Success Story

US Passenger Airline

US Passenger Airline

One of the world’s largest airlines undertook a major Reference Data Management initiative with Ataccama and enabled successful collaboration between IT and business users.

Business objectives & project requirements

  • Overcome reliance on manually managed reference data and achieve automated, integrated business information with an Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), a consolidated hub with a maintenance and approval flow to simplify code maintenance support and ownership.
  • Develop a simple to understand and easy-to-use GUI to reduce IT costs by shifting responsibility for reference data maintenance and updates to business users. 
  • Ensure a faster, cheaper response to changes and additions to reference data.

Initial data challenges

User-managed reference data: The airline operated with manually maintained reference data to drive company analytics, causing the following data issues:

  • Lack of a standard data change management process, and unsupported business rules/validations that led to faulty published data. There was no audit trail or assigned permissions, and data ownership was often unclear.
  • Difficulty automating due to challenges implementing a security policy and difficulty for systems to access and consume necessary data. Not all systems were informed of changes in real time, creating discrepancies.
  • Absence of a collaborative approval process including email notifications.

Data stored in multiple places led to data duplication, inconsistency, and poor business analytics. There was no instituted process for agreeing on changes to reference data across the enterprise.

Reference data before Reference data now
  • A data steward manually maintained flight range data via spreadsheet
  • Not formally versioned
  • Distributed via email to each stakeholder, who maintained their own record
  • Did not handle a merger with another airline
  • Easy to see who maintains the data and data change history
  • Bulk import/export possible
  • Authorized people review, approve, and publish data
  • Only verified, high quality data is pushed to the EDW

Solution & benefits

The airline overcame manually managed reference data and implemented a solution that addressed all project requirements and goals. 

Data Quality and Governance:

  • Developed a centralized reference data repository, enabled backpropagation to original source systems, improved data quality as a whole, and set up identity management access control.
  • Standard maintenance process and workflow.
  • Support auditing and data versioning.
  • Improved data quality, with business rules now enforced prior to publishing the data.

UI designed with data stewards in mind

  • The redesigned, easy-to-use interface allows business users to directly manage their reference data without costly help from IT.
  • Role-based UIs for review, approval, and publishing of changes.
  • Bulk import/export support and the ability to view the state of data at any given point in time (historical snapshot).

Business and IT are both satisfied

  • Reduced IT costs by developing a user-friendly GUI and shifting the responsibility of maintaining and updating reference data to business users.
  • Faster response to changes and additions to reference data.
  • Thanks to the user-friendly nature of Ataccama tools, the airline’s IT department was able to implement their RDM solution largely independent of the Ataccama team.

Solution in production

Ataccama’s implementation is now in production with over 40 entities, including

  • Flight Range Codes
  • Flight Delays Codes
  • Seating Charts
  • Cargo 
  • Flight Crew
  • Operations Planning 
  • Operations Research
  • Revenue Management
  • Sales 
  • Tech Ops


The organization utilized the Ataccama ONE platform module for Reference Data Management. Ataccama ONE RDM serves a range of data challenges, including reference data scattered across multiple source systems and manually-managed Excel files. Centralize ownership, enforce business rules and data quality standards, and maintain consistent, valid, and available reference data across your entire enterprise in one place. RDM is an important step in any MDM solution.