Airbus upskills employees to reach new heights with Udacity.
How Udacity helped Airbus to
- Create an in-house team of data and AI/ML experts
- Increase productivity and foster a culture of data-driven decision making
- Introduce new products and services to their customers and partners
- Generate 237% ROI on global talent transformation investment
Airbus partnered with Udacity to create a Digital Academy and upskill more than 1,000 employees in data analytics, AI, and machine learning to support their Skywise initiative.
Airbus is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture, and delivery of aerospace products and services to customers on a global scale. In 2017, the company launched Skywise, a first-of-its-kind open data platform that combines in-flight, engineering, and operational data in an analytic-rich environment that enables airlines to break down data silos, improve their operational performance, and drive business results.
To support this initiative and empower its own employees to become more data-driven, Airbus made the strategic decision to create a world-class Digital Academy to upskill its workforce in the latest digital technologies. By focusing on critical skills like data analytics, AI, and machine learning, Airbus hoped to create and retain an in-house team of experts—not just data scientists and deep technical experts, but also business “translators” who could combine their new data savvy with industry and functional expertise to drive impact.
To create their Digital Academy, Airbus partnered with Udacity, a leading provider of hands-on technical upskilling programs. Working closely with Udacity's talent transformation consultants, Airbus created a five-step framework to help employees across the organization master data analytics, AI, and machine learning skills, which included:
1. An online community platform
Digital community where learners can collaborate on business challenges, share code, and learn best practices from their peers.
2. The Udacity Data Analyst Nanodegree program
Learners use Python, SQL, and statistics to uncover insights, communicate critical findings, and create data-driven solutions.
3. Coaching and drop-in sessions
Sessions that enable learners to get personalized, in-depth attention from the community of data scientists who both support and troubleshoot their projects.
4. Virtual events
Expert speakers within the Airbus Group give presentations designed to broaden each learner’s view of data skills and associated topics of interest.
5. Proofs of concept/sprint participation
Activities designed to cement learners’ knowledge and apply it to Airbus use cases, thus demonstrating the direct business impact of their newly acquired skills.
Through Udacity’s customized programs in data science and AI/machine learning, Airbus employees learned how to use Python, SQL, and statistics to uncover insights, communicate critical findings, and create data-driven solutions. To date, more than 1,000 Airbus employees across six divisions have graduated from these programs.
The bottom-line impact of Udacity’s talent transformation initiatives at Airbus has been nothing short of amazing. Airbus has seen 237% ROI on its initial investment as well as significant improvements in employee hiring, productivity, and retention. Udacity’s project-based approach equipped employees with job-ready skills that could be applied in real scenarios and business solutions.
Upskilled employees also became key contributors to Skywise, Airbus' open data platform. Previously, aviation data was locked in disparate systems governing maintenance, flight management, aircraft monitoring and safety, and other critical workflows. Skywise changes the game by integrating these disparate data sources into a single platform, enabling data gathering and simplification, transparency, information comparison, data analysis, and easy sharing for customers.
Another important aspect of the program was that it gave real job mobility to Airbus employees, allowing them to move from existing technical positions into data analyst roles all across the organization. These new roles were both highly valuable and strategic to the company and enabled upskilled employees to put their new data analysis and data-driven decision-making skills into practice to solve big-picture problems, build better products, and suggest new services for customers and partners.