BA’s key achievement in the last 12 months is its continued success in the online space, according to Paul Coby, BA’s CIO. “It has been a huge success, moving from niche to mainstream in a very short time. Around 60 per cent of check-ins are done using self-service now in terminal four.”

The emphasis for the year ahead is on making sure that Terminal Five (T5) is ready for business next year. Many of the new systems like the resource allocation planning system are already in. “Making all the business and system changes in advance is important,” says Coby. “You don’t want a new building and a new system bedding down at the same time.”

Other achievements include the introduction of SAP for maintenance and resource management in engineering, which is having big benefits in terms of costs and control of the process and approach. At an internal level employee self-service has been a great success, with 100 per cent of staff now paid online. “This is from cabin crew, pilots to all our industrialised workforces. It is quite an achievement to have everyone using it,” says Coby.

He says the BA IT function has worked hard on improving its capability for processing change using lean methodology.

“This actually works very well in the airline industry because it is at heart a flow business. Passengers, bags, cargo and so on all work in a flow. We are working to get rid of the pinch points. What has been really important is getting this information from the people who really know about it – the staff there. The lean methodology empowers them. It is very important that we put up and learn from them.”

The engineering department is also doing valuable work using this methodology. One example is life raft refurbishment, where refurbish time has been cut from 14 days to two hours.

“We are getting people actively involved and the enthusiasm is coming from them,” comments Coby. “We are developing expertise and allowing them to develop their own ideas in a controlled environment. Of course, this also means us in the IT department also taking our own medicine. PC delivery is a good example, where a better process has come from lean techniques. IT really is the centre of the business, so we have to make sure we deliver too.”

“IT is really the centre of the business, so we have to make sure we deliver”
– Paul Coby, CIO, BA