Gulf Air has unveiled plans for a “company-wide digital transformation”, which will see the airline make improvements to its Oracle E-Business Suite enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, expand its hybrid cloud to the Oracle public cloud and push out mobility programmes.
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According to Jassim Haji, director of IT at Bahrain’s national carrier, the strategy involves a wide spectrum of initiatives. These include going paperless with digital processing, pushing out tablets so that employees can go mobile and levering business intelligence for real-time decision making, as well as for long-term planning.
Speaking to Computer Weekly, Haji said the end game is to increase productivity, efficiency and ease of use. While the strategy isn’t an overhaul, he said, it will help Gulf Air get more out of its Oracle systems.
“The exercise aims at inspecting the existing framework in different modules of the suite and determining if any changes or improvements are required to optimise its usage,” he said.
“It aims to reduce the time to complete business transactions and decrease response time to market. Operations will become streamlined and efficient.”
While the changes to the processes in the ERP system are not yet decided on, Haji said one of the most important parts of the drive involves expanding the capabilities of Gulf Air’s hybrid cloud architecture, which was first rolled out a number of years ago.
To do this, he said the carrier will “augment” its existing infrastructure with Oracle’s public cloud, which will provide more processing power and a higher throughput of transactions.
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The subject of public cloud is still a sticky one in the Middle East, with organisations wary of hosting their data out of country. But Haji said there was no better option than having some parts of the architecture hosted in a public cloud for some of Gulf Air’s requirements.
“Confidentiality and sensitive information, including all financial transactions and data, will have to remain in the private cloud,” he said.
“Transactions that are of high volume and spread over a wide geographical realm with external partners will be moved to the public cloud, which is intended for such conditions.”
Haji added that the new infrastructure would allow Gulf Air to move some of the IT department’s spend over to an operating expenditure (Opex) model.
To help with the implementation of the new hybrid model, as well as the improvements to the ERP system, Gulf Air has signed on Middle East systems integrator TransSys Solutions. The SI has completed a number of major cloud projects in the region and specialises in Oracle systems.
“TranSys has vast experience in implementing and customising Oracle E-Business Suite in all forms and in different organisations, including airlines,” said Haji.