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AGS Airports outsources IT support to focus on innovation

AGS signs five-year deal with Getronics after leaving Heathrow Holdings

Airplane parked at gate at airport at sunset

AGS Airports has outsourced IT support to allow its internal technology team to focus on streamlining the business, following its split from Heathrow Holdings last year. 

AGS, which covers Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, has struck a five-year deal with outsourcer Getronics to manage all its IT support now it is an independent company.

Its new owners, Ferrovial and Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, decided to converge the three airports' IT systems into one central managed infrastructure, picking an outsourcer to lessen the burden on its IT team of just eight people across the three airports.

Around 13 million customers used the airports last year, and head of IT Chris Tames said it was crucial to find an outsource partner who could manage the transition quickly, without disrupting the airports' day-to-day activities.

After starting the tender early in 2015, AGS awarded the contract to Getronics over Heathrow incumbent Capgemini in August.

Tames told IT Pro that Getronics' ability to provide a local support base just three miles away from Glasgow Airport's runway was preferable to Capgemini's offshore support offering.

"We are a much smaller organisation than Heathrow, and Getronics is a similar company and is a better fit for us," he said. "We can get to know the people more, whereas with Capgemini it was an offshore service desk and offshore database support.

"We were keen as part of that service tender to bring the service desk on-shore and there's [support] at the other side of our runway three miles away."

Getronics brought an IT service desk online for all three airports on 17 December, and AGS said that end user satisfaction is improving as a result.

Tames added that the company has also proved easy to work with, saying: "No issue has been too much hassle and they bend over backwards."

The next stage will see AGS shift its networking systems to Getronics by the middle of February.

Tames said: "For us it's about making sure the business of keeping the lights on is taken care of so we can better provide service enhancements and look at projects for how IT can help streamline the business.

"I don't have to worry about the hardware infrastructure to take care of, which frees us up to focus on the operational side of it."

Innovation

Tames and his team are now turning their focus to innovative projects, looking at analytics and data integration to make the airports run more efficiently.

"There's a number of areas around the business we are looking at where we can help efficiency, from the check-in process to developing operations with better information provided to people at the right time," said Tames.

"We are trying to achieve overall efficiency through an innovative use of technology. It's about how to streamline things,  how we can make better use of integrating the data from disparate systems from across the terminals and to help better manage operations."

Cloud will also play a role, with AGS Airports' ERP system already delivered as a virtualised service (which Getronics supports through a service desk function), and AGS using HP Enterprise's BladeSystem c7000 converged system to support cloud workloads.

Tames said: "It's becoming a much more virtual world. There's a lot more SaaS solutions than we have had previously and that takes away a burden from providing infrastructure to providing a service to the business."

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