The world of corporate and business travel – and specifically the tools and systems used to enhance efficiencies and drive cost control – is constantly growing, developing, and adapting. Improvements happen on a daily basis, and TravelIT is the forerunner in the field. With over 2 000 corporate and governmental customers who collectively employ more than half a million people, TravelIT is the largest player in the corporate travel management platform game in South Africa.
WHAT WE DID
Cloud Adoption, Monitoring
But what does this actually mean?
“Our corporate travel technology system makes it easy for big organisations to manage all their travel needs themselves in a single place,” explains Barry Painting, the group’s CIO. This includes their flight, car, hotel, transfer, forex, and more in a single online booking platform. “By putting the widest choice of travel options directly in the customer’s hands, we give the customer the power of choice and ensure significant travel savings, all the while ensuring that corporate policies are followed.”
While TravelIT prides itself on the seamless user experience, ensuring that this happens means having the correct people – and doing a lot of heavy IT lifting. TravelIT integrates into each client’s ERP system and creates a profile for every employee. This information includes loyalty programme details, dietary requirements, booking thresholds (for example, can the employee travel in business class? How much can they spend on a hotel room?) and, most importantly, personal information subject to POPIA and GDPR requirements.
“This is the most sensitive information we have,” says Painting matter-of-factly. It goes without saying that security is a massive deal for the company. “When tendering for government and corporate client business, there’s a very stringent set of security requirements that an organisation needs to adhere to. We need to prove that we have a multi-layered security framework that protects our customers’ data,” he explains. “We chose Microsoft Azure partly because of all its advanced security features.”
BUI makes the big move to Microsoft Azure easy
Since its inception in 2012, TravelIT has always been a “Microsoft Shop” developing its application using Microsoft products. Notwithstanding, in 2019, it decided to move all of its operations to Microsoft Azure for the additional layers of security this platform provides. “We wanted to give peace of mind to our customers – existing and prospective,” says Painting. “And it doesn’t get more reassuring than Microsoft Azure.”
With two dozen in-house developers, TravelIT has some serious tech credentials and is therefore able to identify the best partners to assist with all aspects of infrastructure development as and when required. When it came to shifting its systems to Azure, TravelIT wasted no time in reaching out to BUI. “Our developers need to focus on building a world-class travel platform, and we wanted someone else to handle the infrastructure,” says Painting. “It was obvious that BUI had the credentials to get us where we needed to be.”
While TravelIT’s move to its new digital home is now complete (the migration took place in February 2020), there are still some metaphorical boxes in the hallway. In addition to the day-to-day duties of deployment, maintenance, and patching, BUI will also be helping TravelIT with an ongoing modernisation project that’s all about making the most out of the transition to Azure.
“Moving TravelIT to Azure was made easier by the way they had constructed their travel platform using existing Microsoft products,” explains BUI’s Cloud Solutions Architect, Johnson Sheng. “Completing the move to Azure will save TravelIT more money. And it will dramatically increase their resilience, redundancy and efficiency.” Of course, this is all easier said than done. Which is why the modernisation project has been split into three phases:
- First, BUI will assist in moving all web servers to Azure Web Apps.
- Next, BUI will help the firm to transition to running Microsoft SQL as a service rather than a VM.
- And finally, BUI and TravelIT will together embark upon migrating the Microsoft Biztalk application to Logic and Function Apps.
”This last phase of the project has, in Painting’s words, “the most exciting potential for TravelIT to go serverless.” Becoming a true cloud company running on Microsoft Azure – with all its savings in cost, scalability and efficiency – will more than justify the effort required to get there.Barry PaintingTravelIT Group CIO
A Trusted Partner
While Painting has no illusions that TravelIT has its work cut out to achieve this, he’s convinced that with BUI on board it will be able to pull it off. “It’s a huge comfort to know that BUI and Microsoft have such a close relationship,” he says. “We’re now able to interact directly with Microsoft in Seattle. Before, we were guessing or using the internet to try and resolve any issues ourselves.”
For his part, Sheng, also values the relationship. “We obviously have plenty of experience with Azure. But you learn something new on every project.” The strength of the partnership is evident in the benefits provided to clients. Customers enjoy a seamless end-to-end booking experience and the peace of mind that their data and information is safe and secure from breaches.