Revamped Air New Zealand sticks with IBM

Revamped Air New Zealand sticks with IBM

IBM's Global Services division is emerging as the winner as Air New Zealand consolidates IT suppliers in the wake of its financial woes.

The airline originally went with Big Blue because Ansett Australia, in which it held a large stake, used IBM mainframe, midrange and PC gear. Now, as Air New Zealand moves to whittle down its IT supplier list, it is de-coupling its systems from Ansett but has kept IBM on throughout.

Air New Zealand spokesman Cameron Hill says the airline is working with the Ansett administrator to separate the two systems and is looking at a new IT structure and reviewing its application needs.

Hill confirms the process will involve job losses among the airline's 200 permanent IT staff, as it looks to cull 10 per cent of its 8,000 employees.

IBM recently picked up the airline's IT firewall business and also benefitted when in October Air New Zealand moved early to exercise an exit clause in its midrange outsourcing contract with Fujitsu, moving the business to IBM Global Services.

Earlier in the year the airline also outsourced its mainframe management to IBM and decided to gradually replace its Compaq PCs with IBM machines. However, it has stayed with systems integrator Gen-i for the outsourcing of its desktop management.

Gen-i had been expecting a bullish year on the back of the integration of Air New Zealand's and Ansett's systems. It had been more than halfway through switching Ansett's 7,000 desktop PCs from IBM's Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange when Ansett collapsed. However, it is continuing to provide support for Ansett while it is under administration.

Hill says Air New Zealand is looking at all areas of its business and its IT strategy is part of that.

"The business plan is aimed at stabilising the business, reducing debt and financial risk and creating a platform to return to sustainable profitability in the medium term.

"Prior to Ansett being put under voluntary administration, the focus from an IT perspective was to integrate the infrastructure across the group, become one organisation (from an IT people perspective) and to look at IT applications that could be used across the group. Post-Ansett, all these plans have obviously had to be reviewed."

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