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When the pandemic struck, many organizations were forced into a reactive scramble to manage the unprecedented disruption. teams had to reprioritize quickly, changing their technology roadmaps overnight to support remote working and meet increased demand for online services.

Now, coming up on two years into the pandemic, anyone in business has learned an important lessons – organizations cannot find themselves in this reactive mode again. Instead of playing catch up, we must be ready to navigate the next crisis, today.

To share his own organization’s experience of this in recent months, Sergio Pino, Solutions Architect at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), joined us at MuleSoft CONNECT 2021. IATA is a trade association that represents more than two hundred and ninety airlines and around 82% of global air traffic.

Managing the turbulent effects of the pandemic 

The aviation industry was inarguably amongst those hit hardest by the pandemic, with air traffic declining dramatically, as well as budget cuts and staff reductions having a significant impact on day-to-day operations.

Pino talked us through how IATA navigated these challenges to provide the vital support its members needed, and gave us an insight into how the organization is now future-proofing against any potential future crisis. 

He began by explaining that, even before the pandemic hit, his integration team had started the journey towards a composable enterprise to become more agile, by following MuleSoft’s API-led design approach.

Leaning on the Center for Enablement (C4E) to stay agile in the face of unexpected challenges 

Pino talked about how embracing a Center for Enablement (C4E) helped to drive that operating model shift, and provided the guidance, speed, and agility that was central to mitigating some of the challenges that the pandemic brought. 

“Agility is the key word in our team — it means we’re able to cope with changing requirements. With MuleSoft, we’re able to build loosely coupled services. We reuse the pieces we already built and can achieve the delivery of new features fast.”

Sergio Pino, Solutions Architect at the International Air Transport Association (IATA)

Pino described how this capability helped IATA to quickly update one of its core applications to support airlines more effectively during the early stages of the crisis. The IATA Settlement Systems deliver faster and more cost-effective financial settlement services and solutions to airlines.

He explained how this became even more critical when the sharp decrease in air traffic meant that many travel agents were put at risk of bankruptcy in non-union countries. “We had to find an overnight solution to mitigate the risk for the airlines and for IATA,” he said. “With MuleSoft, we were able to deliver that solution, fast.”

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Building the IATA Travel Pass with Anypoint Platform

To prepare the industry for reopening when air travel began again, the teams at IATA used MuleSoft to build the ecosystem for the IATA Travel Pass.

The Travel Pass is a mobile app that helps travelers store and manage their verified certifications for tests and vaccines. This reduces the need for paperwork, helping travellers enjoy a much more seamless experience when passing through airports.

Pino described MuleSoft’s role in the app’s development: “Anypoint Platform was key to shared collaboration for the assets we were building. Any model owner was able to see the API specifications, and download the API credentials and API analytics.”

How IATA is equipped to handle future challenges with agility

Summarizing his organization’s experience, Pino added: “MuleSoft and API-led design enabled IATA to accelerate digital transformation. We still have a long journey to go, but we are in the right direction.”

What’s clear from the events of the past year is that organizations cannot continue in the “business as usual” mode, waiting for a future crisis to elicit change. Having an established API ecosystem, and building with reusability at the core, will be key to laying the groundwork for businesses to quickly pivot in the future.

Want to hear more about how an API-led connectivity strategy helped IATA to respond to a crisis with greater agility? Check out their MuleSoft CONNECT session on-demand below or see IATA’s customer spotlight.