More Qantas IT dollars fly offshore

In-house and local software miss out

Already under fire for sending IT support jobs offshore, Australia's largest airline, Qantas, has procured a Web analytics solution from a US company to measure the behaviour of its online visitors.

Qantas selected the SiteCatalyst Web analytics software from Utah-based Omniture to identify trends in the online travel space and leverage "behavioural information" to improve the customer's experience.

A Qantas spokesperson told Computerworld the company looked at what was available in "proven outsourced providers" capable of handling a large Web site.

The solution was implemented last year and the value of the deal was not disclosed by the airline.

When asked if there is any reason why a US company was chosen over a local software vendor the spokesperson said: "To our knowledge there are no local companies doing this."

The announcement comes only a week after Qantas said it will outsource internal applications support to Indian firms Satyam Computer Services and Tata Consulting Services, resulting in the loss of some 340 local IT staff.

Qantas' general manager for direct channels, John Lonergan, said delivering an intuitive and customer-centric online experience for Web site visitors is important to the company.

"Implementing Omniture's technology will ensure we can understand what our customers are looking for, while also delivering the information our corporation needs to make strategic business decisions," he said.

Because Qantas handles such large amounts of data its in-house Web analytics solution was getting "bogged down" by the "massive amounts" of information it was processing.

"This information overload resulted in slow data processing and report creation - limiting the company's ability to quickly address or execute online business initiatives," according to Omniture. "Qantas has equipped [itself] with real-time data that provides granular insight into the performance of online campaigns and [the] effectiveness of [its] Web site."

The information generated by SiteCatalyst claims to enable Qantas to identify the areas of its Web site that drive the most success, and the elements that may be performing poorly.

Qantas can also identify visitor segments according to trends in behaviour and market itself accordingly, SiteCatalyst also reveals whether or not visitors are penetrating the Web site effectively, and can report on offer and product performance.

"Because Qantas is the largest airline in Australia, it's critical for [it] to have easier ways to crunch and analyze huge amounts of data in real time to quickly create compelling offers and services to customers," Gail Ennis, senior vice president of marketing at Omniture, said. "Because Omniture manages more than three billion transactions each day, Qantas can rely on us to deliver the scalability and ease of use [required]."

Omniture is also helping Qantas with its search marketing initiatives, including referring domains, search engine optimization, and e-mail campaigns.

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