New Zealand's national airline, Air New Zealand, has decided to migrate their main websites to the SilverStripe platform. Website developers and other IT staff at the airline will work closely with SilverStripe's senior staff to make this happen over the coming 12 months.
We're very excited to be helping Air New Zealand because we love seeing them successfully innovate. We love their streamlined check-in and boarding procedure, the mPass application for the iPhone, and their How Far Can I Go website—and that they were the first airline to fly a 747 on biofuel (they have some awesome biofuel policies). We look forward to our software and our knowledge allowing them to innovate much more rapidly and meaningfully with their main websites.
We've discovered that Air New Zealand’s innovative approach flows through to their internal processes, too, and participating in Air New Zealand’s software procurement process has been an enjoyable experience. While most organisations procure software through an RFP or a tender, not many truly test the software as part of the process. For this project Air New Zealand combined traditional procurement practices with testing and prototyping, adding more rigour to their selection process:
- An internal Air New Zealand team downloaded and used our software. They created a prototype and did intensive research and testing on the actual code (using the CMS, making HTML templates, investigating the ease of customising the code, etc.).
- SilverStripe and Air New Zealand worked together to produce a small but important website. Doing business allowed both parties to get to know each other.
- SilverStripe were commissioned to demonstrate the feasibility of key deliverables during the procurement process. Sometimes this meant we wrote code and created partly-working prototypes and other times this meant investigation around architecture. This allowed Air New Zealand to better compare SilverStripe with their existing platform (Microsoft CMS 2002) and modern alternatives.
David Shepherd, Development Manager for Air New Zealand's Innovations and Ventures team and project manager for the migration project, confirms that Air New Zealand's requirements for a new CMS were that it should be:
- low cost
- only as complex as it needs to be
- locally supported (and, if possible, locally developed)
We're pleased that SilverStripe met Air New Zealand's requirements so well. We know that the Innovations team at Air New Zealand are no strangers to open source software and a LAMP-based solution like SilverStripe seems to be a good fit for them. Being open source, it will:
- allow meaningful contributions by a skilled internal (Air New Zealand) development team to the migration project
- allow greater transparency and control over the migration project
- allow new features and bug fixes to be contributed back to the core product, removing the risk of Air New Zealand becoming a software vendor themselves
- allow licensing costs to be replaced with labour, allowing more focus on usability, design, etc, both now and in future years
The open and flexible architecture of SilverStripe, its support for open standards, cross-browser compatibility, and object-oriented design will substantially reduce the risk of Air New Zealand being locked into a vendor's roadmap. Features like flexible HTML templating, multiple languages, multiple websites, and support to handle bursts of visitor traffic were considered must-haves by Air New Zealand, and SilverStripe's modular architecture will mean that functionality and complexity can be added by Air New Zealand as required.
The fact that all of the above could be delivered by a New Zealand company made SilverStripe Air New Zealand's preferred choice.
Air New Zealand has annual revenue of NZD4.9 billion, 11,000 staff, and carries over 13 million passengers per year (source). This makes them a very substantial user of our software, and one we're looking forward to supporting for years to come.
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