American Airlines (AA) plans to migrate it’s website, customer-facing mobile applications, airport kiosks and some critical enterprise workloads to the International Business Machine (IBM) Cloud platform in the coming months.
American Airlines has a long standing history with IBM. They partnered together to create the world’s first automated reservation system back in the 1960s with SABRE (Related Insight – Airline Retailing Recipe For Success). The new partnership enables both companies to leverage one another in many areas. The following is a video with Daniel Henry, American Airlines’ VP of Customer Technology and Arvind Krishna, SVP, IBM Hybrid Cloud and IBM Research describing some of the benefits from American Airlines migrating some of its services over to IBM Cloud at IBM InterConnect 2017 Conference:
American Airlines’ move over the IBM’s cloud platform have many benefits including:
- IBM has a global footprint which will ensure the airline’s 1.2 million daily visitors will be able to access the website without service interruptions. Common functionalities can be rolled out around the world concurrently;
- IBM has built-in redundancies and years of outsourcing experience to ensure that customer disruptions caused by system malfunctions are kept to a minimum. This can save the airline significant amount of money when problems arise and decrease reputation risks (Related News – British Airways Cancelled London Flights Due to IT System Failure);
- Migrating different applications under one platform ensure that they would be compatible under the same platforms. System and interfaces would be tested, implemented and upgraded on a timely basis based on contract requirements;
- American Airlines would be able to leverage IBM’s expertise in developing iOS mobile applications under the MobileFirst moniker (Related News – New MobileFirst Application From IBM And Apple). Specific applications created for the airline industry are already in use by Air Canada (AC), United Airlines (UA), Finnair (AY), Singapore Airlines (SQ), Lufthansa (LH) and Japan Airlines (JL). Use cases so far include in flight passenger management to enhance personalization, crew scheduling management, gate management and aircraft maintenance management; and
- American Airlines would be able to tap into the Big Blue’s advanced analytics tools including IBM Watson to build up its artificial intelligence capabilities.
The Dallas / Fort-Worth based airline also faces a new set of changes when migrating over to a new cloud platform:
- Cyber security risks have to be evaluated regularly to ensure that the IBM Cloud platform adheres to industry security standards and that customer and employee data are safeguarded from inappropriate access by airline or third party personnel.
- Data sharing can impact privacy and confidentiality depending where servers are located and how information is transmitted. Data management should be maintained based on different government jurisdictions and databases/programs can be modified to comply to new laws and regulations without significant time and efforts;
- Depending on how American Airlines adopt IBM’s analytical tools and mobile technologies, the airline could lose some of its market differentiation and competitive advantage in the products being offered. It might also turn into a technology adapter instead of innovator;
- The airline have to spend more money overall to outsource to a cloud based technology initially and might lose some autonomy on how its systems are operated. It might be tougher to shift the culture some employees have on having full access to multiple systems; and
- Migration efforts of legacy systems to another platform can be slow and problematic. Broken interfaces can easier cause major operation issue.