Boeing’s new Boeing Global Services (BCS) business unit officially opened for business July 1, combining support for commercial, defense, and space into a single entity. Much of the focus will be on how Boeing leverages data to deliver deeper insight—and, fundamentally, actionable information—to its customers.
The company emphasized this at the Paris Air Show by rebranding its analytics offering as AnalytX, an 800-person-strong operation that—among other things—supports more than 4,300 Boeing aircraft under some sort of airplane health management (AHM) service contract. It also announced several new analytics services contracts, including AHM deals for Delta Air Lines 717s, Korean Air’s 777s and 787s, and China Airlines 737NGs and 747 freighters.
Meanwhile, just a few chalets down, Airbus was unveiling its new MRO Alliance, with a decidedly data-flavored center.
There is no question that analytics will play a major role in delivering more efficient aftermarket services, including predictive maintenance. But analysts at Canaccord Genuity believe that monetizing data services remains elusive.
"Companies are talking about data and we believe there is material opportunity here, but this is a business that is yet to demonstrate a material revenue opportunity,” Canaccord says in a recent research note.
Canaccord has long been clear that BGS’s greatest strength out of the box is in an area far more tangible than zeros and ones.
"We believe the shining star of the services business is the Boeing proprietary parts business,” Canaccord wrote in a detailed analysis of Boeing's commercial services business last year. "This business is also where Boeing is aggressively adding product as it re-negotiates supplier contracts that come up for renewal on Boeing-owned IP spare parts.”
Analytics may be the future, but parts—which tend to play a central role in most MRO strategies—are most definitely the present. And odds are—from used materials to PMA to additive-manufactured new parts and spares—they will remain front and center for a long time to come.