Cloud Computing and the Travel Agent: Thomas Cook Signs 10-Year Deal with Accenture
Calling Thomas Cook a travel agent may be akin to calling the Taj Mahal a marble building, but its business depends on the same things as any business – responding rapidly to customer demand and minimizing costs while maximizing revenue. Taking this into consideration, it’s not surprising that Thomas Cook has decided to go on the cloud through its service provider Accenture.
England-based Thomas Cook Group plc is one of the world’s leading leisure travel groups with sales of £8.9 billion ($13.7 billion) and 22.5 million customers. It has 31,000 employees who work across six geographic segments in 21 countries around the world. Last month it signed a new ten-year contract with Accenture and a three-year extension to an existing ten-year deal, with both contracts relying on cloud-based technologies. Thomas Cook has stressed on agility in this new agreement, and cloud computing is well positioned to offer such benefits because of its scalability and optimization capability (See: Virtualization: The Virtual Way to Real-World Benefits ).
As per an official release, Accenture will design and implement “an agile IT infrastructure that integrates the company’s separate European IT structures into a single group organization…..which will draw on public and private cloud technologies to help transform IT operations, processes, methods and systems to provide a platform for the efficient growth of the business.”
Accenture will be partnered by Cisco and Lufthansa Systems on this contract. While Cisco will provide network infrastructure, Lufthansa Systems will be involved with IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) components (See: Cloud Computing For Dummies: SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and All That Was ).
“We are delighted to expand our collaboration with Accenture to leverage their world-class expertise and capabilities in transforming our IT operations by implementing new, lean technology that is ‘cloud enabled’”, said Gary Edwards, group CIO at Thomas Cook Group. “This will help Thomas Cook deliver significant savings, while creating the agility we need to respond to customer needs.”
“The Thomas Cook Group has recognized that to achieve high performance, it needs the right infrastructure at the right cost to support both current and future business needs,” said Clare Filby, senior executive in Accenture’s Travel Services practice. “This transformation program underpins Thomas Cook’s wider growth strategy, which supports the company’s focus on its core business of delivering the best travel and travel-related services.”
Cloud computing has made forays into several industries (healthcare, real estate, education, etc.) and branches of government; with this agreement, the travel industry may look on to this technology favorably.
By Sourya Biswas