Globally, the airlines industry is going through tough timesrising ATF
prices, dwindling passengers and higher operational costs are pushing airlines
across the world to cut costs.
Bill Maguire, CIO, Virgin America leads the development of a highly efficient
and flexible technology platform upon which sits the airlines low-cost,
high-value business strategy. His career was shaped during his 23 years with the
United States Postal Service, where he started in Field Operations in the
Washington D C, area and progressed to manage one of the agencys largest
computer operations data centres in North America. Excerpts
Can you talk about the airlines technology infrastructure?
As San Franciscos hometown airline, Virgin Americas brand-new planes offer
passengers interactive in-flight entertainment systems, plugs for laptops and
other portable electronic devices, the ability to order food or chat with other
guests from their own video-screen and a host of other features aimed at
bringing a little fun back to flying. Virgin Americas expansion plan is to be
in thirty cities within five years. I believe that Virgin Americas approach to
technological innovation will give the airline a competitive advantage, by
utilizing efficiencies to keep its cost structure low while enhancing the
customer experience. Virgin Americas strategy is to have an infrastructure
thats robust, scalable and flexible. Cybernet-Slash Support is a key
constituent of Virgins ecosystem of technology partners and has helped the
company with opex optimization solutions.
|Bill Maguire, CIO, Virgin America|
Being in the highly competitive airlines space, how critical is IT and
telecom to your company?
Our network is a key component to making everything work. We have a very diverse
infrastructure with many partners providing systems support, therefore making
the network invaluable for success.
What kind of a ticketing system do you have in place? Can you also talk
about the other IT applications deployed in the company?
We use the open source solution Scarab to track all tickets for any issue
that comes to IT. We also use this application for change management. This gives
us a Web-based solution for managing problems, changes and configurations. We
have an extensive list of applications to run the best. They include such
applications as AiRes (our reservation system), AIMS (our flight operations
systems), Great Plains (for finance), and the list goes on.
Can you talk about the networking architecture?
We have an MPLS provided by Verizon Business. And we have a frame relay as a
failover strategy and appropriate security. We have multiple layers of security.
Managing downtimes in IT is a big challenges for the CIOs todaydo you
Business groups tend to like applications to be available 24x7x365. The
reality is there are windows of time that can be negotiated for appropriate
changes and enhancements. This also permits the IT team to build an
infrastructure that is effective and cost-efficient. There are some applications
that need to be available 24×7 and you can achieve this through careful
planning. Metrics is a key to managing these objectives.
SLAs also play a key role in any IT deployment in your opinion what are
some of the best ways to manage SLAs?
We are very careful about negotiating SLAs. This includes appropriate
metrics that report performance on a monthly basis.