Cloud Computing

How American Airlines is Innovating Customer Travel with IBM Cloud

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As the world’s largest airline, American Airlines is committed to providing an exceptional experience for our customers and team members based on industry expertise and innovation. That means we must continuously modernize and transform our business by developing the right tools and technology along the way.

Technology was the foundation of American’s relationship with IBM when in the 1950’s we worked together to develop the first electronic reservation and ticketing system in the industry. Today, technology touches every part of our business. Every customer logging onto aa.com, checking-in at our kiosks, or managing their day-of travel on our mobile app, is supported by an incredible amount of technology to give our customers and team members alike the services they need, exactly when and where they need them.

We began seriously considering cloud computing a couple of years ago using key guiding principles to help us choose our path. First, American is committed to open standards. We chose Cloud Foundry because they give us the ability to move our workloads around based on our needs, and without the extra burden of being locked into one provider or another. Second, security is a non-negotiable requirement in our cloud provider selection. Our partner needs to have not only robust security offerings, but deep experience in providing secure computing to all industries, especially government and federal institutions. Third, American’s first choice is to leverage public cloud for the scalability, cost and innovation benefits it brings. Then, if public isn’t a fit for a particular workload, we will look at other environments as necessary.

By leveraging the efficiencies of the cloud, American could be nimble enough to fully realize the benefits of the platform. We saw potential for huge, repeatable returns in increased productivity, agility, and responsiveness when the entire ecosystem was addressed, all of which are necessary for driving timely innovation. It also became clear that in order to achieve those returns, American needed a partner that took a broader approach to cloud innovation than just the platform.

After a very extensive search, American chose IBM as our strategic cloud partner, and we announced last year our intent to migrate some of our most critical enterprise applications to the cloud. IBM brings solid, scalable, secure public cloud infrastructure services, in addition to a robust application services marketplace. They are committed to open standards, and by selecting Cloud Foundry as their foundation, IBM gives us the flexibility we need to move our workloads at-will across our environments. IBM continues to make significant investments in their cloud architecture, and their next generation cloud computing roadmap is very exciting and validates we made the right cloud decision.

We also choose IBM as our strategic cloud partner for their long-standing history of helping enterprises transform their organizations to better leverage technology for rapid innovation. IBM is helping American address our organization and processes so that we can take full advantage of the productivity, speed and agility benefits of cloud computing. They are bringing forward content experts, tools and assets that may be used to enable our teams to quickly adopt and adapt to new, exciting ways of working together in the cloud. This includes leveraging IBM’s Garage Method, Design Thinking, DevOps, continuous delivery, agile methodology, squad / tribe models based in the Spotify method, paired programing and lean development.

American and IBM are partnering to migrate several of our critical enterprise applications including aa.com, our customer Mobile App and our Kiosk app from three distinct applications today into a single set of micro-services on IBM Cloud’s Platform as a Service.

Based on a partnership of innovation that started over a half a century ago, our journey to the cloud with IBM is another significant milestone in our long-standing relationship. American Airlines and IBM will work together, again, to bring solutions that delight our customers and bring important innovations to the airline industry.

Vice President, Customer Technology and Enterprise Architecture, American Airlines

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