Fleets in a hangar are connected digitally.

Digital MRO

Prediction without fulfillment
is worthless

AVIATAR insight

User experience in focus

Johannes Hansen is a true pioneer. He was tasked with developing the first version of a digital platform for the aviation industry in just 100 days. No sooner said than done – just two years later, AVIATAR is now the flagship of Lufthansa Technik's focus on all things digital. And Johannes' work didn't end there. As Senior Director of Application Development and User Experience, he still oversees the development of new products on the platform – always focusing intently on the troubles, needs and desires of customers.

  • When you think about how AVIATAR came about, what's the first thing that comes to mind?

  • The room where it all started. Considering we're a large company, the way AVIATAR came about was rather unconventional. All we had was a vision and a brief to produce the first functioning product within 100 days. When you only have 100 days, there's no time for drafting long technical designs. Not everything can be planned in advance. You have to gather all the relevant people in one room and get right to it because working in such close quarters fosters communication and exchange. We developed the plan as we went along, constantly tweaking it wherever necessary. We didn't even have chairs at first. We just perched on stools. There were six of us on the first day, and we're all still here today! Of course, we've grown a lot in that time.

  • What approach did you take?

  • We built on existing technological components, while also adopting the methods in the agile process models that we've been using in IT for a long time. In very short cycles, we began to home in on the scope of our solution. On day two, we already had the first rough ideas for user interfaces, by day five we'd written the first code, and by day 30 we'd already gotten our first customer feedback.

“B2B software can also be user-friendly and visually appealing. In companies users expect precisely that!”

Johannes Hansen

  • Digital products are popping up in companies everywhere. What makes AVIATAR special?

  • For a start, AVIATAR puts the customer at the center of everything it does. The platform was developed in direct contact with customers, and features and roadmaps were constantly planned and improved based on customers' needs. After all, the customers know what they need better than we do! This also applies to the appearance and handling. Unlike software developed with the end user (the consumer) in mind, company software would often be designed with little thought to user experience. AVIATAR has set a standard in the industry with its extremely user-focused design, and we can see that our competitors now feel the need to up the ante in this respect. The customers who use AVIATAR have come to expect certain things when it comes to response time and customer orientation. When they provide feedback, they get a response very quickly. Modification requests can be swiftly integrated into the products. This is a novelty for many customers because, in our industry, software used to be updated in long release cycles with little customer involvement.

“If a customer tells us they want an additional feature and could also benefit from another display, we can develop and deliver this, ideally within three weeks.”

Johannes Hansen

  • What else is special about the AVIATAR?

  • Besides its focus on the user, what sets AVIATAR apart from its many competitors is that it's directly connected to Operations. AVIATAR translates data-driven findings into real-world instructions. In many cases, when an algorithm predicts something, we can generate work orders in the operational systems fully automatically, thus creating consistency for the customer. This is an area where our many years of experience in engineering and in the operational spheres of Lufthansa Technik come in handy. Prediction without fulfillment is worthless!

“Being able to predict that something is going to happen is only useful if operations can also react to it, for instance, by preemptively switching a component to avoid any downtime.”

Johannes Hansen

  • What's the exact process that you use for working on AVIATAR?

  • We work in cross-functional teams that are free to make their own decisions. This allows us to turn ideas into products very quickly, with each product typically being built by one team. The teams building customer products work in very close contact with the customers. We also visit them to examine their processes in situ, for example by spending an entire day shadowing one of our users. The teams also regularly gather feedback on new products and interfaces.

  • What do you enjoy most about your job?

  • Since the traditional management role (decision-making, etc.) has been largely delegated across the teams, I work much more on the system than in it, looking at where we can recruit the best people, and what our ‘system of play' and guiding values should be.

  • If you had three wishes...?

  • I'd wish that more people in Germany, and in Hamburg especially, would show an interest in studying IT. There's definitely a huge need for well-trained software developers and data scientists. Besides that, I'm perfectly happy.

About

Johannes Hansen

Johannes Hansen, Head of User Productivity & Technology

Johannes Hansen, a graduate commercial IT specialist, has been working for Lufthansa Technik since 2008. After holding various positions in Information Management, including heading a team in charge of development and support for end-user-focused products, he moved over to Digital Fleet Solutions to begin developing AVIATAR. In addition to his 'workplace baby' AVIATAR, he also has a family at home to keep him on his feet.