Dutch flag carrier airline KLM has consolidated 24 separate business units onto one IBM mainframe in a £2.7m project which, it claimed, would pay for itself within 18 months of completion.
The project came in on time and has allowed KLM to make savings of €2m (£1.4m) per year in operations and maintenance costs, but some functionality has been sacrificed, the airline added.
The savings have come by replacing seven AS400 mainframes in different locations onto a pair of IBM zSeries mainframes at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport. This has halved the number of IT staff needed to support the hardware, which runs financial software from SSA Global, an enterprise software supplier.
“The most important thing was to discard the AS400s – the hardware and systems management costs were too much because we had to have local support for them,” said Gert Huizinga, finance information manager at KLM. “By moving to one hardware platform we have cut manpower for hardware management by half.”
He added, “There have been benefits but also some sacrifices. With local systems local users were able to get specific local reports easily. We want the user to have control and to be able to get the reports they want but standardisation and the cost savings it brings are important.”
Moving to the same version of SSA Masterpiece software over 80 departments has helped the KLM to cut the time it takes to produce financial reports from around five weeks to seven days, added Huizinga.
Mainframe expert Phil Payne, principal of Isham Research, said that a reduction in the number of mainframes could make them easier to manage and help ensure that computing resources were used more effectively.
KLM’s zSeries machines are running on IBM’s z/OS operating system and DB2 database manager. Information in the mainframe is accessed through IBM’s user interface, Customer Information Control System (CICS).