Virgin Blue hands over the keys to Verizon

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Virgin Blue hands over the keys to Verizon

Outsources maintenance of core business applications.

Airline Virgin Blue, as foreshadowed by iTnews in March, has formally handed over business application support functions to outsourcing partner Verizon Business.

David Harvey, Virgin Blue's CIO, updated iTnews on the progress of the outsourcing deal today.

Harvey told iTnews both Virgin and Verizon have come to a "degree of comfort" post the formal hand over to Verizon this week.

"Obviously to start transitioning with these services, for us, it took a number of months. Back in March we had just handed over the keys and, I guess, we've just taken this time to become comfortable," Harvey said.

"This will be a progressive journey and the intent is, with all things going well, that we would start to move more of our infrastructure footprint across."

Harvey said Virgin outsourced not to save money but because it was finding it dificult to find skilled workers in the Australian market.

He does not expect any redundancies.

"If you take our application support team, particularly around Java applications, this time last year we had ten internal staff supporting those apps and modifying and enhancing them," he said. "We're now down to two with this external partner [Verizon]. We haven't reduced or put people on the street because of that, we've been able to re-deploy that development team into our delivery world so that they're working on new projects.

"Our long term strategy is that we want to have partners who can take the routine work away from our team so that [we are only] working on new projects that are adding more value to the business.

"Our [internal] infrastructure team are all about bringing on new applications, new systems, and new ports that we can then hand over to somebody who can run the business as usual," Harvey said.

Harvey added that working in a relationship with a managed services partner was a "new world" for Virgin Blue.

"You don't get an opportunity to stop the world and say that we should do everything completely different.  We've taken a slice [and we're] testing the water. So far it's made reasonably good sense," he said.

"We have progressed a long way in transitioning applications and expect by the end of this year we will have a similar announcement to the one we've made with Verizon."

Verizon Business will provide Virgin Blue with 24/7 monitoring of the airline's critical information systems, including key revenue management, engineering, aircraft-to-ground data transfers, back office communications and business productivity applications.

To date, the airline has outsourced its data centres, remote infrastructure management and applications support and some application development to third-party providers.

The Virgin Blue Group carries more than 18 million passengers annually to 42 destinations in 11 countries around the world.


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