for us to grow that
footprint for the forty five million customers who fly by building in tech
products that are really asset late and and much quicker to deploy rather than
buying hard products like expanding our planes and you know airports so our
general ventures has been rock solid support for us in terms of disrupting
that space when you think about Silicon Valley it’s full of ideas we want to be
in front of disruption rather than being at the back of being destructed and
future proofing for us to expand our product portfolio you know
I go back saying this JetBlue was founded our of our founders used to say
JetBlue is a customer’s service company happens to fly planes today I think
we’re redefining that to be a travel tech company in the customer service
business and flying planes happens behind the scenes for us yes you know I
remember the very first time I ever heard a CIO talking that way it was
probably back in the 1990s and I was with computer world then and we were at
one of our events and I had the CIO of United Airlines on and on stage and he
was CIO is even then we’re still we’re talking about that kind of that future
eventualities that they would become eventually a company that flew airplanes
or that happen to fly airplanes but they were really at their heart a technology
company I think it’s a lot it’s probably much more true today than it was back in
the 1990s but how does that have an impact on the role that you have you
have a much broader role than just CIO you’re a chief digital officer you’re
running a Silicon Valley startup could you have envisioned when you joined in
2012 that the role you have today would would have expanded its own brand so
much you know JetBlue you know I look back at JetBlue’s history you know
innovation has been in our DNA technology has been a core enabler for
JetBlue since day one when this company actually started with llave televisions
in the seatback think of a flying object with you know at 500 miles per hour you
know putting in live television 20 years ago that was a great innovation
and over the course of many years if you think about the Wi-Fi the satellite that
we launched in partnership advice that we’ve always taken a very contrary and
approach in terms of driving innovation and you know what what what I did and my
team did was the supercharged that effort into you know building in more
products that are tech enabled and you know driving a very personalized travel
experience for our customers and also giving the tool store crew members to
deliver that seamless personal experience
I think I think when I look back at you know our technology ventures or or the
travel products you know spin off I think everything is taken able it just
carries into the history of like the innovative thinking that we have had and
our job and my role in the organization is to help deliver that experience and
supercharge that as technology programs you know the useful life is shrinking in
the speaker market has to be rapid that’s what my team’s doing here okay
all right good and we’ll get it we’ll get a little bit later we’ll get into
how you have the team structure because you have a very interesting structure
that you’ve done with the whole technology mission but we have a
question from our faithful listeners right now they would like to know what
are the main digital transformation challenges that face the airline
industry yeah the biggest opportunity we have we never look at everything as a
challenge we look at as opportunity you know as much as complexity that exists
behind the behind the scenes in aviation industry you know our mission to drive
personal helpful simple customer experience has given us an opportunity
to eliminate things that doesn’t really add value to the customer you know
oftentimes people think that it’s more technology is what is needed with a
customer it’s actually the opposite people want less technology more
personalized much simpler footprint to operate and you know over the last four
years we have taken an opportunity not just to look at a technical lens but
also look at the people aspect then the process aspect to drive that kind of a
technology deployment and here you know I always say this we want airports to be
a transitional Airport experience not a transactional Airport experience and
it’s really driving that interaction with our customers is what matters to us
less of a technology focus it’s more of how do you drive that human experience
well and I think that as a frequent flyer on various Airlines especially on
JetBlue I’ve noticed I think we’ve all noticed
that a lot of the the desks have disappeared that you’re more likely to
walk into this open area with Kia and to have people in there JetBlue
uniforms come up and ask you how can they help you and it really is something
you appreciate in an airport because it’s that human face on the technology
it’s a little bit behind the scenes there’s more technology than ever but
the thing that customers really like is to see less of it you know it’s
interesting their friend you know we all travel so it’s easy to translate our
experiences into what you do for your living great yeah and and and if you ask
the ten people who travel the number one thing they say is we want no lines we
want less than you know transaction yeah nobody wants to spend in a lane and a
print copy of their boarding pass so we’re trying to make this very seamless
the airport mm and the day of travel experience is where we focused the most
of our energy on driving self-service but not just self-service we definitely
don’t want to take our problems and give it to our customers and say they are
self-service right our new way of self-service is really making it
personal hopeful and simple mm-hmm okay that sounds like that sounds like it’s
probably everybody’s motto in the company right right now you had
mentioned that the JetBlue ventures plays into all of this this customer
centric focus place into it big time was the way you put it there’s JetBlue
travel products which was created a year ago tell me a bit more about that how
the ventures how the venture arm is adding to this whole strategy yeah when
you think about an industry that is being disrupted you know there’s a lot
of new players in the marketplace who wants to come and play in our space
think about the hoover think about the Airbnb is the Amazons a lot of large
players are coming into the space but when you also go into Silicon Valley at
any point in time there’s like twenty eight thousand startups that potentially
will disrupt our our space we we as a company as I said we have very
innovative we want to be in front of everything than being disrupted so
we started our own you know venture capital fund which which is
headquartered in Silicon Valley which basically drives the innovation within
JetBlue you know being in front of it we help you know kind of drive that market
into the future versus being you know disrupted and have to fight hard in a
defensive move it’s it’s actually helped us a lot in terms of how we look at
expanding the product portfolio beyond just being an Abilene into travel tech
hospitality space but also within JetBlue a lot of these tools and
technologies that is coming in is changing the way how we price the ticket
it’s changing the way how we manage whether it’s changing the way how we run
our legal department every single department within JetBlue is looking at
innovation as how we built this company for the future rather than following a
legacy path okay well and you also mentioned you’ve got 28 different
companies now in the portfolio for JetBlue ventures correct so we started
our wrenchers in 2060 informally in in the last three years we’ve invested
about officially at least publicly stated about 28 plus companies the
interesting thing is that we always say we are not a bank to just invest in
these companies that’s not the purpose of why we started our ventures it’s more
about how we change the way we do business how do we build new products
about 30% of these companies we would consume in the first year of investments
and then change the way we do business today so a lot of these companies I’m
talking about whether it’s flour labs or gladly or climate’s l-shape Security
visa companies actually that is powering a lot of innovation in JetBlue yeah okay
well great well we have another question you’re incredibly popular today we often
get out there pitching that people can ask questions over Twitter and and then
it’s crickets we don’t hear anybody they just I think it fascinated just
listening but this question is about what is your strategy to monetize the
digital assets that you gained during the traveler journey since we’re
thinking about travelers and and and the way they interact with
JetBlue and how that’s changing what’s your strategy to monetize all those
digital assets well if you I’m not sure if I understand the question specific
but let me let me try out two different views on this okay we clearly value our
customer data and the privacy around it we will never compromise anything on
privacy or for customer data so you know when it comes to monetization you have
extremely sensitive to you know monetizing or customer data we would not
do that okay where we really think our investments are helping is having a
great brand like JetBlue being able to be a launch customer on these
investments for them gives them a great platform to build a great company such
as you know when we started with like gladly they have probably a handful of
customers now with the JetBlue brand and the success they have had in the
ventures they have expanded their customer base significantly so our
investments returns that you know benefit longer term in terms of the the
multiplier factor but in terms of our digital assets you know we carry about
40 to 45 million customers average a year and most of them just buy a ticket
and and we call them the attach rates the ancillary sales on top of you know
our core core addling ticket is relatively small and our view is to
build more products that our customers can buy beyond just a Advocate and
that’s really the focus on our general travel products which is a asset laid
company that is building a lot of ancillary products that you know we can
really monetize or 45 million customer data that we have internally in JetBlue
to sell them more or you know travel products that the traveler them hmm well
that’s that’s a good answer because I think it is very difficult just the word
monetize might sound like you’re trying to turn customer data into you know some
sort of cash stream but that seems very much the opposite of what you’re doing
with the strategy you’ve mentioned gladly a few times talk
a little bit about what gladly is I had to look it up I hadn’t heard of it
before although I may have already used some of the I guess it’s an omni-channel
experience for travelers yeah so gladly is one of our investment companies it’s
a great luck you know sponsored company headquartered
in California think about when customers reach out the JetBlue they can come
through different channels you booked a ticket you know you call JetBlue you can
come through chat a telephone line an email a text message there are so many
different ways customers communicate back it was and
and and in the past we didn’t really connect all the dots between different
modes of communication into one view single view of the customer that’s
exactly what gladly does basically it builds a conversation around all the
multiple interaction a customer has with us in reality what took us 15 20 minutes
to answer a phone call because we had to go do research behind the scenes when
anyone calls us now we have the 360 view of the customer instantaneously in front
of our customer support people which rapidly solves the problem for them in
terms of how we address the issues and that’s the that’s what the tool does for
us okay okay excellent well let’s shift over into talking about the customer
expectations and how those are changing what sort of a shift have you seen in
your eight years with the airline now well the the challenges in the industry
is people need quick answers and quick solutions yeah unlike many other
industries that when somebody’s stuck at the airport due to weather or mechanical
or whatever it is their choices are very limited in terms of you know what they
can do to continue with their journey and and a rapid response is expected but
the response cannot be there is a problem we are working on it it has to
be a solution that we need to provide and
these technology tools kills enormous amount of visibility for us not just the
problem but also choices for us with solutions that we can offer not always
there is one solution there are multiple solutions in terms of how we you know
give back to our customers and definitely that’s speed response and and
the quality of response is what is uniquely changing in our industry okay
how do you go about measuring that each how how do you know for sure that that’s
what’s happening with your customers yeah one of the things we do a new job
within JetBlue is the measure or neck promoter score you know it’s as simple
as every every customer who fleiss’s is given an opportunity to give us feedback
on in terms of you know how we deliver that experience you know pre post and
during the flight that’s that’s as simple as that and and the neck promoter
score is a direct measure of customer satisfaction but we go deeper into every
step of the travel ribbon to measure the you know the response of our customers
the voice of the customers and our Net Promoter Score is pretty high for our
industry in terms of you know where we stand and in in in the in the high 50s
you know we compare ourselves more towards the googles and the apples in
terms of for Net Promoter Score Martin a traditional airline industry because you
know adlet industry has never been known for service where you know we’re retail
and and and technology companies the new generation companies are known for
service then that’s where we strive towards okay uh and we have you are
incredibly popular today we have another question and this one is about and it’s
segues very nicely into what I wanted to talk about next about the IT
organization what sort of changes did you make – the IT organizational
structure that helped you be more responsive to customers and that really
is congratulations to our audience members that’s an excellent question and
one I had on my own list so tell us about how you’ve got IT structured and
why you’ve structured it that way with the customer in mind it’s interesting
there and when they look back you know eight years of my career and JetBlue the
first thing I say is don’t fall in love with your strategy or
your organizational design at Memorial mm-hmm it’s changed multiple times I
don’t think there is a perfect organizational design for any
organization it has to fit the design of the organizational mission here at
JetBlue we we tend to avoid certain things like ID and business you know
today technology is the business for us you know everything you know whether
it’s our customer experience their operations or how we run this company is
so so dependent and enabled by technology so we have a slightly
different organizational design in here that collapses different functions into
one group so for example Mike stronger leaves or a product team he’s a chief
product officer of JetBlue where we have brought in a lot of functions we call
them the matrix functions like from Mark Mike used to run our you know ecommerce
digital team in the past but we’ve merged that entire ecommerce digital
team from start to finish into one integrated work group which has helped
us tremendously who else can speed to market and cost to
deliver in the past there was a lot of handoffs between commercial marketing
and IP now it’s all one integrated team under one leader then a test out we’re
trying to collapse things to make it faster you know less expensive high
quality products beneath this I always say the fundamental thing that has
helped us deliver this kind of a solid you know platform is our crew members
and talent has become a such as such a critical part for us especially with new
generation technologies you know we’ve expanded our talent into a global
footprint and and you know we go to the best place where we can find the best
and brightest talent for us mm-hmm now you had mentioned to the the integrated
digital experiences how those all come under one umbrella is that under your
chief product officer or is our digital innovations division of their own
so yeah the Innovation Lab and the and the product management function is under
you know one person which is micrometer or chief product officer who reports
under me and we also have a very strong leadership under rocky Ramaswamy driving
the core technology development and architecture part which never existed in
the past you know many years ago you know we always say this in the past you
know we used to buy a lot of you know commodity products and you know and
deploy now we have so focused on building curated products for our
customers and to members so our internal development team has actually grown much
larger and and focus-group than the previous decade of Kjetil mm-hmm
well and I am go ahead and sorry one of the things that has changed everything
for us this the concept of agile while most companies have leveraged agile you
know we’ve taken it to another level of you know deployment within JetBlue that
we are absolutely seeing the benefits of agile deployment in terms of the speed
to market and you know the quality aspects of what we do yeah well and what
you’re saying about expanding the internal development team it immediately
made me think of agile because I think that it has driven a lot of those sorts
of changes for companies and I’ve heard that from other CIOs now how much their
hiring has changed one of them told me that he’s looking for people that want
to build things rather than people that want to manage things and then you know
there’s this whole kind of like diving in and getting your hands around it that
has come back I love in sourcing stories we had a last month at our CIO 100
innovation conference we had a particularly compelling story from GE
which all around the world in sourced their helpdesk essentially their support
function for employees was something that they had 70 different vendors
providing and they recreated it and pulled it all in-house and it saved them
a big ton of money but it also changed their Net Promoter scores from a very
negative number to a very positive one because of the way they had turned
the digital transformation inside as well as external I tend to think over
time that that’s what marks a company that truly is transforming with
technology that it’s not just about external customers it’s actually about
the internal employees the crew members absolutely and and within JetBlue we
always say this there is only two work groups within JetBlue people who serve
the customer we call them our frontline staff and to members and people who
serve our frontline true members our support center people like us yes and
you you have to you have to focus on owning your products you have to focus
on owning a relationship and delivery you know and having the right partners
is very important to us we are very fortunate to have very good partners
that help us deliver that experience but end of the day I always say you know the
buck stops in our office and you know we need to own that product delivery and
the product quality and that’s what we do yeah well and it’s actually segues
very nicely into talking about data science which may sound non-intuitive to
our listeners but as we were talking about the emerging tech trends and
thinking about the internal operations you’ve got a lot that has happened with
critical maintenance and crew planning and the kind of that behind-the-scenes
running that happens in every airline that is now very much a focus of your
digital transformation efforts talk a little bit about that new function you
created you have data Sciences under you now and you mentioned a 27 year old data
scientist from the New York Police Department that you brought in tell our
listeners that story I love that one it’s it’s interesting was the youngest
ranking non uniformed police police director who joined us recently Yale
graduate hero and sort of data science team he modernized NYPD you know data
science radically the last five years so we brought a lot more here’s the thing
the new generation you know technologists are
looking at technology as a toolkit versus a skill set Benjamin
you know happens to be a liberal arts degree holder from Yale but he is a very
very strong technologist in terms of leveraging machine learning AI as a tool
versus just looking at it as a skill set right that’s what we’re tapping into
people with diverse experience they come into our industry and they you know
question this question everything and that’s really the you know the the
curiosity the inclusiveness is such a fundamental thing that is needed to be
in data science field the machine learning AI basically turns this faster
for them but if you don’t have the curiosity to ask you know different
questions the contrary in thinking the machines are not going to you know give
you any set of different answers right so we’re building this data science team
with a very diverse skill set what is also changing is the machines themselves
behind the scenes in airplanes the engines the the technology that goes
with it has enormous amount of data coming in now the generation you know
engines that that we you know we are deploying in our fleet like with the
a321 years and the a220 platform gives us so much opportunity to do things
different in terms of predictive maintenance preventive maintenance you
think about the largest one of the largest cost centers in inject fluid so
maintenance and you know maintenance function mm-hmm several hundred million
dollars being spent in there even a fraction of percentage of cost savings
is huge to us influence but also you know we just don’t do this because of
cost saving this is such an important thing for us in terms of Raving safety
for airlines and and and the amount of data that we collect and the ability to
drive you know our data science programs on top is just going to make us much
better operationally and also from a cost management standpoint hmm well you
told me a story earlier about a way you could pick up on information that would
prevent things like a plane getting stuck overnight in Havana for instance
so talk about that loop you know these these engines have so
much forward-looking data if you had the right set of people with the right
certify is looking at it you can prevent things from happening
most of these engines give you data worth you know a week in advance that
you can actually plan certain maintenance proactively so if I know a
plane that needs a specific set of maintenance that’s going to happen in
the next three days and if we choose to hold the plane and do the maintenance
three days early it doesn’t flame to Havana a place like how on our way we
don’t have a maintenance base and get stuck there now I have to send people
you know and and you know technicians and we need to find another plane to
bring the people back all these things cost us enormous amount of money and
impacts our customer experience so we’re looking at data science in terms of more
so how to prevent things happening rather than reacting to it after it
happens yeah well the the longer the the long-held dream of predictive analytics
you know data and analytics attention can give you some information that you
can use right now that will actually help something going forward right and
you know when you think about predictive analytics in the past you know it was
very prominent in the commercial space right people who managed revenue people
managed you know yield and different functions within the commercial space
historically in the operation side it was a very prominent and now we are
seeing that coming to the operation side mm-hmm the one of the other since I’m
just thinking about your whole approach to innovation and one of the companies
that you mentioned a few times was climb a cell which is a weather predicting
tool and tell me about how JetBlue has been using that I know that’s one of the
companies JetBlue ventures has is an investor in yeah climb cell is a very
innovative company founded by a bunch of MIT PhDs and data science and also their
former fighter jet pilots who found a way to you know capture weather data
from from cellphone signals that transmits
from one tower to another historically radar accuracy is you know farther
beyond like a mile in radius and and not very accurate that’s the best technology
we’ve seen so far but when you start monitoring precipitation through cell
phone towers you get such close you know range in terms of a few hundred feet
range to manage weather to a very high level of accuracy
now think about airport diversions planning for snow it happens by the
minutes it doesn’t happen by the hour and days while we plan storms and other
things by the days but at thunderstorm coming into the neighborhood where you
have to divert the flight literally happens in 15-20 minutes and climber
cell technology gives us the opportunity to plan that close time window so it
doesn’t impact customer experience adversely or even safety it’s enhanced
we are working on certain airports you know driving an airport level efficiency
program in terms of leveraging climate cell we will be working closely with you
know Federal Aviation Administration you know to certify this product it’s it’s
currently being tested in a parallel more that’s not being deployed yet but
we’ve seen enormous amount of value using these tools you know working with
our airports and our systems operations excellent excellent
well let’s move in now to well and I also was just reminding myself to to
speak to the audience and and remind people that if you’re just joining us
I’m Mary Fran Johnson an executive director of CIO programs here at IDG and
I’m here talking with e:h Sundaram who is the executive vp and the chief
digital and technology officer at JetBlue and we’ve been getting lots of
great questions from the audience so if you have something that has suddenly
left to mind as you’re listening to us please do put it in the comments field
and send it in and we’ll we’ll see if I can get it in front of each load let me
circle back and ask you about a topic that I always end up talking with CIOs
about in its talent acquisition and retention it
just there is whatever strategies you use to build up the internal tech
knowledge at the company and all that and I know you have a lot of one of the
things you’ve said in the past about it is people talk about finding curious
learners but are you actually hiring them on your IT team and by and by
curious learners you mean people that are not necessarily computer science
graduates they might have liberal arts backgrounds and that sort of thing talk
about your talent strategy a little bit and and how that has been changing of
late you know the first thing that comes to my mind when when we think about
talent is are you running a great company that people want to come and
work for you know when you think about a company like JetBlue I’ve been here
three years now it’s absolutely a fun company to work for when you think about
our value safety caring integrity passion and fun you know every aspect of
our value we take it very serious and and no wonder our company has the
highest engagement scores then you know year after year when you think about
engagement scores of 90 plus it shows you know the the the the background of
this company with that said you know talent acquisition is very important but
talent retention is also even more important we want to make sure that
people enjoy their job it’s not just a job it’s a career a lot of people here
value this as a long-standing career not just in the technology department but
across the twenty third twenty two thousand finesse we have specific new
technology the biggest opportunity we have is you know how quickly can we
change the leverage new generation technologies and and use people in you
know energize them excited and as you can see the continuous investment
whether it’s the core technologies or when you think about our ventures and
travel products it’s just given so much opportunities for new people to come in
but also the existing people like the crew members we have to learn new things
and and and you know keep up with the pace of the change that’s happening in
in the space and and we are very global in terms of our talent outlook we have
people in India we have people in Cracow we have people in Dublin
whether it’s or partners or to JetBlue you know we
have been very fortunate to have one of the best and the brightest and most
passionate talented in this company mm-hmm well one of the programs that we
talked about that I thought was unique and I hadn’t heard about it anywhere
else was the Jet Blue Scholars program tell me about that yeah when you when
you think about an industry like aviation you know with mergers
acquisitions and bankruptcies you know this is a tough industry where seniority
plays a huge role in in in how people build their career so you know JetBlue
has been always thinking about you know caring as a great value but also giving
an opportunity for our to numbers to learn so checklist colors was built by
our president of the ventures bonny Sammy who also was leading our talent in
the past then and now she has the ventures Barney’s idea was to come up
with a internal program in partnership with certain universities to provide
absolutely the lowest cost college degree affordable to all our crew
members many of our crew members have done certain you know amount of college
credits you know more than a thousand crew members you know have gotten about
185 degrees so far thousand crew members have been told about 185 graduated with
degrees what it basically does is for about minimum cost of you know five
hundred to a thousand dollars you can take your existing credits from the past
earn credits through an online program and also build credits through your work
experience in roughly two to three years you earn a college degree in many
different fields we recently used degrees in computer science we have even
officers who didn’t finish their college degree ended up finishing it recently so
it’s a great program it doesn’t cost anything unlike unlike many companies
that they say they knew you know $500 thousand dollars of credit we actually
give them a whole degree for that price into the three years well I know you
have a master’s in transportation management are you
have you got any plans to pick up another degree in anything – I would
love to do that we still haven’t started any master’s
program and that’s something you’ve been asking asking for a while
well I we have another question from our eager audience here and it’s about
thinking about enhancing the customer experience and making sure you’re
hitting all the compliance regulations and better digital presence how do you
plan to leverage immersive solutions like in augmented and virtual reality
this is probably something you’re going on in your innovation labs a lot of a
lot of these technologies have not come into a mature state for us to leverage
definitely looking at in the maintenance side some of these technologies but also
in our customer experience site some of these technologies but but we we you
know we take complaints very serious whether it’s a TA or privacy loss we
work through with agencies to make sure that you know all these required
compliance you know needs are taken care of but also start driving a lot of
innovation with new generation technologies that’s available for us
mm-hmm excellent well my final question in our
last minute or two here one of the quotes that that you has been attributed
to you and I think in one of the many interviews you talk about the CIO of the
future being the chief influence officer and that’s what CIO comes to mean and
that that’s a lot about how your organization is influencing the customer
experience just talk a little bit about how you developed yourself and – chief
influencer officer what kind of advice do you have for other CIOs that are
listening that would also like to have CIO come to mean that it’s it’s
interesting that when you know when they look back at my career you know the
number one thing I enjoyed was asking the question right like having the
curiosity to know you know how you can how you can influence something and how
you can change the way things are done my my first interview with JetBlue with
Johnny Garrity she said if you come into this industry what would you do
different tomorrow I said why check in you know
if you look back at check-in you know check-ins started when computers were
not there in in the industry and people who had to show up at a counter to show
that they are present and that’s all check-ins started in today’s day and age
lake you shouldn’t have checked in you shouldn’t have boarding passes you
shouldn’t have bag bags and are slowly eliminating that and and and you think
about it you know I go back to this having the
curiosity having the the interest to learn new things this what drives this
you all to be successful and this is a fast changing you know industry and and
and and you have to have both yes yes I agree and as you go forward into the
rest of 2019 and 2020 what is the beyond improving the
customer experience what would you mark out as kind of the most significant the
most significant project or program that IT will deliver new JetBlue listen you
know we always say our number one objective is to keep the sad lane safe
and secure and and we continue doing this day in and day out and this is a
challenging industry and and and driving our crew member satisfaction is
absolutely a top priority for us whether it’s a ITU member or Airport crew member
and and you know if we can do those two things successfully I think our
customers will be extremely happy and delighted to travel with us and we don’t
want to shift our focus from that okay well thank you so much for your time
today it was wonderful talking with you as it always is and you I’ve always got
so much going on so I really appreciate a very busy CIO taking the time to talk
with us today thanks Erin again thank you for the opportunity it’s a great
honor to be here with you and and thank you again for everyone for listening
yes exactly now if you would like to see more CIO leadership live interviews be
sure to follow CIO online on LinkedIn and Twitter and subscribe to our IDG
Tech Talk on the YouTube channel and now as of today we’re also stream
on the CIO page on LinkedIn and our next upcoming CIO leadership live will be on
October 23rd when I will be talking with CIO David Bayon of lazyboy and so I hope
you can join us for that one and thanks so much for joining us today and thanks
especially for all those great questions that came in from the audience
take care

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