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Satair: Enhancing customer service with Lilly, a smart online assistant built on Google Cloud

About Satair

Satair, part of the Airbus family, is a global provider of aviation spare parts and solutions with more than a million part numbers in stock and a vision to help companies grow in the digital economy.

Industries: Aerospace
Location: Denmark, Germany

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About Atos

Atos is a global leader in digital transformation with 105,000 employees in 71 countries. European number one in cybersecurity, cloud, and high performance computing.

Satair and digital transformation partner Atos used Google Cloud to bring an online assistant to life, empowering its customer services team to become more agile and better serve customers.

Google Cloud results

  • Supports digital transformation initiatives with a high-performance, scalable, serverless infrastructure
  • Automates customer service operations through Lilly, based on Vertex AI, freeing up employees to better serve customers
  • Offers scalable, secure, fast-performance out-of-the-box solutions for developers to build on top of, speeding up pilot projects
  • Enables integration with SAP via APIs

Automates request for quotation fulfillment within a minute

A typical passenger aircraft is made up of millions of individual parts. To source many of these, airplane manufacturers turn to Satair, a global provider of services and solutions for the civil aerospace industry, with seven million unique inventory items in its catalog. Founded in 1957, Satair operates from 10 locations worldwide and has more than 1,300 employees. Realizing that new ways of working are needed to meet the new challenges of a digital economy, Satair is reinventing its business processes, grounded in 60 years of tradition, to empower its employees to work smarter and more efficiently using automation and AI.

“Satair’s industry went through a steep increase of growth and profit in the past few decades, but business processes and approaches to problem-solving remained largely unchanged,” says Michael Nicolai Folkmann Schjerbeck, Head of Digital and IT Projects at Satair. “For a long time, this traditional industry could afford to tackle new challenges by just hiring new people, for example. But Satair wanted to take a different route: we’re reinventing the way we work to future-proof our processes and solve problems quickly with digital solutions.”

For a company-wide digital transformation project that could bring its innovative ideas to life, Satair partnered with Atos to build an AI-powered solution on Google Cloud. “We want to engage our customers with a fully automated and digitized customer experience. One of the key initiatives to achieve that is by utilizing our AI competencies to provide fast and efficient customer service.” says Schjerbeck. “The customer is the core of our business and Vertex AI is an instrumental part of offering best-in-class customer service to deliver a high-value customer experience across all touch points.”

“The move to Google Cloud felt like a natural next step towards enabling more business agility, and it has become a critical part of our digital infrastructure. Instead of reinventing the wheel, we use its native components to build on top of, scale, and handle data in real time.”

Michael Nicolai Folkmann Schjerbeck, Head of Digital & IT Projects, Satair

Enabling greater business agility with Google Cloud

In 2018, Satair outlined its digital transformation priorities, identifying internal processes that it wanted to support with new digital solutions first. “That’s when we realized that to simplify and streamline the way we work, we would first need to transform our core infrastructure,” says Schjerbeck. “We were extremely dependent on SAP and on two separate legacy systems which are slow to respond and have been highly customised over the years to fit specific use cases,” he explains. To become more agile and future-proof in its digital transformation, Satair decided to migrate its data and applications from on-premises servers to a scalable, high-performance, serverless infrastructure, and turned to Google Cloud for the solution.

“Our gateway to Google Cloud, and towards new ways of working, was Google Workspace,” says Schjerbeck, who explains that the company adopted the productivity tools several years ago. “Google Workspace was an important innovation driver for Satair. It showed us how to rethink certain processes that were built on tradition and depended on hard disks, so we can respond to change faster and more collaboratively moving forward,” he explains, adding that because many of Satair’s internal and external business processes run on email, Gmail quickly became an important tool for its 1,300 employees.

“The move to Google Cloud felt like a natural next step towards enabling more business agility,” he says, “and it has become a critical part of our digital infrastructure. Instead of reinventing the wheel, we use its native components to build on top of, scale, and handle data in real time.”

“Our online assistant makes it easy for our organization leaders to understand the value of Vertex AI, because it is having a real impact across the organization. It’s driving efficiency with automation and improving customer support with machine learning capabilities.”

Michael Nicolai Folkmann Schjerbeck, Head of Digital & IT Projects, Satair

Meet Lilly, an online assistant built to solve customer queries faster

With the right platform in place to support its digital transformation, Satair planned it’s next move: to improve the task-intensive process of creating customer quotes. “We receive around six million emails a year and have around 230 employees in customer services, globally, to reply to them,” says Schjerbeck, who explains that 450,000 of these emails are from customers asking about the prices of services and products. “It was a highly cumbersome and manual process entailing major lead times for our customers.”

To enable more agility and ease the load from Satair’s customer services team, Atos designed, built, and implemented an AI-based solution to handle the incoming unstructured emails containing requests for quotations. The result being an online assistant built on Google Cloud and named Lilly, after Miss Lillian Todd, the first woman in the world to design and build airplanes. Integrated with Satair’s Google Workspace tools, Lilly uses Vertex AI to automate help-desk operations using Natural Language API to screen and extract key features from customer emails, such as product names and quantities being requested, so it can generate quotes and respond to Satair customers via email automatically.

Meanwhile, the customer services team at Satair can keep track of Lilly’s performance using Looker Studio to visualize a real-time dashboard about her performance, such as the total number of emails being sent per day and the quality of her quote predictions, which have been correct 98% of the time so far.

Reindert de Leeuw, Nordic Head of Digital at Atos, worked closely with Satair to develop the solution, and explains that Lilly was the result of a six-week pilot project that started in June 2019. “One thing I really like about this solution is that it reflects Satair’s approach towards innovation: it enables efficiency in the backstage, by improving processes using data and machine learning, but it doesn’t ask their customers to change their behaviors in any way,” says de Leeuw. “Satair customers only get to experience the benefits, such as faster replies.”

Since launch, Lilly has automated 58% of quotes that the Satair customer services team would otherwise send manually, freeing them up to instead better engage with other customers who require other forms of assistance. Being available 24/7 to customers, Lilly has also reduced the company’s lead time to a minimum.

“Our online assistant makes it easy for our organization leaders to understand the value of Vertex Ai, because it is having a real impact across the organization. It’s driving efficiency with automation and improving customer support with machine learning capabilities,” says Mario Cappitelli, Satair’s Product Owner. “It is motivating to see Lilly come to life, and it will likely drive more initiatives like it in the future,” he adds.

“Atos has the right mindset and skills. Google Cloud has the power and tools to bring those skills to life across our business, quickly and cost-effectively. And Satair has the vision to continue innovating in a traditional industry. It’s an excellent three-way handshake for thriving in the long run.”

Michael Nicolai Folkmann Schjerbeck, Head of Digital & IT Projects, Satair

Connecting technology and people to drive innovation

At the beginning of their partnership, Satair asked Atos what was the most important thing for making its digital transformation work. “We said it was crucial to fully understand Satair’s infrastructure and business processes to ensure that it would support new solutions and processes in the long run, at scale,” says de Leeuw. “So when Satair asked us if we had any experience working with Google Cloud, we felt like we had won the bingo: not only do we really enjoy developing on Google Cloud, but we also think it is an excellent choice of platform to future-proof their initiatives,” Cappitelli adds.

“Using Google Cloud as its development environment has enabled its joint team of data scientists and data engineers to start running pilots and proposing projects almost immediately to Satair. “Our joint team loves building on top of the out-of-the-box solutions of Google Cloud because they are fast, scalable, secure, and easy to maintain,” says Nick Moesker, Solution Lead at Atos. “It’s like LEGO: with the right pieces as building blocks, we can enable our team to build beautiful solutions.”

Now that it has the tools and partnerships it needs, Satair is confident in its ability to keep on reinventing itself with smart solutions in the future. “We want to establish an AI center of excellence in close collaboration with Atos, with a core focus on improving our E2E customer journey,” says Schjerbeck. “Atos has the right mindset and skills. Google Cloud has the power and tools to bring those skills to life across our business, quickly and cost-effectively. And Satair has the vision to continue innovating in a traditional industry. It’s an excellent three-way handshake for thriving in the long run.”

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Satair

Satair, part of the Airbus family, is a global provider of aviation spare parts and solutions with more than a million part numbers in stock and a vision to help companies grow in the digital economy.

Industries: Aerospace
Location: Denmark, Germany

About Atos

Atos is a global leader in digital transformation with 105,000 employees in 71 countries. European number one in cybersecurity, cloud, and high performance computing.