IBM fortifies integration in the airline industry

IBM is leveraging on its forte in integration to help players in the airline industry to stay competitive and productive, said Masaharu Kimura, vice-president of Asia Pacific's distribution sector for IBM Japan Ltd Thursday at a media briefing.

Many customers have disparate systems such as one for human resource and another for customer relationship management, said Kimura, adding that most of the time they are not well integrated.

It is easy to have SAP AG software, said Riz Rizavi, general manager of distribution sector, IBM Global Services, IBM Asia-Pacific Service Corp., also noting that, hundreds of man-hours are spent in customizing and integrating the software to existing systems.

Integration is usually a big problem for the airline industry especially when it comes to executing the maintenance repair overhaul (MRO) process that involves multiple software packages. At present, many airline firms are looking into adopting new or better-integrated MRO systems, said Rizavi. "They (airline firms) need to have the right parts at the right place," he added. Safety is a concern and, according to Rizavi, if an aircraft is stalled, it means "no money" for its operator.

Right now, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd is showing an interest toward implementing a MRO system, said Rizavi, adding that IBM is in the midst of helping Japan Airlines and Singapore Airlines in rolling out new MRO systems.

IBM is expected to launch on September 16 a new suite of products, known as the Secure Identity Solution. It consists of a smart card which stores photos, birth dates, identification numbers, passwords, and biometrics such as fingerprints and retinal scans, a smart card maker and reader, and a fingerprint reader.

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