IBM Helping Riyadh Air Get into the Skies in 2025 with Digital Tech

IBM Helping Riyadh Air Get into the Skies in 2025 with Digital Tech

The News: Riyadh Air has signed a collaboration deal with IBM Consulting to design, build, and implement a complete, digitally native, hybrid cloud-based technology infrastructure that will allow the fledgling airline to launch its first flights into the skies in 2025. The latest deal follows an earlier contract between the companies that is creating the new airline’s overall technology strategy. Read the full press release on the IBM Newsroom website.

IBM Helping Riyadh Air Get into the Skies in 2025 with Digital Tech

Analyst Take: It is not every day that a new airline starts up, so to me, this development is a very big deal. IBM Consulting is beginning work to help Riyadh Air figure out the applications and technologies that will be needed to get flights into the air and operating smoothly in 2025.

Imagining all the complexities of an airline, it will be some kind of feat as IBM and its partners work to bring this technology design and buildout to a perfect landing for Riyadh Air in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The deal, for which no price tag was announced, calls for IBM Consulting to be the lead systems integrator to support the creation, development, and orchestration of a start-to-finish digital technology implementation for the nascent airline. This implementation will include addressing more than 50 core airline technology requirements such as security, infrastructure, integration and data platforms, and other applications – all using an approach that focuses on hybrid cloud and AI tools and expertise.

Under the deal, IBM Consulting will also lead and work with more than 40 partner vendors by providing program and technical governance, project management, quality assurance, and change and communications management and training for the project.

I find this massive effort tremendously exciting due to the unique nature of this contract because the startup of a new airline is so rare. It will provide a blank canvas that will allow us all to watch how IBM and its partners will paint this digital technology landscape and show off all the tools and innovations it will use to help Riyadh Air get off to a well-oiled start.

What Is Needed to Get Riyadh Air Into the Skies

Airlines have unique requirements that IBM and its partners will have to bring together here. There are the fleets of jets and their critical maintenance and service needs, from technicians to parts ordering, repair and maintenance schedules, and continuing training and monitoring. There are the flight crews from pilots to first officers, flight attendants, pursers, and gate crews. There is passenger ticketing, customer service, baggage handling, food services, flight routing, and regulatory tracking and compliance and the fleets of service trucks, fuel trucks, anti-icing trucks, and more. It takes a lot of fast-moving parts to build and operate a global airline today.

Airlines are like their own small cities, centered around people and machines and schedules and making order out of the constant chaos. That will be the challenge for IBM Consulting and its partners as its team analyzes what Riyadh Air needs as it approaches its first flights to destinations around the world. I believe, however, that IBM Consulting is up to the task, as evidenced by its long track record of bringing top-tier advice, technologies, and expertise to business clients around the world for decades. I think this implementation will be a big stage for IBM to show off its star power as this new airline readies itself for operations in 2025. It will be a fascinating technology ballet to watch as it all comes together.

Overview: What IBM Will Provide for Riyadh Air

A major part of IBM Consulting’s role in establishing Riyadh Air’s technology structure will be the creation, management, and maintenance of what will be the airline’s hybrid cloud integration platform, using IBM Cloud Pak for Integration and Red Hat OpenShift. IBM Cloud Pak for Integration is a hybrid platform that uses closed-loop AI automation to bring together broad integration tools that can connect applications and data across any cloud or on-premises environment. Red Hat OpenShift is a Kubernetes-powered, hybrid cloud application platform that makes it easier to develop, modernize, deploy, run, and manage applications across public cloud, on-premises, hybrid cloud, or edge architecture.

Both products will be used to integrate the airline’s applications and data, creating a unified and easy-to-use experience for Riyadh Air employees, according to IBM. In delivering these technologies and architectures for Riyadh Air, IBM Consulting will also bring together IBM’s broad technology suites and products, including AI, hybrid cloud, software, hardware, services, and expertise, to meet the growing demands of the new airline.

This work is off to a good start by building on the original arrangement between IBM Consulting and Riyadh Air that laid out the new airline’s overall digitally native technology strategy.

Also being integrated, according to the airline, are the latest digital features that aim to bring the best in customer service, innovations, and travel experiences to passengers using AI and other powerful tools. This functionality is being designed to enable what the airline calls “digital innovation at every guest touchpoint” in their travels. It will also include using this technology base to provide and empower Riyadh Air employees with fast data-driven insights and new ways of working to help them better serve their guests from around the world.

In my view, this collaboration is an exciting next step to bring Riyadh Air to life as IBM Consulting gets to work with its partners to make the airline’s vision a reality. I expect there will be many lessons learned as this massive project moves forward and that new digital concepts will surface that can be used in other industries as well. It will be fascinating to watch these plans come to fruition as what could be a new level of service for the world’s air carriers is built from the ground up.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

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