Travel Expert Insights with Rupesh Naik, Programme Manager from Open Destinations
Rupesh Naik – Programme Manager
Rupesh is a technology expert with 10 years’ experience in the travel industry. Since joining Open Destinations in 2010, Rupesh has played a major role in many large-scale project implementations, including for ETSTur on-site in Turkey and a current initiative for Abercrombie & Kent Travel.
What is your role at Open Destinations and what do you do?
I work as a Programme Manager, primarily responsible for managing cluster deliveries. A cluster for Open Destinations can mean a set of different tour operators using similar functionality within the product, or an umbrella of several sub-offices of a particular tour operator using our flagship reservations management system, Travel Studio.
We refer to these cluster deliveries as ‘Delivery Projects’. I head up end-to-end project delivery, – from requirements gathering, right through to end delivery and ongoing customer support post ‘go-live’. I manage and oversee, but I also have a fantastic team of Technical Project Managers who are responsible for developing the functionality under each project. They work in turn with a team of highly qualified developers.
What makes a technical project successful?
Understanding our client’s business model is crucial. This helps in mapping our product, Travel Studio for example, to our client’s respective business functions. With that deep understanding, it becomes easier to identify gaps and the intricacies of business functions which then you can develop as enhancements and deliver to clients.
Are there any successful Open Destinations deliveries that are particularly memorable?
I’m pleased to say there are lots of successfully delivered projects to choose from! The most memorable projects are usually those that combine timely delivery, within the agreed scope and with a minimal bug rate. It’s a great feeling when you complete a long-term project, after tight timelines, tough discussions and a lot of hard work. When that finally all pays off and you see the product go live and that it really helps your customer, – that’s always memorable.
What positive feedback do you receive from customers?
Customers appreciate how much effort we put in. We take time to define and understand their business functions, building software that is going to have the most positive business impact for them.
What sort of requests do you receive from customers?
At a high level, the requests are broadly divided into two areas: Change Requests (enhancements to the system) and Support Requests (bugs or defects reported in the system).
How do Open Destinations deliver customer requests?
We have a custom delivery process for delivering customer requests. It’s an internal adaptation of the popular Waterfall model of Software Delivery Life Cycle (SDLC).
A Change Request is initiated by the customer in the form of a requirement statement. This then gets elaborated on to form business requirements with specific functionality considerations. We then move into the Development stage. In the last stage, the developed feature goes through validation [testing & UAT] and is then released to the customer. A Support Request is a little different, – it would be recorded on to our internal ticket logging system. The request then flows through several layers and a fix is delivered.
Has the technical project delivery process changed? How has this improved the customer journey?
The technical delivery process at Open Destinations has been a journey. Of course, with our many years of experience we have evolved and changed it. Our aim is simple, to continuously improve the quality and timing of our project deliveries so our customers are happy.
What have you learnt about technical project management?
A lot! One important aspect is that we cannot always type-cast our deliveries. We have to be agile and work with our customers’ specific business models and requirements. While we try to standardise our processes and functions, we have to ensure that they are flexible enough to accommodate the customer’s very particular needs.
To learn more about Open Destinations’ product portfolio, and to see how we could impact your business, contact us at [email protected]