Gordon Penfold, Chief Technology Officer, at British Airways, started off by telling us that not only is the Boeing 747 40 years old this year, but so is the IT that supports the 747. Having been early to the world of real-time processes, the technology is now facing end of life at the end of 2010, and it's time for a major change.
Gordon shared with the audience at the Progress Software Summit (#progressswsummit) that to get to a SOA-based infrastructure that will deliver the vision of a single real-time infrastructure linking retail, customer, operational and corporate data and processes has required significant technical and strategic change. BA needs to use their enterprise architecture to improve quality and minimise cost, directly affecting BA's objective of being a global airline of the highest quality and providing exceptional customer service. And the term "global" isn't some platitude in this case as BA has operations and staff distributed all over the world. As Gordon said, BA is a peripatetic company.
BA's ‘common architecture’ will ensure consistent implementation, enabling BA to run existing services and implement new ones effectively. SOA is Gordon’s preferred option. The aim is to reduce complexity and increase agility, introducing a plug-and-play capability that can also manage ‘heritage’ applications, created by the industry and service providers – all to support over 15 million transactions a day.
Progress is supporting the change at BA with its Sonic, Actional and DXSI products, and is working with Gordon’s team on a proof-of-concept for Savvion and on how Apama can support with interactions with partners and other airlines. At the half-way point in the implementation, BA is now live with its Progress powered Service Integration Platform, which links the business to IT processes in a controlled way.
Gordon made some kind remarks on working with Progress - the best-in-class products and the added value provided by the Progress people who worked at BA on site. All great to hear from a business with very real mission critical requirements.
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