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Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer (2012)

Chapter: Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - The IT Communication Triangle Solving IT Issues." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14622.
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6C H A P T E R 2 2.1 The Challenges of Communicating About IT In the last 20 years, IT has emerged from a discipline that is primarily focused on financial and administrative tasks to become a core underpinning of all aspects of airport operations. At the same time, the role of the IT professional has expanded and become highly visible, and the work done by IT staff has become an essential part of most business operations of all sizes and complexity. The growing dependence of airports on their IT infrastructure, applications, and data has caused all organizations to have a vested interest in that infrastructure’s reliability and function- ality. Good communications among airport executives, stakeholders, and the IT organization are critical to the successful operation of airports. The three-point relationship between these parties (CEO, executive stakeholder, and CIO) can be described as a triangle of communication, as shown in Figure 2-1. The diagram puts the CEO at the top, in a simplified version of the airport organizational hier- archy. However, the triangle is about communication; it is not an organizational chart. Regard- less of the organizational structure, the triangle of communication remains the same. This chapter examines commonly occurring IT communication challenges among the three parties in the communication triangle. As each challenge is discussed, the chapter provides insight into the problem, identifies why it exists, and offers suggestions for improvement. Table 2-1 sum- marizes the common challenges. It is important to recognize the three distinct executive roles and understand that, especially in smaller airports, the roles may be consolidated and performed by one or two staff members who have competing interests. This chapter facilitates the mutual understanding of each executive’s perspective in regard to the fundamental considerations of IT at airports. Each section focuses on one leg of the commu- nications triangle. For each leg, a table of each executive’s expectations and perspectives about the other is provided. The associated communication challenges and suggested solutions are then discussed in more detail. 2.2 CEO–CIO Communication Setting clear goals, delegating authority with responsibility, and assigning accountability for actions are all appropriate activities between the CEO and CIO. Because IT permeates all depart- ments in an airport, the interaction between CEOs and CIOs is extremely important yet uniquely different from that of other executives who report to the CEO. Table 2-2 portrays perspectives that each of these executives feel it is important for the other to understand. The IT Communication Triangle— Solving IT Issues

The IT Communication Triangle—Solving IT Issues 7 Figure 2-1. IT triangle of communication. Table 2-1. Common IT challenges at airports.

The perspectives discussed in Table 2-2 lead to common communication challenges between the CEO and CIO. These challenges and suggested solutions are discussed in more detail in the following. 2.2.1 Challenge: IT Systems Have a Short Life Span It is difficult for many disciplines and industries, including IT, to perfectly foresee advances and growth and to project all costs over the near and long term. IT’s fast pace and expense can be a source of concern and frustration for airport CEOs and stakeholders. As IT expands throughout airports, it requires a larger share of capital and operational funds, and unlike ter- minal buildings and runways, which have lives measured in decades, many IT systems are effec- tively obsolete in as few as 5 years. 8 Information Technology Systems at Airports–A Primer Table 2-2. CEO–CIO perspectives.

Establishing IT systems with longevity presents a significant challenge to airports. Informa- tion technology’s very nature involves frequent innovation and change. Over the past two decades, computers and software have become more powerful by orders of magnitude. Network speeds and capacity now extend into ranges over 100 times greater than they were just 10 years ago. Nothing indicates that these increases in performance are slowing down or that the appetite of users for improvement is diminishing. This rate of change causes IT systems to have short life spans, given that users demand new IT features and capabilities on a frequent basis. The problem is how to future-proof the IT investment to the greatest degree possible, such that upgrade and replacement costs, while not eliminated, are at least reduced and managed. Solution: Plan Strategically Airport management is skilled at master planning. Typically, on a regular cycle, the airport staff and planning experts meet to review the existing master plan and revise and adjust it in light of a range of conditions, from traffic forecasts to changes in airline requirements or the need for additional parking. These periodic strategic planning sessions provide executive stakeholders and the CEO with long-term guidance for organizing and funding the capital projects of the air- port. By tying the goals of the IT master plan to those of the airport master plan, the usefulness and longevity of the IT infrastructure can be expanded. Over 50% of CEOs believe that IT goals are not mapped to airport goals, and only 18% indi- cate that an IT master plan is produced. These numbers indicate less than half of the airports are developing an IT master plan, which is a significant problem. An IT master plan does not have to be complex or cumbersome. Its size, scale, and detail will depend on the size of the airport and the airport’s need for IT. Regardless, long-term planning for IT is essential and must be performed. When it is performed, it is incumbent on the CIO to normalize that plan to the airport master plan and relay the future vision for IT technology to the CEO and stakeholders. IT master planning includes assessing the existing conditions of all IT systems and highlight- ing systems that are near their end of life or are otherwise unsustainable. A 360-degree analysis of user perceptions of the IT systems and department will identify both technology and manage- ment areas that require attention. By looking outward at the industry, IT can identify technol- ogy trends that may be applicable at the airport. When the research is completed and lessons are extracted, IT projects can be prioritized and organized into a road map that is aligned with the airport master plan. (Although this will not eliminate IT costs and the cycle of innovation, it will help identify economies, ensure that all parties understand the costs and benefits, and allow for more effective planning overall.) CEOs need IT master plans so they can understand what funding the IT department needs and what IT projects are critical to accomplishing the airport master plan. Here is a real-world story from an airport, obtained, as with all of these quotations throughout the primer, through an anonymous survey: We worked with a third-party consulting team to create an IT master plan. This project allowed us to assess our IT needs from a systemic viewpoint and to build out in a sensible manner. Frankly, it also allowed us to curtail some of the more random selections of system software and hardware peripherals, as well. The greatest benefit was the ability to rationalize our purchasing, set out multi-year small sum purchase plans for individual PCs, peripherals, and software upgrades, and to get better control of our various service agreements. The IT Communication Triangle—Solving IT Issues 9

As this example suggests, the CIO can use the IT master plan to check the implementation of technology against the airport’s needs and to solicit input and ideas from the stakeholder com- munity, helping to ensure that the projects are necessary. These actions help ease the funding of these projects by giving them visibility and support. Once the IT master plan is completed and supported by stakeholders, the CIO can use it as a touchstone for future dialog with the CEO. Important things to remember about IT master plans include: • IT systems change much more rapidly than airports. Therefore, IT master plans will usually become obsolete faster than the airport master plans from which they were derived. IT mas- ter planning should be done at least every 24 to 36 months. • Capital expenditures in IT master plans should be categorized as near-term and long-term. Near-term expenses should be forecast with some accuracy, but long-term expenses will need to be reviewed and adjusted as their planned implementation grows closer. • IT master plans provide an opportunity for the CIO to receive constructive criticism and peer review of the IT master plan, which in turn will improve the plan. 2.2.2 Challenge: Governance Complexities Are Difficult to Manage Many airports are owned by a city, county, or state, most of which have their own CIOs and policies and procedures related to IT. One of the major management challenges that CEOs encounter involves differences of opinion between the airport CIO and the CIO of the owning entity. (This is less true when the airport is an authority.) This situation can cause several different types of conflicts. The owning entity may insist that the airport share in cost pools for networks and for applications, such as financial accounting systems, which are not necessarily the preferred or optimal solutions for the airport. Airports may prefer to have independent control of these assets and may argue that their special nature warrants independent investment. Airport CIOs often feel that their city, county, or state coun- terpart doesn’t understand aviation and the unique aspects of the industry. Here is an example directly from an airport: Our biggest problem at the [airport] is when procurements have to be approved by our downtown IT department. Our downtown purchasing department will not approve any computer procurements unless downtown IT has approved the project. Any time downtown gets involved it will delay a project anywhere from 3 to 6 months. Solution: Establish Governance Working Group Governance—who owns the airport and how IT is managed relative to the type of governing body—is an important consideration for IT systems. When the governance is external and causes delays or problems for the airport, two general actions can be pursued: 1. Adapt to the governance structure. The airport CIO needs to be fully aware of the practices and policies of the governing entity and must integrate these into his or her practices, poli- cies, and procedures, which may mean incorporating specific procurement practices or allow- ing added time for external reviews or budgeting. 2. Establish an airport IT working group that includes representatives from both the airport and the governing body. The working group should provide a forum for regular communi- cation, advanced planning, and opportunities to address governance issues and influence the process. An airport IT working group should have a clear charter that includes coordi- nating planning, standardizing specifications and technical requirements, funding, procure- ment, and installing IT systems. The working group should include representatives from IT management, airport stakeholders, budget, procurement, and the governing entity. 10 Information Technology Systems at Airports–A Primer

2.2.3 Challenge: Quality IT Staff Must Be Acquired and Retained Acquiring and retaining the right staff is a difficult challenge for airport CIOs, who must com- pete with other airports and private industry for talented staff with very specialized skills. For example, certified information systems security professionals (CISSPs) are currently in demand across all industries, and airports are often shocked by and unwilling to pay the salaries garnered by these leading-edge technology professionals. Also, IT staff members who have been internally developed within the CIO’s organization may be recruited to another organization or may choose to leave for a variety of reasons. Solution: Augment IT Staff Through Outsourcing The CEO must recognize that skilled individuals in the IT department have other opportuni- ties outside of aviation—which is simply the nature of the competitive landscape for IT profes- sionals. Although the cost of some IT professionals may be high, especially in an industry that is particularly sensitive to the current economic downturn, it is important to weigh their skills and value in the overall IT market, not just in the airport community. For example, consider the cost of a data security breach. Credit card companies are currently transferring risk of loss to the merchants whose systems store and transport sensitive credit card information. Liability for an airport whose network exposes credit card information from park- ing transactions is currently about $500,000. Liabilities and/or loss of revenue for delaying air- craft or shutting down piers may carry similar consequential costs that justify the skills offered by IT security professionals. Retaining qualified staff through fair salaries and good working conditions is important, but not always practical. In these cases, or as a response to a variable work load, some airports have turned to outsourcing. Outsourcing technology functions typically makes sense when: • The outsourcer has specialized skills that allow the outsourcer to operate more efficiently than an airport can with its own staff and systems. • The outsourcer has a stable of skilled specialists who can be used when needed but do not have to be carried full time by the airport. If the IT function is outsourced, develop a solid service level agreement, and review tasks and projects routinely with airport management. A weak service level agreement will make life for the CIO very challenging for a long period of time. Outsourcing also gives the airport access to a pool of part-time experts with specialized skill sets, without having to pay for them full time. Figure 2-2 shows how an airport is able to meet staffing demands through outsourcing and only hire when sustained demands warrant it. The IT Communication Triangle—Solving IT Issues 11 Figure 2-2. Example of meeting staffing demands through outsourcing.

2.2.4 Challenge: Cost Overruns Must Be Avoided A frequent complaint of CEOs (and CFOs) is that an IT system that had been approved based on a specific capital cost later became much more expensive because of unforeseen issues. The following story provides an example: We funded over $1M to implement a geographic information system (GIS). We hired a consultant, wrote a specification, put it out for bid, and selected the best provider for the task. The project plan from the ven- dor was very thorough and we felt this was going to go well. Two months in, however, we discovered that the room identifications in the floor plans didn’t mean the same thing as was expressed in the lease or in the property management system. A third of my staff spent 5 weeks straightening out the mess so that the system would work right. If we actually counted the cost of their time and the impacts to operations, the costs would have been much higher. Instead we just burnt everybody out. Solution: Include Hidden Costs in Budget Estimates IT systems have an extensive set of direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are those that are typ- ically tracked in the financial system, while indirect costs are the hidden costs that exist but aren’t easily associated with the system. These costs are frequently overlooked when planning and esti- mating IT systems. As Table 2-3 shows, many of the costs of an IT project, especially indirect costs, are incurred by the stakeholder as well as by IT. Whether planning a project or planning an operational budget, the CIO and stakeholder need to share an honest, mutual understanding of the costs involved. 12 Information Technology Systems at Airports–A Primer Table 2-3. Cost implications of an IT system.

Far too often, projects are presented to the board with only the hardware and software capi- tal costs documented in a vendor quote. Without considering the total picture of direct and indi- rect costs for both operating expenses and capital expenses, the stage is set for cost surprises and cost overruns. Complete planning of projects early in the lifecycle is essential. Experience shows that when teams collaborate that are well-versed in a particular type of project, they will identify external issues, indirect costs, and other items that will influence the final cost of the system. Therefore, many IT professionals and consultants insist on a longer conceptual phase when developing a project’s cost. Chapter 5 provides a more detailed discussion of capturing a system’s TLC. 2.2.5 Challenge: The Value Proposition of IT Systems Must Be Created One of the trickier parts of the project planning and funding process is valuation of system benefits. Projects are presented for capital funding in a variety of formats and may not include all the evaluation criteria necessary for proper decision making. Some project proposals state the capital costs but omit the operational costs. Others talk about strategic value but fail to clarify any operational cost reductions or revenue gains. For the CEO to make sound investment decisions, the valuation must be realistic and based on clear statements of goals, benefits, and costs, with measurable results. Solution: Develop a Standard Process for Valuation of Capital Requests The solution to this problem is to develop a consistent valuation methodology, which allows side-by-side comparison of projects and a better means of justifying decisions to fund projects. Valuation supports and leads to the development of metrics, provides a useful benchmark for determining if the project has met all of its goals, and helps identify areas where corrective steps need to be taken. Chapter 5 provides a detailed methodology for valuing IT systems and a means of comparison to make informed investment decisions. The result of the methodology is a documented value proposition. The contents of this value proposition should include the following information: • Description of the system. • Benefits statement (justification). • Financial evaluation, including: – The total direct capital costs, including expenses for performing the project. – Indirect capital costs of labor (both inside and outside the IT department). – The net impact to direct and indirect (labor) operating costs, which includes:  New operating costs incurred by commissioning a new system.  Eliminated or reduced operating costs achieved by decommissioning the old system.  Addition and/or reduction of staffing due to the new system.  Net revenue generated by the new system.  Return on investment (ROI) analysis over a consistent term. • Regulatory compliance achieved. • Intangibles such as: – Customer service benefit. – Increased security. – Increased safety. – Improved environmental position. The IT Communication Triangle—Solving IT Issues 13

• Risk assessment. – Project risks. – Risks created by having the system. – Risks avoided by having the system. • Proposed project schedule. • Funding sources [Airport Improvement Program (AIP), passenger facility charge (PFC) eli- gibility, etc.]. • Strategic value (alignment with airport or IT master plans). This valuation should be developed by both the CIO and the vested stakeholder organizations. For example, an expansion of the airport will likely require added space, power, and HVAC ser- vices. The CIO must confer with the appropriate parties at the airport to understand the effects this will have on overall operation and costs. Figure 2-3 is a scoring template that captures tangible and intangible benefits and provides a simple, objective scoring system. The template can be used for assessing the relative value of indi- vidual systems or for comparing the investment value of multiple systems. 14 Information Technology Systems at Airports–A Primer Project Name Advocate(s) Name Project Description Expected Benefits Risks Score Weight Nonfinancial Evaluation 2.6 Not really It could become a problem Imminent danger of being shut down 2 25 No Somewhat Yes 1 0 No Somewhat Yes 2 10 None Somewhat Lots 1 15 Spends significant energy Neutral Saves significant energy 3 15 No Somewhat Yes 4 15 It decreases it a little Somewhat Significantly 3 10 Unlikely May factor into their decision Significant draw potential 2 10 No Somewhat Yes 3 10 Less safe A little safer Much more safe 2 15 Less secure A little more secure Much more secure 2 15 All revenue comes from air carriers Mixed revenue sources No air carrier revenue expected 5 10 No effect on operations Some impact, but it won't be big. Affects tenants & operations a lot. 4 10 Very risky There is risk, but it is manageable No risks 2 10 Financial Evaluation 4.5 Internal rate of return 8.8% Below 3% Around 6% Above 8% 5 50 Net present value 9,799$ Negative Near zero Positive 4 30 Breakeven point (years) 3.8 Above 5 Around 4 Below 3 4 20 Evaluation Norms Is this a regulatory necessity? Does this support the airport master plan? Was this in the IT master plan? Is there community goodwill to be gained? a 1 means: Is customer service improved? Will it make the airport safer? Will it make the airport more secure? Does it diversify revenue sources? How risky is the project? Does it increase airport capacity? Does it attract air carriers to operate here? Will it reduce errors and improve efficiency? Will implementation disrupt operations? a 5 means:a 3 means: Is this a green initiative? Sample Project CIO and stakeholder Describe the project here Describe benefits here Describe risks here Figure 2-3. System valuation scoring sheet.

2.3 CIO–Stakeholder Communication The relationships between the CIO and other stakeholder executives are as important as their relationships with the CEO. Their perspectives are represented in Table 2-4. The perspectives discussed in Table 2-4 lead to common communication challenges between the CIO and stakeholder executives. These challenges and suggested solutions are discussed in more detail in the following. 2.3.1 Challenge: IT Terminology Confuses Non-IT People During the research for this primer, the communication issue that brought the strongest reac- tion was that technical experts, specifically CIOs and IT professionals, speak and write in a tech- nical language that is not commonly understood by the CEO or stakeholders. Over 70% of The IT Communication Triangle—Solving IT Issues 15 Table 2-4. CIO–stakeholder perspectives.

stakeholders rated IT terminology as somewhat of a communication obstacle; the rest rated it as a major obstacle. This means it is a problem for nearly every stakeholder. A further complication is that 37% of CIOs did not perceive IT terminology as an obstacle. In other words, more than a third of CIOs are unaware that communication barriers exist when IT is being discussed. Clearly, the use of specific technical language or jargon causes communication problems between the parties. Solution: Speak in Terms of User Needs and Benefits A good approach is to use a common language that conveys how the technology works in terms of how it benefits the stakeholder and helps improve his or her operation. Whenever individuals or organizations present information about something that is specific to their function and oper- ation, they are responsible for communicating in language that is easily understood by the listener. In the case of CEO, CIO, and stakeholder communication, this requirement applies to all par- ties involved. Specific ways to achieve clarity when communicating about IT systems include: • The CIO must recognize that terminology unique to IT, so-called “geek speak,” is not famil- iar to the CEO and stakeholders. Overuse of technical language and acronyms causes the lis- tener to lose track of the content and diminishes the value of the communication. The CIO should couch discussions in clear language that addresses the listener’s needs and concerns. • The CEO and stakeholders should make an effort to learn the basics of IT systems and how they work, as well as to educate the CIO on unique terminology and acronyms commonly used to describe airport operations and activities. Likewise, the CIO should endeavor to understand airport business. • In any discussion among the parties, user needs and solutions must be a priority. Develop a common foundation for all discussions that involves solving problems and bringing benefits to the airport. Over time, as regular discussions focus on benefits, the clarity and quality of communication should improve. As noted, the responsibility for efficient and clear communication rests with all parties involved. Everyone must be aware of the audience and the audience’s frame of reference and must be committed to conveying clear messages and avoiding excessive use of jargon. 2.3.2 Challenge: CIOs and Stakeholders Must Communicate Early and Often A weakness on both sides is that CIOs and stakeholders often don’t communicate early enough in the system lifecycle. For example: • CIOs complain of being excluded from stakeholder-driven projects until late in the process, forcing the CIO to respond reactively and without adequate time or planning. • Stakeholders procure proprietary software or services that are not easily supported. With proper CIO involvement, an equally effective solution may have been found that was easier to support. One airport CIO shared such a situation: The Planning Department and the business stakeholder planned out an IT project without IT organization input, got it authorized, and began implementing a solution our current IT infrastructure was not equipped to handle. This project went through multiple change orders and cost overruns to make it operate. Stakeholders, on the other hand, frequently state that CIOs don’t engage them in defining requirements for projects the CIOs are driving. Because the needs of the stakeholder are not 16 Information Technology Systems at Airports–A Primer

addressed early, it is not uncommon for the procured system to have deficiencies relative to the stakeholder’s needs. Solution: Collaborate as a Multidisciplinary Team As with any other project at an airport, involving the right people from the start is critical to success. For example, a common and highly successful practice when carrying out building proj- ects is to engage architects and electrical and mechanical engineers from the conceptual stage through construction, which allows a full complement of experts to ensure a high-quality out- come. This approach should also apply to IT projects, whether they are initiated by the CIO or the stakeholder. Although doing this may seem obvious, for a variety of reasons, such as time constraints, schedule demands, and unintentional oversight, it often doesn’t happen. Stakeholder-Led Projects Examples of stakeholder-led projects are terminal renovations, security upgrades, and new parking structures. Almost any construction job falls into the category of a stakeholder-led proj- ect. It is rare for these projects to not have an IT component. For example: • Terminal renovations typically include work on networks, telephone systems, IT infrastruc- ture (rooms, cabling, and raceways), flight information display systems, and common use systems, all of which rely on IT design and services. • Security, which is increasingly reliant on computers and electronic storage systems, requires network support, servers, switching systems, cameras, and electronic file storage, all of which rely to some degree on IT. • Parking structures typically require a wide range of IT-based systems, including security and specialized parking management and revenue management systems. Executing the projects in these examples calls for IT to understand and support the facilities’ requirements and needs. Also, design and planning must take IT requirements into account from the start. In other words, space, power, environmental conditioning, and implementation of IT upgrades must be part of the project from start to finish. Often in the planning and design phases a dollar allowance is included for IT. An allowance is just an estimate. Failing to identify accurate IT impacts early can lead to rework and cost over- runs down the line. Involving the CIO at the start of the project, similar to the way electrical or mechanical engineers are engaged, helps to clearly define costs. When CIOs are involved throughout the project cycle, they can offer new ideas and suggest technologies that improve the project. Some ideas may result in minor changes to the project, but others may modify the basis of operations of airports and airlines. For example, common use self-service (CUSS) kiosks have not only changed the way in which passengers are ticketed and checked in, but they have also altered the design of airport ticket lobbies. Clearly, IT acts not only as a discipline supporting project development but also as a partner in advancing new approaches that improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Here is a story a CIO told in which the stakeholder relationship started early and worked well: Our airport is currently installing a new inline baggage system in one of the terminals. I have been involved since the beginning, sitting in on every construction and stakeholder meeting. This has proven to be an advantage because IT is kept up to date and is able to quickly move on any IT issues encountered during construction and implementation. CIO-Led Projects Examples of IT-led projects are upgrading the network to a higher speed or implementing a new set of desktop tools for airport staff. While these are typically IT-specific, needing limited input The IT Communication Triangle—Solving IT Issues 17

from other departments or the stakeholder, they have the potential to have an effect, positive or negative, on the stakeholder. Effects may include outages in IT systems, a loss of productivity while a new software tool set is introduced, or stakeholder frustration due to a lack of training and prepa- ration. An additional consequence can be estrangement between the CIO and stakeholder. On the other hand, making an early effort to discover user requirements and impacts helps the CIO plan more effectively and address what stakeholders need, whether their needs are a par- ticular set of tools or early training. The CIO may have to shift his or her notions about what should be included in the project and may expend more time and energy, but the benefits far outweigh the costs. An operating department may find that assigning an IT department liaison helps improve information flow, or IT might assign a representative to the business unit. The base requirement is that the lead party engages with the other party early on to improve project communication, foster better progress, and properly allocate funding. Otherwise, the ramifications may include change orders, delays, and cost increases. 2.3.3 Challenge: IT Projects Are Inherently Complex Aviation is one of the most technologically advanced industries. It has been an early and aggressive adopter of new technologies and solutions in an ongoing effort to increase efficiency and reduce costs. As a result, IT is part of almost every aspect of airport operations, from pas- senger experiences such as wayfinding and ticketing to back-of-house operations such as bag- gage handling and catering. This is a change from the time when IT was largely dedicated to management information systems (MIS) and finance. Unintended consequences of introducing more technology have been the increased complex- ity of systems, the requirement for professional IT staff, and the continuing interdependence of stakeholders on the shared resources of IT and information. The IT industry has undergone a major shift: delivering services through an open network architecture that allows the full range of information to be run across a common network, including data, voice, and video services. This change makes the technical side more complex but promises to simplify the stakeholder experience. An open network architecture allows serv- ices to be delivered to a wider range of users through computer workstations without needing special equipment or dedicated private networks. As technology continues to advance, IT system capabilities expand, user expectations increase, and airport business practices change. The overall complexity of IT systems grows and systems become obsolete faster. The lifecycle of IT systems is much shorter than that of buildings or mechanical systems. Promoting an understanding of this quick rate of change helps control the perception that IT systems have high costs. Solution: Stick to IT Principles and Guidelines Complexity is an inherent aspect of IT systems, so simplifying the technology isn’t an option because intended benefits would be lost. However, managing, implementing, and maintaining IT projects can be greatly eased from the CEO and stakeholder perspectives by focusing on broader issues such as needs and benefits while keeping in mind that the work and systems involved are anything but simple. Specific ways to deal with complexity include: • Establish IT as a known entity within the airport’s operations. The operational requirements of the IT department, including master planning, IT principles, and guidelines, should be pub- 18 Information Technology Systems at Airports–A Primer

lished and available to the CEO and stakeholders. Publicize the IT department’s approach and long-term plans for delivering service to avoid surprises down the road. • Practice the concepts presented in this primer, communicate in terms the user understands, and work together as a team. Having regular conversations regarding IT will help acquaint everyone with the technologies involved and the IT professionals delivering them, thereby helping to reduce the mystery. • Clearly state the goals, develop options based on those goals, and weigh the costs and benefits to arrive at the right solution. The specific means of delivering an end result is not the imme- diate concern of the CEO and stakeholder (barring cost and schedule issues), and their focus should be on high-level requirements. The most complex and technologically advanced solu- tion is not always the best one, especially when viewed in light of the cost–benefit ratio. In the case of the last item, the following story illustrates the point: Our airport needed a new building management system (BMS) to control lights and temperature. After all the sales pitches were done, we settled on a very advanced system that could tie into our airport resource management system (RMS) and automatically decrease power consumption and HVAC electricity demand based on our actual flight operations. On the surface everyone was enthusiastic about this green IT auto- mation initiative. While there was a significant cost for the BMS–RMS integration, everyone felt it would save a lot of money over time. That was, until the night operations manager and one of the RMS guys in IT calculated that given our typical operations schedule, we only got the benefit for about 1 to 2 hours in the middle of the night. And that was when the air conditioner load was the lowest. So in the end we could select a less expensive BMS and save the cost and complexity of the RMS integration. The solution turned out to be both simpler and less expensive, yet we still got all the benefits. 2.3.4 Challenge: IT Security Must Be Maintained Hacking, data theft, and other unethical or illegal acts become a greater threat as more people use IT systems and airports place more sensitive information on them, including financial and badging data. Over the past decade, the need to protect IT has greatly increased—a trend that is likely to grow. Unfortunately, increased security requirements can increase costs and hamper user access to needed information. Data security is a relatively new aspect of the IT industry. In many cases it is added as an upgrade feature to an existing system, which is not always the best solution, or is applied in the wrong manner. The nature of data exchange and communication requires a degree of openness; this is one of the fundamental tenets of the Internet. Restricting access or imposing onerous security procedures without users understanding the reasons leads to violations and a lack of user-community support. Security’s effectiveness is difficult to measure unless an event occurs that exposes a flaw or weakness. Also, required security measures are difficult to explain and must be treated as sensi- tive information—restricted only to authorized personnel. All of these factors make IT security a significant challenge for airports. Solution: Centralize and Popularize Good IT Security Practices Security, whether for data or for physical aspects of the airport, is not just a matter of imple- menting systems and equipment. It also requires buy-in and recognition of the need for good security practices. Encryption routines and passenger screening stations are tangible aspects of security, but these systems only work when human beings use them consistently and enforce the right practices and approaches. Explaining security costs to stakeholders and the CEO is an important first step to gaining buy- in. A physical security issue such as a passenger screening breach can be measured in terms of The IT Communication Triangle—Solving IT Issues 19

delayed travelers and flights and lost revenues—real numbers that demonstrate the system’s value. Similarly, the benefits of IT security can be demonstrated by using real-world examples of lost revenues or increased costs due to breaches, such as the effects of a compromised badging system database or lost access card. By equating security breaches to financial and operational costs, the user can begin to understand the effect of these events on the organization and ulti- mately on each user. Money spent to clean up after a security breach is money that cannot be used on facilities, tools, salaries, and benefits. It is useful to help airport staff and tenants understand the value of IT security in terms they are familiar with, such as those illustrated in Table 2-5. As with airport security, IT security is a continuous operation of maintaining perimeters, authenticating users, watching operations, and retaining data logs. IT security also requires a centralized and specialized group with a charter to maintain vigilant surveillance of the network and applications. This group needs to be involved in the change management of every project to ensure that new holes in the perimeter are not accidentally opened. Typically, the IT department contains the group tasked with data security management. Data security is one compelling reason for consolidating data system operations in the IT group. The IT department needs to partner with stakeholders to maintain an impenetrable data security perimeter that allows robust access to those with authorized access and swift denial of service to any unauthorized access attempts. 2.3.5 Challenge: Training Needs Are Not Fully Met Compared with other airport systems and services (such as power or air conditioning), IT sys- tems appear to have a disproportionately high need for training, which equates to time and cost. Higher training costs for IT systems are understandable when considering the number of users to be trained. Training on a new electrical system, for example, is generally confined to facilities and maintenance staff, whereas both the IT support staff and all users must be trained when a new email system or improved suite of desktop tools is added to users’ computers. The training may not be as intense as for a new generator or facility management system, but it covers a much larger group with various levels of IT comfort and proficiency. 20 Information Technology Systems at Airports–A Primer Table 2-5. Terminology translated from airport to IT security.

The value of training is often underestimated, partly because of the lack of understanding of the need, the associated costs, and the CIO’s focus falling more on the system than the user. Pro- viding quality training and supporting documentation are key concerns of the stakeholders. Solution: Make Training Accessible and Meaningful to the User There are a number of solutions to this problem. • Employ professional trainers. Because IT staff are not necessarily the best when it comes to teaching a large, diverse group of users how to work with a new system, it’s helpful to hire out- side training professionals. • Train a trainer. Training is often a one-time scheduled event, offered when the system is implemented. However, circumstances arise that prevent everyone who needs training from attending. Also, new employees joining the staff after training has been completed need to be trained. Therefore, a means is necessary for providing additional training after scheduled classes have been completed. A solution is training someone to be a trainer. Designating a rep- resentative from the user organization who can offer future training to those in need helps ensure the successful operation of new systems. • Set realistic training-cost expectations. Every IT project will include some level of training (user, operations, maintenance, and administration). The CIO and others should begin to establish the training requirements from the beginning of the project, including cost, number of people, number of classes, and level of detail. Draw upon experience or benchmarking against similar projects or work done at other airports to establish these requirements. • Provide good reference materials. As a standard practice, any new system should be delivered with a set of training manuals and user manuals well before the system goes live. These man- uals should be reviewed by both the CIO and nontechnical users to identify any shortcomings before the material is disseminated. One airport discussed a particularly successful training session: The IT division provided ample training and screen shots of what to expect prior to the cutover. The change from one version of Microsoft Office to another was virtually seamless. 2.3.6 Challenge: Projects Are Not Well Managed There are many sources of program management methodologies and best practices. The Pro- gram Management Institute is a well-respected source. Although most airports have project management procedures, research for this primer indicated that many problems occur because these procedures are not followed. In addition, the assigned project managers are often subject matter experts who are not trained in project management. These two issues combined result in projects with a poorly defined scope that fall behind schedule and run over the budgeted costs. This problem is not specific to IT systems, but the complexities of interdepartmental coordina- tion and budgets make project management for IT systems that much harder. Solution: Establish and Adhere to a Standard Project Management Process The following activities can help ensure the implementation of successful projects: • Take time to organize a repeatable, consistent, and routine project management methodol- ogy. This will enable the CIO, CEO, and stakeholders to execute projects in an even-handed, consistent way. Keeping the process simple and repeatable typically saves the project manager many hours of work. Having all organizations use the same process helps ensure an under- standing of the tasks, achieve a common set of expectations for project managers, and estab- lish a standard reporting methodology for multi-organizational projects. • Use documented and structured review processes to manage projects. If the structured review process does not include an IT component, add it, and include the IT department as a regu- lar participant in reviews and project management processes. The IT Communication Triangle—Solving IT Issues 21

• Provide project management training for staff. In situations where IT must both manage proj- ects and operate systems, train selected IT professionals in project management techniques. Establish a means for these IT professionals to be mentored by experienced project managers within the airport organization. An adage says that the three most important rules of project management are to “communi- cate, communicate, and communicate.” Proper project management techniques and practices, including regular reporting, achieve this goal, as demonstrated in the following story: The airport hired a consultant to evaluate the airport’s existing IT system and to make recommendations for future expansion. One of the items discovered was the lack of redundancy due to the airport’s fiber optic backbone not being connected to form a continuous loop. Another issue was that some of the fiber optic ends were not properly terminated. Although these were not a major concern, it was determined they needed correcting prior to a major upgrade of the airport’s access control system planned for later in the year. Airport staff and contractors met to determine the best solution to solve these problems. The process was carefully planned, a schedule was developed, and the responsibility of each participant was determined. Coordination was established to allow for material and labor lead time and to have the project completed prior to the upgrade of the access control system. The project was completed on time and without any issues. This just shows how proper planning and coordination can expedite and simplify a project. 2.3.7 Challenge: IT Department Roles and Responsibilities Are Often Unclear In airports today, so many systems include IT aspects that it’s a huge challenge to determine roles and responsibilities throughout each phase of the system lifecycle, including which organ- ization takes the lead on funding, planning, implementation, operations, and maintenance as the project progresses. Different approaches can be used depending on the airport or the proj- ect. In some cases the IT department owns, operates, and maintains a system; in others the stake- holder owns and operates the system but IT maintains it. The result is a lack of consistency in executing and operating projects. Lack of clarity in ownership and responsibilities can lead to inadequate budgeting for both capital and maintenance costs. Solution: Clarify Roles and Responsibilities for All Phases of System Lifecycle and Budget Before undertaking an IT project, airport executives must understand and agree on ownership. IT organizations’ roles may vary, as evidenced by the following statements from different groups: • The IT role includes researching, acquiring, implementing, and supporting technology. Infra- structure and integration systems are best owned and operated by IT. Application systems are best owned and operated by end users and supported by IT. • IT is a service provider and business partner to stakeholders and/or users. • IT works to help stakeholders enable their business visions and needs. • IT is a technical enablement organization and a provider of a sound technical infrastructure. We enable other teams to use a variety of technical tools to perform their mission. One single, correct solution to IT organization and project ownership probably doesn’t exist. Circumstances, department size, and management styles, among other things, dictate how a department runs. However, if the system responsibilities are fractured—i.e., spread across many different organizations or managed by different groups on a project-by-project basis—the air- port management should consider reviewing practices and policies and developing a streamlined process with an identified management team. To assist in this process, the five primary roles that must be undertaken during a system’s life- cycle are outlined in the following. These roles may be assigned to many different organizations and tailored to meet the specific needs of the management structure, but they must be clearly assigned, either across the airport departments or on a project basis, to avoid confusion of responsibilities. 22 Information Technology Systems at Airports–A Primer

• System sponsor. This role includes: – Championing the system to senior staff. – Providing funding for the system during the planning and implementation phases. – Developing the project scope and value proposition. • System implementer. This role involves: – Project management for the systems implementation phase. – Overseeing and developing procurement documentation (either performed in-house or through outside resources). – Managing physical installation. – Activating and commissioning the system. – Managing final project acceptance. • End users. End users are the beneficiaries of the system and make use of the system on a day- to-day basis; they are the best source of information about its functionality and problems. End users should be involved in initial planning, developing system requirements, and developing the concept of operations. • Operations and maintenance funding source. This group provides financial support for operating and maintaining the IT system from acceptance until it is replaced or discontinued, including managing the budget, third-party contracts, and service level agreements. • System administrator. Overall system configuration, operation, and maintenance fall within this role, which may be different from the funding organization. 2.3.8 Challenge: New System Benefits Are Not Measured Once a project is complete, it is not always clear whether the time and effort resulted in achiev- ing the benefits expected. Benefits may fail to be delivered or metrics may not be measured for a variety of reasons, such as: • Benefits were not clearly stated or understood to begin with, or the value of a system was over- estimated. • Inadequate training may cause staff to be uncomfortable with the new system or to not use the new features available. • The new system may cause new business process issues that are either cumbersome or risky, and staff are therefore reluctant to embrace it. To illustrate the issue, consider an upgrade to a maintenance management system with the pur- pose of facilitating web-based entry of work orders and the ability to retrieve and close out work orders in the field. Were the goals achieved, or did lack of training cause the work orders to con- tinue being delivered in paper form? Is the staff still completing and turning in paper records? Solution: Set Measurable Performance Metrics The key to resolving this problem is two-fold: • Clearly state the expected benefits and goals at the start of the project and adjust them if the program changes. • Define performance metrics that can be measured before and after the project. From the example of the maintenance management system cited previously, the goals of the upgrade and some key performance metrics are provided in Table 2-6. Metrics can be measured reliably to gauge performance of the system or process. These met- rics must be implemented and measured before and after system cutover so that improvements can be calculated. One good source of metrics (and the means to take action when they are not met) is a service level agreement (SLA). If an SLA is made part of the vendor agreement, the vendor has strong motivation to collect data and take corrective action to address deficiencies. The IT Communication Triangle—Solving IT Issues 23

In Table 2-6, time spent per work order is a financial metric that directly affects the bottom line. This 20% reduction in average labor per work order will get the CFO’s focus. Measuring the hours per work order reduction requires actually measuring the work hours performed. Most airports measure the work hours of maintenance staff, but often that is a pay- roll function and the work hours for each ticket may not be counted. Efforts must be made to ensure that metrics are collected to measure the benefits achieved. Establishing an expected benefit and checking that it has been realized is important in deter- mining a project’s success. 2.4 CEO–Stakeholder Communication It may seem unnecessary to discuss CEO–stakeholder communication because interactions between these two parties do not typically involve IT. However, IT is necessary for stakeholders to perform their work, and thus the subject of IT will invariably come up at some point between CEOs and stakeholders. However, one cannot discuss IT-related communication between CEOs and stakeholders without focusing squarely on the CIO, who plays a critical role in putting IT systems in place. CEOs and stakeholders should make an effort to engage in regular conversa- tions about IT and to include CIOs in the discussions, whether through regular meetings or in formal reviews. It’s also important to ensure that stakeholders contribute to airport and IT mas- ter plans to be sure their needs and expectations for IT are addressed. The perspectives of the CEO and stakeholders are represented in Table 2-7. The perspectives discussed so far in this section lead to common communication challenges regarding IT between the CEO and stakeholder executives. These challenges and suggested solu- tions are discussed in more detail in the following. 24 Information Technology Systems at Airports–A Primer Table 2-6. Typical key performance metrics and measures.

2.4.1 Challenge: Competition for Limited Capital Resources IT projects, like most other airport projects, must compete for limited funding. It is very dif- ficult to compare the “apples” of renovating a building versus the “oranges” of implementing a new server architecture. CIOs and stakeholders each have valid reasons for promoting their proj- ect ideas, but that doesn’t change the CEO’s reality of limited capital funding. This is further complicated by the fact that everything isn’t always based on ROI. Airports are heavily regulated and often subject to making capital improvements for compliance rather than economic purposes. Solution: Use Uniform Project Evaluation Airports that are demonstrating best practices in this area have developed a uniform project scoring/evaluation form. This summary identifies the high-level financial value, compliance, strategic value, and risks associated with a project. A weighting system allows the airport to adjust the relative importance of certain factors over time and yet evaluate all projects using the same criteria. If used for all projects (not just IT projects), these normalizing schemes allow management to rank projects in a consistent fashion. CEOs can use this technique to socialize project value amongst all stakeholders (including the CIO). An added benefit of this approach is that stakeholders can self-score their projects and find ways to enhance their value, perhaps through collaboration with one another. See Figure 5-2 for a sample scoring sheet. 2.4.2 Challenge: Managing Impacts of IT Projects on Stakeholder Staff Most information technology projects do not happen in isolation. Stakeholders sometimes complain that change in information technology systems affects their operations in unintended ways. Typical impacts on stakeholder departments are: The IT Communication Triangle—Solving IT Issues 25 Table 2-7. CEO–stakeholder perspectives.

• Additional information that now has to be entered to make an IT system effective. • The meaning of some data elements has to change slightly so that all departments use it the same way. • Additional training is required so that staff can properly use the system and thus get the desired benefits. • New data security protocols need to be followed for IT systems. Solution: CEOs Should Encourage Partnership with CIOs Earlier sections have focused on the importance of the CIO–stakeholder partnership, and it is only through this partnership that unintended consequences of IT projects can be identified and mitigated. However, it is not entirely the CIO’s responsibility to make this happen. The CEO needs to foster an environment at the airport where stakeholders are expected to par- ticipate in the development of IT projects and CIOs are expected to be actively engaged in stake- holder projects. This can be achieved through a number of communication-enabling methods: • CEOs can require stakeholders to attend regular status meetings that cover IT as well as other programs. • CEOs can require stakeholders to involve CIOs in their regular status meetings. • CEOs can invite CIOs to the executive management meetings. The situation at each airport and the readiness of some CIOs to handle executive responsibil- ities may determine which of these approaches will work for a given airport. However, setting a corporate expectation that good communication occur with IT is the responsibility of the CEO. As projects approach the funding stage, CEOs should ask stakeholders if they have been engaged in the development of the concept of operations and value proposition and if they believe that all of their staff training and operational impacts have been considered. 2.4.3 Challenge: IT Affects Stakeholder Budgets IT projects can often have operational impacts on stakeholder organizations and their budg- ets. Examples of such impacts are: • Increased labor cost due to revised business processes or new data-entry demands. • Decreased labor costs due to efficiencies gained by the IT system. • Retirement of operational costs of existing non-IT systems. • Bumps in labor cost due to project involvement and training. • Increased operational costs due to ongoing training. These often unforeseen costs can leave stakeholders frustrated with IT systems and under- staffed to perform their primary function. Solution: Use the Budget Process to Incorporate Changes As stakeholders and CEOs negotiate their budgets, stakeholders should look back to value propositions as tacit executive approval for increased staffing. During the project formulation phase, as value propositions and concepts of operation are developed, there are implied impacts to stakeholder budgets. Stakeholders should refer back to these documents to justify to CEOs any changes in head count and other operational costs related to the execution of IT projects. The reverse is also true. CEOs should use agreements formed with stakeholders during proj- ect formulation to reduce budgets based on efficiencies promised by deployment of information technology. Surprisingly, this follow-up step is rarely done, and savings go unrealized. 26 Information Technology Systems at Airports–A Primer

2.4.4 Challenge: Airport Language Is Not Always Well Understood The language of airports is unique. CEOs and stakeholders may be fluent in airport terminol- ogy and jargon, but for CIOs, who often come to aviation from an outside industry, the language of airports and the details of how airports are run may pose a challenge. For example, the way that rates and charges are set is complex, and the influences on IT from the governing organiza- tion may be new to a CIO transplanted from private enterprise. For that matter, the terminology used in the development of a terminal is different from that used in the development of IT. Table 2-8 provides simple examples showing the different names given to the stages of project development for a facility versus an IT system. It’s easy to see how IT professionals who are not familiar with airport terminology and how airport personnel who are not familiar with IT terminology can be misunderstood. Solution: Help the CIO Understand the Business Model Early in this chapter, a key message delivered to CIOs was to find a common language with which to speak with the CEO and stakeholders. This same solution applies to CEOs and stake- holders, who must help CIOs understand both the terminology and the business model of air- ports. The better the CIO understands the business model, the better he or she will be able to speak in terms that are understood by everyone on the team and to contribute IT solutions that offer business benefits. 2.4.5 Challenge: The CIO Must Be Positioned Effectively in the Organization Because IT is so important within airports, the prime advocate for IT needs to have good access to executive management, specifically the CEO. Research for this primer reveals that CIOs are not reliably in the same organizational department across airports. Data show that CIOs report to the CEO less than half the time. This limits the IT department’s ability to communicate effec- tively and can contribute to some of the other communication issues identified in this primer, including challenges that CEOs and stakeholders encounter when they are discussing IT. Solution: CIOs Need to Be Senior Executives Providing CIOs with a level of authority that gives them good access to the CEO and other mem- bers of the executive management team is a successful approach to bridging communication gaps. The IT Communication Triangle—Solving IT Issues 27 Table 2-8. Language comparison for buildings and computer systems.

It recognizes that IT is essential to successfully operating the airport and takes into account the role IT plays in every aspect of the airport. The most direct means for granting access and authority is to promote the CIO to an execu- tive position. The CIO’s activities can be refocused to a higher level, and a senior IT manager can take responsibility for the IT department’s daily operations and activities. In this way, when the CEO and stakeholder are discussing IT matters, the CIO can bring an executive perspective to the table. If such a change is not practical or possible within the airport’s structure, the CIO should at least have a direct means of access to the CEO to ensure that the CEO has a full and complete understanding of the high-level issues, operations, and plans for IT at the airport. 28 Information Technology Systems at Airports–A Primer

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 59: Information Technology Systems at Airports--A Primer is designed to help facilitate mutual understanding between airport executives and information technology (IT) professionals to enable them to work together effectively on IT projects. One of the goals of the report is to help airports achieve better performance and reliability of IT systems and fewer cost overruns and delays during system implementation.

ACRP Report 59 offers techniques to identify critical IT issues and communicate effectively on those issues. The report also addresses sound IT principles for implementing new IT systems, describes the benefits and value of various IT systems, and highlights the fundamental architecture concepts of IT systems as they relate to airports.

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