Evoke CEO Mike Peters shares how a focus on innovation, data and design improves efficiency for airline customers and keeps us ahead of the curve.
How did Evoke get started?
Evoke was founded at a time when the internet was still in its infancy and consumer software operating systems were considered unreliable. Founding members Dr Craig Howard, an expert in data mining, and Captain Mark Linney both visualised the potential safety, commercial and practical benefits of the paperless cockpit, especially as Mark’s arms were tired carrying his heavy Pilot’s case up the aircraft stairs!
The company began with a DTI Smart Award to conduct a feasibility study into the concepts of electronic flight operations systems, with the nine-month project establishing the technical feasibility of the system and requirements of Pilots, Cabin Crew and Regulators, as well as highlighting the challenges and high costs faced by airlines in communicating with a widely-based and highly-mobile workforce.
From there, EFOS was born, and Evoke began providing EFB software through the Flight Management Suite. Over the years further development has seen the growth of the company and the introduction of the EFOS Training Management Suite and the EFOS Leave Management Suite; both unique in the capabilities they offer Aviation clients.
What is the attraction of aviation-related software?
Evoke founder Mark Linney remains a Captain for a British long-haul carrier, so the passion for aviation runs right through the business. Through harnessing Dr Craig Howard’s data mining expertise, the duo realised that they could create software that would significantly improve operating efficiency for airline customers.
What is the guiding business principle that drives Evoke?
The ‘just-in-time’ efficiency requirement, especially for low-cost carriers, lends itself well to the lean operating functionality of our EFOS product. The company’s ‘different by data design’ ethos has driven us to provide software which delivers data accuracy, data validation and commercial data analysis to maximise efficient operations. This was never more poignant than the current ‘Covid’ times we find ourselves in, with access to dependable data essential to allowing effective decision making.
What has been Evoke’s greatest technical achievement to date, and why?
It’s a close call between the development of the iPad app for the EFOS Training Management Suite and the introduction of the EFOS Leave Management Suite.
The EFOS Leave Management Suite was designed to improve crew morale surrounding leave booking processes and reduce resource-heavy administration teams within airlines. It processes thousands of leave requests within minutes to provide instant feedback to crew members, allowing for transparency surrounding the sometimes delicate situation of crew leave requests.
The dedicated iPad app for the EFOS Training Management Suite was developed to provide the simplicity of the TMS in an offline capacity, allowing trainers to use the system during simulator and line training sessions. The full functionality of our Course Management module is available through the app, allowing for candidate qualifications to be automatically updated and providing powerful opportunities for training managers and administrators to easily track candidate progress through courses. Their training history can also be accessed via the app, providing trainers with a holistic view of their performance.
What has been Evoke’s greatest business achievement to date, and why?
Following implementation of the EFOS Training Management Suite into one of our largest airlines to replace an error-prone paper-based system, we managed to reduce form error rates from in the region of 20% to just 0.035%. This provided a six month payback on the EFOS TMS just from the error saving alone.
These affirmation statistics are tracked for all of our customers and used to underpin the cost benefit of the EFOS Product Suites, identifying the very short payback benefits available following implementation.
What have been Evoke’s disappointments, and what have you learnt from them?
The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the industry, devastating airlines overnight as the world ground to a halt. Starting with the sad news that long-term customers Flybe had collapsed into administration in early March, we watched in dismay as the pandemic intensified, threatening the sheer existence of many of our customers. As the Evoke office decamped to work from home we were acutely aware that the horizon of the aviation industry looked extremely bleak.
Alongside our trusted clients, we closely monitored regulatory changes, adapting quickly and efficiently to licence extension requirements, and implementing these changes within 24-48 hours for our customers. Real life is about reacting quickly, creatively and professionally to the challenges at hand, especially where they could not have been envisioned. The crisis has reaffirmed the crucial importance of having training data within a training management system when needing to react with critical real-time data to facilitate rapid decision making, as well as reiterating the resilience of the aviation industry.
In a sentence, how would you summarise what Evoke does for aviation customers?
EBT in a Box
What is new on Evoke’s development horizon?
We are currently working with Captain Steve Deverall, an experienced airline training manager, on an innovative EBT solution designed to assist airlines in implementing and managing an EBT programme through the EFOS Training Management Suite.
The EBT solution will enable Airlines to demystify the transition to EBT and provide the training forms and programme builder to enable a swift set-up.
This is currently in development with our customers and we hope to release further details of this exciting new project in the coming months.
What will be the next big thing in Aviation IT?
The change in approach to training within aviation will drive a requirement for a completely new approach. This especially includes the collation, access and investigation of concordant approaches to competency evaluation. Moving from the world of checklists to competency and behaviour scenarios demands highly effective and flexible training form and resultant data construction. For Evoke we are already seeing Airlines contact us, realising how important systems and accompanying structured data are, to better enable informed decision making and impact assessment.
What do you want customers to say about Evoke?
Evoke are innovative trailblazers, continually looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve to provide added value to customers. Their pioneering EFOS software solutions offer high cost versus benefit return on investment and are backed up by first-class customer support. I also hope they would say they enjoy working with our team.