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ACI: Customized B2B Web portal for high-volume data distribution

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Unique business processes require unique technology needs.

Airports Council International (ACI), a Montreal-based organization that represents the collective interests of airports around the world, chose Nexus Innovations as its technology partner to develop a customized B2B web portal for data dissemination.

Airports Council International (ACI) is the only global trade association of the world’s airports. Established in 1991, ACI represents airports’ interests with governments and international organizations such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). It develops guidance, policies, and recommended practices for airports, and provides programs, services, and training opportunities to the aviation industry around the world. As of May 2024, ACI serves 814 members, operating 2110 airports in 169 countries. 

ACI’s economics department collects, analyzes and disseminates data and information on the airport industry. Its continuously expanding repertoire of statistics and industry analyses are relied upon by ACI regional offices, partner organizations, ACI members and World Business Partners as well as many other industry stakeholders.  ACI’s airport traffic statistics and economic key performance indicators are not only used to create insightful industry analyses and reports on air transport topics but are also available as unrivaled datasets for use by the aviation, travel, and related industries.  

Business goals

One of ACI’s business goals is to promote industry excellence by providing members and other stakeholders with innovative tools and expertise.

They provide Airport Statistics to their members on a subscription or one-time purchase basis. ACI was looking to enhance its current offering through a unique web experience that reflects its brand. None of the off-the-shelf products could do the job, so ACI opted for the custom development of a portal :

  • Providing a self-serve data extraction and download capability 
  • Providing an interactive Dashboard with slice-and-dice capability 
  • Enable high throughput for sharing large volumes of data. 
  • Providing an interactive Benchmarking capability allowing airports to compare against peers. 

Technology challenges

The custom development of such a portal involved several technological requirements: 

  • Represent ACI’s experience through the portal and make it a showcase tool 
  • Manage authentication for both ACI members and non-members (general public) 
  • Provide limited functionality (subset of what is available for members) 
  • Have a unique landing page 
  • Offer a simple menu for navigation 
  • Present interactive monthly and annual dashboards 
  • Integrate a document library 
  • Integration of an API service 
  • Integration of a data extraction tool 
  • Integration of a comparative analysis tool.

”The Nexus team has been an exceptional partner for the iHub project. Not only did they meet the outlined requirements, but they also exceeded expectations by proactively addressing technical and user-related gaps throughout the project. I am also particularly impressed by the team’s effective communication and responsiveness, which contributed significantly to our success in launching the new ACI Intelligence Hub (iHub).”

Frank Liu, iHub Product Manager

Proposed solution

The ACI Intelligence Hub is not a portal: it is a flagship product. It was developed with the following technologies : 

  • Azure B2C is a solution to manage customer access to your Business-To-Customer (B2C) applications. 
  • AppService is a hosted and fully managed service to host and scale websites on global scale. 
  • Azure SQL Database is the intelligent, scalable, relational database service built for the cloud. 
  • Azure KeyVault is a specialized vault to store secrets in a secure manner which give complete control and compliance following industry best practices. 
  • Application Insights, a feature of Azure Monitor, is an extensible Application Performance Management (APM) service for developers and DevOps professionals. 
  • Power BI Embedded can embed visual analytics in your products, so your users and customers can gain valuable insights, and you can get to market fast. 
  • SharePoint empowers teamwork with dynamic and productive team sites for every project team, department, and division. 
  • Azure Cloud the whole solution will be stored in the Microsoft Azure cloud solution. This component is part of most of SBI solutions.
  • Matillion is a cloud-based ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tool. We will use this tool to transfer data into the data warehouse. 
  • Snowflake is a cloud-based data warehouse. This tool is secure, fast and efficient. 
  • Power BI is the most innovative and flexible BI reporting solution of the market. 

Impact on the organization and its people

Through the development and deployment of business technologies, Nexus’ ultimate goal is to enhance the impact of individuals in their work and improve the performance of their organizations. 

Here are the expected outcomes for ACI with the development of their custom portal: 

  • Attract new customers with a modern, self-service data portal.​ 
  • Generate new revenues with existing data.
  • Expand ACI’s reporting and analysis capabilities to the benefit of ​both ACI members and external customers.​ 

Nexus’ approach

As a solution partner for ACI, we addressed this project as the first milestone of a comprehensive flagship product for ACI. As with any products, it needed to be developed as such. When it comes to building great products, design is the key. Clear and efficient design is now what sets companies apart. A user-centered process ensured ACI success. 

Our approach was based on a design thinking methodology. The user needed to be at the center of our journey. Our design team was part of our team from day one. Instead of a technically driven approach where our experts build solution architecture and feature descriptions, we focussed on understanding user needs and pain points, re-framing, prototyping and testing better solutions for the final product. This tangible approach provided clear directions for our delivery team, and better user experience for ACI users and customers.  ·s d’ACI. 

Solution adoption

A technology solution may have tremendous potential, but it’s only as effective as the way users implement it. That’s why, at Nexus, we strongly emphasize adopting to the fullest the solutions we develop. 

  • Half-day training for administrators. 
  • Half-day training Bi Training for IT teams. 
  • Half-day training for reports users. 
  • Session recording. 
  • Documentation. 

Partnership

At Nexus, we are aware of our strengths and we recognize our limitations. That’s why we take a collaborative approach, teaming up with technology partners to complement our expertise.

For this project, we partnered with Solution BI, experts in Data, AI, performance management and transformation.

Project team

  • Alexandra Levy, APM 
  • Alexandre Tardif, Developer 
  • Antoine Brisebois-Roy, Developer 
  • François Lachance, Agile Coach
  • Julie Mollet, Designer 
  • Samuel Laplante, Developer  

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