British Airways (BA) is focusing on new technology investments after cutting £50m from its IT budget, and declaring that outsourcing is not an option for reducing costs.
Chief information officer Paul Coby explained that the difficult job of cutting staff has been largely completed. The company is now switching to reinvestment ready for a recovery in the beleaguered travel industry.
"I've taken 20 per cent off the IT cost, which is far faster than any outsider could. We need to focus on delivering things, not the turmoil of structural change," he said.
Investment in some projects, such as offshore software development in India, has been virtually halted, but Coby maintained that initiatives to deliver savings have been prioritised, such as an online purchasing system from Ariba.
He said that the business case for e-procurement is based on savings of "tens of millions of pounds".
"Consolidation, standardisation and simplification" are Coby's main objectives, which will mean reducing the hundreds of IT suppliers that BA uses.
"I'd like five strategic suppliers to sit down with and tell them our strategy and then, outside that, 10 significant suppliers and several tens of others," he said.
Other major rollouts underway at the airline include an Oracle human resources system that will offer employees online self-service functions, and SAP enterprise resource management applications.
BA has also redeveloped its website and introduced clustered servers to boost capacity, which has helped to increase the number of visitors, according to Coby.
"Since 11 September we have put significantly more volume through the website," he said. "We have seen volumes grow two and a half times since then and it is still going up at that rate, although we expect it to plateau in August."
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