* As part of a properly conceived eEnablement program

It sounds too good to be true, but the reality is that eEnablement provides an ideal opportunity to fund any kind of operational program, not just EFB. Notwithstanding the long-term advantage to the organisation, the majority of the benefits of eEnablement can only be taken up once. That means that it’s “first in, best dressed”. One program within an airline will claim most of the benefits and most of the credit, so it’s a race.

Because every eEnablement program is unique to the airline, it’s not possible to paint a clear picture of it without analysis and the context provided by the operational program that acts as the vehicle for eEnablement. This lack of definition makes airlines inclined to defer eEnablement, as does the pan-organisational cooperation necessary to make it successful. While this is understandable to some extent, the inevitability of eEnablement means that one bold operational program within each airline is going to take the prize. The trophy is well worth the boldness, typically resulting in a positive business case for the operational program as well as the credit for setting the airline up for the next generation of information exchange within the industry.

It may seem as though the effort put into eEnablement would detract from the operational program itself, but this tends not to be the case at all. On the contrary, the focus is on getting the utmost out of the operational program, with eEnablement emerging as a by-product. Perhaps the easiest way to visualise it is to consider how operational programs often have “hard edges”. You can draw a circle around them – they’re tidy, but somewhat isolated from the rest of the organisation. A program that accommodates eEnablement does little more than soften these edges to allow a bi-directional flow of information to the rest of the organisation. Tracing that information beyond the perimeter of the project results in unanticipated benefits and it is these that pay for the operational program. The value of timeliness and availability of information is vastly underestimated, so there are big wins available.

If you’re considering any type of operational program, you should explore whether you can fund it by taking some of the eEnablement benefits available. eEnablement has gained massive momentum over the past two years and within a decade it will be ubiquitous throughout the industry. If your program doesn’t take it up, another will and there’s only one big winner per airline. It’s a race.