Cloud Computing at EasyJet 25/08/2015 Also the company did not want to invest much in the IT infrastructure and make it more complex in nature (http://corporate.easyjet.com, 2015).
Brief Company background
Discussion of business problem
High level solution
Benefits of solving the problem
Business process changes
Technology or business practices used to augment the solution
Conclusions and overall recommendations
High-level implementation plan
EasyJet, a Luton-based low cost airline in the UK has managed to create differentiation from other low cost airlines through the introduction of a new system of seat booking. The move brought in a new era in the otherwise traditional synonymous seat allotment problems due to the free seating arrangements on the flights of the airline.
The airline used a cloud-based computing service system called Windows Azure to Power its new seat booking system. The system has cloud services and a SQL Database. The company chose to use Azure which cloud application platform developed by Microsoft. The could computing services introduced in the airline helped the low cost carrier to engage in cost-effective, scalable and agile seat booking and seat allotment function hat made use of the Microsoft's global network of datacenters.
The problem was solved by the cloud computing services by the tracking of the tens of millions of seats EasyJet that were available at any given point in time through partitioned SQL databases. This helped the airline to solve its seat allotment problem.
The adaption of the technology by the airline helped the airline to implement an incredibly significant change in the operational manner of the carrier and enabled the company to sell their seats on a massive scale without the need for implementing either much money or resources.
Brief Company background
EasyJet is the largest airline in the United Kingdom and the fourth-largest carrier airline network of Europe and is based in Luton, England. Selling 61 million tickets on an annual basis, the airline operates in more than 685 routes. The airline operates in more than 30 countries with a total number of aircrafts of more than 200 Airbus aircraft. The 8,000 odd employees of the company include 2,000 pilots and 4 more than 4,500 cabin crew (http://corporate.easyjet.com, 2015).
The company has grown from a small time airline to the largest of Britain through a series of acquisitions since the company entered into a phase of rapid growth. Fueled by consumer demand for low-cost air travel, the company also expanded through base openings. The company primarily owns and operates Airbus A319. There are 24 bases of the carrier in Europe with the largest base situated in Gatwick. It is viewed as the second largest low cost aircraft carrier in Europe in terms of the number of passengers ferried by the carrier in 2014 (Corporate.easyjet.com, 2015).
Discussion of business problem
EasyJet ferries a lot of people every year. Hence presumably there was demand of the low cost seats of the airlines. The wide range of geographic locations that the airline serviced in Europe also made it a favorite among low cost fliers.
But the company faced a huge problem due to this demand for tickets and seats. One of the major problems was the slowing down of the reservation system at the airport as thousands of people lined up every day at the physical counters to have information about the seats that were available. This had dramatically slowed down the entire reservation system of the airline and reduced its sale of seats.
Moreover there was a lot of confusion within the airline about seat sharing and seat allocation. The internal servers were often over loaded with information demand and sometimes malfunctioned bringing the entire airline operations to a halt (Microsoft.com, 2015).
The long queues of customers at the airport lounges and at the airport ticket counters were a problem. The list of unsatisfied customers were growing as it progressively took longer time to acquire the relevant information for the customers due to over loading of the system this was also affecting the other online and intranet services of the airlines and often threatened to throw the schedule of the airline off line.
These were the problems that the company was facing primarily emerging out of the rise in demand for the airline tickets.
High level solution
Having faced with the above mentioned problems in terms of its online and intranet infrastructure, the airline aimed to improve the ...
The company intended to provide all the information that the customers wanted to know about the availability of the seats and the price of seats as well as book tickets for flights more easily and through a manner that would not increase the cost burden on the company nor increase the server load of the company.
The company intended to use technology to offer new product and service features to the customers. Such offers included the likes of the ability for customers to choose their own seats. This was one of the priorities for the company and looked to unique and original solution for the problem (Microsoft.com, 2015).
The team for the upkeep and update of its IT infrastructure had been managed by a lean team of IT professionals at EasyJet. Most of its IT services were outsourced. Therefore the company was on the lookout for a platform of delivery of the services that would be both affordable as well as easy to handle and manage. Also the keeping in mind the future expansion plans of the company airline, the company wanted the platform to be highly scalable also.
While the company was on the lookout for an affordable solution for the problem, it also considered the idea of deployment of the seat selection and allocation solution for the customers on the same platform that the company used to seat reservations at the brick and mortar counters and over the internet. But the idea was soon discarded as the company realized that this would make the existing IT system very complex and would involve expending a lot of money given that the company had to build up two data centers for the new, high-availability infrastructure. It was also considered to be too time consuming and riddled with potentials for work overload and failures and there were questions raised about the potential scalability of the system. therefroe the company was looking for a better and more sophisticated technology to allow the system to be implemented without affecting its existing IT systems and a solution that would cost significantly less (Sosinsky, 2011).
The solution that the company managed to find out was adopting the cloud computing system. The cloud computing system is a form of strong information and data outside of the main server of the company and analyzing the data outside the server. The analyzed data is transferred to the company server thus reducing load on the server and reducing costs and over head expenses as well as simplifying the managing of the IT system.
Benefits of solving the problem
There were several obvious and several potential benefits of solving the problem. The first among them was the implementation of the new system would enable the airline to get market leverage and surge ahead from its competitors in terms of customer satisfaction and uniqueness. The offering of self-choice of seats to the customer from the comfort of their homes is a definite first market move and a sure shot hit with the customers.
Implementing the new system of IT would enable the company to become more flexible in terms of the seat allocation and reservations queries. The infrastructure would become more expandable and scalable which would allow the company to plan for the long-term expansion and sustainability. With a highly scalable seat choice and allocation system, the company would be able to expand and add more seats to the flights and yet not invest anything more in terms of employees or IT infrastructure (Rountree & Castrillo, 2014).
The ease of selecting one's own seat is a matter of convenience. However more importantly it is a time saver as well as the application and the new IT technology would reduce the time-to-market. Passengers would be able to view the available seats, choose the seats available and make the purchase in very short time. Therefore the time gap between knowing the seat availability and the actual purchase is reduced adding to business.
The ambitious project also helped the company to reduce on development costs for two new platforms and risking the over loading of the existing reservation system. The management of the new platform would be simple and easy which simplifies the entire system of seat allocation in the airline. Ultimately the airline would be able to ensure that the customers walk out satisfied and contended which is one of the sure-shot ways of increasing business and reputation and in creating a loyal band of customers…
Also the company did not want to invest much in the IT infrastructure and make it more complex in nature (http://corporate.easyjet.com, 2015).
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