Marillion, Genesis, Pink Floyd—everyone knows these famous bands and one or two of their big hits. However, things look very different when it comes to lesser-known songs. But not for Peter Tenbusch. A diehard fan like him is also enthusiastic about their multilayered, intricate, and lengthy pieces: "Art rock, progressive rock, and jazz have never intimidated me," says the CEO of travelbasys. "I always thought: So many other people like it, there must be something to it." So he dove headlong into the music, listening very closely and intently.
And not just there. The 58-year-old has used that mix of curiosity, courage, and meticulousness in his professional life for many years. At work it's about IT and process services rather than music, where Tenbusch and the 30 or so employees of travelbasys frequently have to integrate something new and find creative solutions. travelbasys has been a leader in the travel industry and a pioneer in data automation for more than 40 years. And it certainly isn't unusual for things to get complicated. "But that's precisely when it gets interesting," notes Tenbusch.
Pushing the boundaries
RBS now is the most important product for travelbasys, which is based in Mühlheim an der Ruhr. RBS was developed with Software AG’s Adabas & Natural and is a market-leading back-office and management system for travel agencies in Germany and Europe. The software integrates all systems and data into one seamless, automated process—from process management to reporting, bookkeeping, and archiving. Many tour operators and travel agencies throughout Europe use it.
The dynamic way the travel industry has changed since the advent of the internet has made that necessary. "Essentially, not a stone was left standing. The entire market has become extremely heterogenous and modular," states Tenbusch. For instance, in the past the entire industry in Germany used a single central reservation system. That has grown to five in the meantime, and more are coming. And while 30 years ago consumers generally went to a travel agency to book a flight, these days they can do that easily on their smartphone, either directly on the airline’s website or with any of the two dozen online travel providers.
"The airlines in turn maintain direct contact with customers, travel agencies, and sales channels to get out of the standardized price ranking," says Tenbusch. As a consequence, demand for online data availability in real time has risen enormously. There is a rapidly growing volume of information and a wide variety of data sources that need to be dynamically integrated with each other.
Data integration is key
In order to keep up with the pace and level of complexity while staying ahead of evolving industry standards, travelbasys needed to revolutionize its systems. The company now relies on Software AG’s webMethods and API Gateway to do the job. They enable the integration of all data silos and are establishing a central data source for real-time data processing, which travelbasys’ customers can access. webMethods provides a standardized gateway for the travelbasys systems to communicate with other systems. "It has given us a toolbox that we currently use to connect 100 different interfaces as well as import and export all possible data formats,” explains Tenbusch. "Thanks to this flexibility we can also connect customers with older systems by integrating their existing systems. And we’re up to date and ready for new customers with their new requirements and standards."
Openness and user-friendliness—it always comes down to these two maxims at travelbasys. Tenbusch elaborates: "Over time we have built up a large treasure trove of experience with normalizing and standardizing data from the travel industry and making it easily available to customers." Aside from the IT, the team's mindset is crucial: staying agile, interested, and open to new innovations and ideas. "We regularly have major projects where we need to adapt and adjust, but those are the projects where we learned and gained a great deal," he notes, adding: "That continues to make our business so interesting for me to this day."
All that remains is a request for a music tip. Mr. Tenbusch, can you name three progressive rock albums that warrant indulging in a deep dive?… Tenbusch: "There are so many, but here are four albums from recent years: