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Case study:Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines


Building a new knowledge system with site-led agile development

Japan Airlines has launched the POLARIS project to solve the problems of the old knowledge system. This is an effort to build a new knowledge system with high searchability that does not rely on the experience or intuition of the operator. "POLARIS" signifies the North Star, which shows the correct path to lost travelers.

Japan Airlines' customer service center was originally specialized in handling airline ticket reservations on the phone, but in recent years the addition of various new services and expanding range of inquiries have made the skills required of operators more sophisticated. However, the old knowledge system had a very complex directory because the data was distributed across multiple systems. As a result, it sometimes took time for the operators to find the optimal answer, which was one of the factors that kept customers waiting.

By integrating the knowledge that spans across multiple systems into POLARIS, not only does it make it possible to respond quickly to a wide variety of customer inquiries, but it also reduces the burden on operators. In addition, Japan Airlines thought that it would be the first step to improve the contact center because they would be able to shift human resources to areas of added value by improving productivity.

Why Drupal was chosen:

Japan Airlines focused on three requirements in building POLARIS.

  • Being able to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • Providing services at the global level.
  • Growing expansion and developing power so that in the future, customers may be able to directly access it from outside the company and solve their own problems through FAQs and more.

As a result of searching for a CMS based on these requirements, they have selected the cloud service "Acquia" that has support for many things at the global level including building and operating websites, content management, and web marketing.

Describe the project (goals, requirements and outcome):

  • Achieving stress-free customer support in all aspects of the travel experience.
  • Customer service using a complicated knowledge system consisting of multiple systems.
  • Build a new knowledge system with high searchability that does not rely on the experience and intuition of the operator.
  • Make it possible for staff working at contact points with domestic and overseas customers to instantly check shared knowledge.
  • Establish a system that can instantly and centrally update knowledge shared to the world from inside or outside the company.
  • Improve speed of operator response to customers and reduce stress.
  • Increase productivity to enable shift of human resources to areas of added value.
  • Provide a foundation for a stress-free experience for all customers by supporting their self-initiative.

With "A system that is easy for operators and administrators to use" in mind, Japan Airlines worked on building with agile development under circumstances where they could not extend the delivery date due to the old system approaching its EoL. At one point it was difficult to proceed with the project due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection. However, they scrutinized the content of over 10,000 pages, gradually solidified the requirements, and proceeded with the improvement and development of the functions, designs, and UI, and they were able to move the project forward according to schedule.

With POLARIS, the previously distributed knowledge has become integrated, and in addition to contact centers, staff working at contact points with domestic and overseas customers such as airports can now check shared information in a timely manner. Maintenance has also become much easier. With the old system, it was necessary to physically come to the company to do updates, but after the renewal, it is now possible to do it from home. This is a tremendous advantage in this pandemic age. 
The ability to update information instantly for all employees is also a major achievement. In this pandemic, where circumstances change on a daily basis, it is necessary to be able to update information for all employees instantly. With the introduction of POLARIS, Japan Airlines has established a system that can centrally update knowledge that is shared throughout the world.

Key modules/theme/distribution used:

・Acquia Lightning

By adopting Acquia Lightning for distribution and developing based on modules, and Drupal settings optimized for the Acquia environment, we were able to shorten the development period by reducing the man-hours needed for development.


By implementing the design components defined in the guidelines in Paragraphs, content editors can now select the design components they need when creating content, and create pages efficiently.