Thomas Cook taps IBM for IT platform

Thomas Cook AG and IBM are signing a contract to develop a new IT platform that will enable the tour operator to respond faster to market demand.

Part of Thomas Cook’s GLOBE project, IBM will be responsible for integrating the new production platform into the existing system landscape. The software for the new tour operator system is supplied by BlueSky Travel Systems of Manchester, England, who have extensive experience in developing dynamic packaging systems. The integration layer of the new platform will be built with IBM’s Websphere.

“GLOBE is a key initiative for Thomas Cook AG’s strategic realignment as we adopt an international approach to our IT strategy,” said Ralf Teckentrup, Thomas Cook AG director in charge of Group IT. “The new technology will enable us to align our production processes more closely to our customers’ evolving booking behavior, and we will be able to respond faster and more flexibly to our customers’ wishes.”

Reinhard Eschbach, Chief Information Officer, Thomas Cook AG, and GLOBE project manager, said, “With GLOBE we will be a match for the challenges of the future. We aim to combine tried and trusted old ideas and innovative new ideas to create an IT infrastructure that simplifies and speeds up workflows. We are delighted to have powerful partners such as IBM and Lufthansa Systems by our side to ensure technical support.”

Thomas Cook AG’s GLOBE project represents an entirely new international IT strategy. Its objective is to develop a uniform production platform for all of the Thomas Cook AG travel operator brands. Taking changes in customer behavior into account, the company’s goal is to improve efficiency and flexibility. Using GLOBE, each travel package can be put together and priced individually at the time of the inquiry.

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“With greater flexibility and open standards, the benefits for both travelers and Thomas Cook are significant in an industry being driven to reduce costs and increase service,” says Matthias Hartmann, head of consulting, IBM Global Business Services Germany. “By giving customers a variety of options and greater efficiencies, Thomas Cook is re-building at the core of its business.”

GLOBE is likely to be ready to be deployed in the second half of 2007 at a Thomas Cook AG company in the UK. The Thomas Cook AG Supervisory Board has approved nearly EUR 100 million to implement GLOBE
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