IBM, Finnair Ink Five-Year Cloud Services Deal

IBM has won a five-and-a-half year contract to upgrade Finnair's IT infrastructure with a new hybrid cloud environment.

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IBM announced a new agreement with Finnair, Finland's largest airline, that will tap into IBM Cloud and Watson services to help the airline provide services like mobile on-flight services to its customers.

The five-and-a-half year agreement will also transform Finnair's current technology infrastructure into a flexible, hybrid cloud platform. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

IBM will serve as Finnair's IT services integrator by providing governance and support that will enable the multiple technology vendors serving the airline to operate in a more transparent manner. In this role, IBM will oversee vendor performance, drive service-quality improvements and promote airline industry best practices.

"For a network airline, operational excellence is a key success factor, and efficient IT services are a key enabler in this," said Kari Saarikoski, CIO at Finnair, in a statement. "IBM understands us, and has the airline industry expertise to help us achieve our goals. This services agreement and powerful new cloud infrastructure are at the heart of our plans to improve our operational efficiency and provide the foundation for new digital services to deliver a better experience to our customers."

Airlines are increasingly challenged to better manage costs, grow revenue and compete for customer loyalty. Digitalization, delivering a unique customer experience and achieving world-class operations are at the core of Finnair's growth strategy, and the company requires modern IT infrastructure and services to get there.

As part of the agreement, IBM will establish the new Finnair Cloud Platform to provide a foundation for the airline to support its growth initiatives. With the cloud platform, Finnair will reduce IT complexity, gain more flexibility to support dynamic business changes and lower costs by consolidating applications.

The Finnair Cloud Platform will integrate several operational and commercial services in a hybrid cloud environment to support Finnair's business goals. Finnair also will have access to IBM Watson Explorer capabilities to improve employee productivity by enabling agents to more quickly find responses to customer needs and intelligent, online self-help tools for employees to locate information.

"This partnership represents a significant opportunity for Finnair to restructure its IT capabilities and reduce the complexities associated with operating a large airline," said Tuomo Haukkovaara, managing executive of IBM Finland, in a statement. "IBM Cloud serves as the foundation for compelling new services for customers and will help Finnair accelerate revenue growth while lowering IT costs."

Meanwhile, IBM also recently signed a five-year $450 million agreement with ANZ, one of Australia and New Zealand's leading banks, to overhaul the bank's IT infrastructure.

The agreement includes access to IBM's vast software portfolio, an Innovation Lab, next-generation cloud development capabilities and core systems infrastructure. The IBM agreement will provide common platforms across ANZ's network as it attempts to grow as a super-regional bank and will enable the bank to deliver a more integrated banking experience for digital customers.

The Innovation Lab is an essential pillar of the strategic agreement. A co-investment between ANZ and IBM, the lab will enable ANZ to increase productivity, deliver new products and services to market quickly, and improve the customer experience.

The Innovation Lab is powered by Bluemix, IBM's cloud development platform-as-a-service, and will enable the bank's developers to build, test and deploy new applications and services at a fraction of the time and cost previously taken.

IBM also will deploy its newest z13 mainframe and POWER8 infrastructure as part of ANZ's private cloud environment.