Executive Insights: Raj Cherchattil on Challenges in the Transportation Industry

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The Academy of Technology’s “Executive Insights” series provides thought leadership from executives and senior members of IBM with the goal of encouraging the exchange of ideas and information. 

Raj Cherchattil
CTO for Air Canada
IBM Global Markets

In your experience with the transportation industry, what do you see as the main challenges in 2020? 

Raj: The key challenge in 2020 and the coming years are the COVID-related constraints that led to a precipitous drop in revenue. Many airlines have seen as much as 95% drop in passenger volumes and revenue. 

As you work with clients in the travel and transportation industry, what kinds of creative thinking do you see, or what do you propose to deal with these unique challenges?

Raj:  Restarting the business, customer safety and cost savings are key focus areas for our customers in the Travel and Transportation (T&T) industry. We are in creative and innovative discussions on revenue forecasting by regions of the world using AI/ML technologies. We’re also looking at customer safety through contactless experiences, from booking travel all the way through to the travel itself. And we’re focused as well on cost savings through the use of cloud and automation technologies.

Your background is in Cloud/Security/AI/Information Architecture. How does this experience tie to the challenges presented in 2020?

Raj: We are using Cloud and AI technology to drive cost out of the processes in our industry. Security has always been important to our customers in T&T. That has only increased as the need to make the customers feel safe has increased.

What excites you about opportunities for this industry? How can the Academy and IBM technology provide solutions? 

Raj: The industry is going through a reset at this moment. As T&T emerges from COVID, there will be a need to invent a new approach for doing business in the industry and this will lead to new ways of thinking in the process, and in the use of technology such as AI/Cloud/Security to enable such a transformation. 

T&T will need to move to a 100% digital experience with a high level of automation in the future. The AoT can help drive new industry reference architectures and influence new IBM offerings that are aligned to the digitization of the industry.

What are some insights or guidance from your career at IBM that you’d like to share?

Raj: Integrity and empathy with our customers’ situations and business problems are key in succeeding in one’s career in IBM and serving our clients. Building long-lasting relationships with our customers will always pay off at the end. We have to consider this as a marathon and not a sprint while we work with our customers.


Meet Raj Cherchattil

Raj Cherchattil has 2 years in the Travel & Transportation Industry as the CTO for a large integrated account in North America driving Cloud, Security AI/IA strategic control points. He works closely with the customer CTO as a trusted advisor. Raj’s expertise is in Cloud/Security/AI/Information Architecture. 

Raj also has 15 Years with Telecom Industry in various progressive roles including lead delivery architect, Software Architect, Client Technical Leader and CTO. He is a Technical Council Member of Academy of Technology and is an Industry Affiliates Leader.

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