“Before, we used to have to send out disks over our internal mail system and spend weeks ringing people to say, 'Have you got that disk yet?' Now with RemoteWare it's a whole different world.”
Airtours has been arranging vacations for over 20 years and serves nearly 4 million customers to over sixty destinations every year. Airtours deployed RemoteWare to gain control over the business process. The solution provided everything it wanted-systems management software that could not only bring control back to headquarters, but could simplify employee’s jobs and cut costs at the same time.
- The Sybase solution allows Airtours to set up all jobs in advance by giving employees easy access to customer systems.
- Automates scheduling and confirming processes
- Cuts communications spending by nearly 60%
- Connects each remote system so data is readily available
- Business Services
"It Was Marvelous. We Thought We'd Found a Miracle."
That's how Mark Hallam, systems engineer at Airtours, describes how he and his colleagues felt when they first saw RemoteWare systems management software. "It was obvious straight away that it was going to cut down our costs enormously," he said. He was right. RemoteWare has enabled the top travel firms to cut communications spending by nearly 60 percent.
Successful Answers to Very Specific Problems
What made Airtours' project so successful? According to Hallam, the company had some very specific problems to solve, and Remoteware tackled them all. "Historically, we had our remote communications technology supplied by a third party, but while we had no problem delivering files to our e-mail service, the resorts had a lot of trouble actually picking them up at the other end," he said. "Places like Greece and Gambia, where the telecommunications networks are really poor, were especially troublesome. It would take 10 minutes to send files containing booking details to the resort, and then take eight hours for them to pick them up after multiple tries."
That meant the company had to pay two sets of communications charges. One to send the files in the first place, and the second – by far the more expensive of the two – for the resort staff to actually log in and pick up the files each day.
Bringing Control Back to HQ
This created problems for Hallam. "The situation obviously wasn't satisfactory. We had little control over the process and it was expensive, so we started looking for an alternative," he said. In stepped Intellinet, an iAnywhere premier solution provider.
Paul Clayton, who was the team leader for Airtours' overseas projects at the time, met with Intellinet, and together they set up a trial system on a single server. Clayton and Hallam were astounded. In front of them was everything they wanted: systems management software that could not only bring control back to headquarters, but could simplify their jobs and cut costs at the same time. For the trial, Clayton decided to roll out sample software to the company's second largest and most troublesome resorts.
A Rapid Process
Airtours scheduled a full rollout at the beginning of the following year. "We went straight in, starting with the Canaries and the Balearics. Once that had been done and had been working for a month, we rolled it out to all the rest, so it was a fairly rapid process," says Hallam. During the changeover period, Airtours ran both networks in parallel until it had RemoteWare handling all the data. To achieve that, the U.K. systems had to be modified. Sybase iAnywhere ran the trials and then copied the data to the old system, leading to an overall start-to-finish time of six months. "There weren't any major headaches, the only real problems we had were logistical ones contacting the resorts to actually schedule in the software changes," Hallam said.
Continues Hallam, "It also covers the property contractors who go out to these countries and handle deals for new and existing properties using RemoteWare on their notebooks. Although the initial purpose of the roll-out was to connect the resorts to the head office for file transfers, and that hasn't changed, we have now expanded the network to include our bonded warehouses and caterers so we can supply detailed data to them as well. Overall, we have 65-70 resort offices and 30-40 bonded warehouses and caterers, plus another 20- 30 property contractors on the system."
"A Whole Different World"
"As far as I'm concerned, the two most useful features of the product are that we can set up all the jobs in advance really easily and we can get into people's systems without disturbing them." Hallam claims this is a real help because he doesn't have to schedule updates. This is especially important when doing software releases because he can set it to download and it does it without them knowing. "Before, we used to have to send out disks over our internal mail system and spend weeks ringing people to say, 'Have you got that disk yet?'" said Hallam. "Now with RemoteWare it's a whole different world."