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Flight Centre primes for post pandemic growth

Travel leader signs five-year strategic partnership with Microsoft, selects Azure and Microsoft 365 as preferred clouds

Microsoft is pleased to announce that it has signed a five-year strategic partnership with global travel industry leader, Flight Centre Travel Group, supporting its major international digital transformation. With Microsoft Azure now Flight Centre’s preferred cloud, it will move most workloads to Azure, and standardise globally on Microsoft 365.

While the company has been profoundly impacted by the border closures that governments globally have implemented during the pandemic, its determination to digitally transform despite adversity is delivering significant operational efficiencies and streamlining the business, priming it for rapid recovery and global growth when restrictions are lifted.

By partnering with Microsoft it has been able to achieve its broader strategic objectives of reining in operational costs and streamlining operations internationally, while continuing to invest in future growth drivers.

Chris Locke, Global Head of Technology, Flight Centre

Working together with systems integrator and Microsoft partner NTT, Microsoft in just five months developed a transformation strategy in partnership with Flight Centre to leverage Azure and deploy globally streamlined digital foundations that ensure exceptional customer experiences, as well as establish the capacity for rapid and secure growth as soon as demand for corporate and leisure travel returns.

According to Chris Locke, Global Head of Technology, Flight Centre Travel Group; “COVID-19 has profoundly affected our business and the industry as a whole. As the crisis unfolded, we moved quickly to streamline our operations and reduce costs, which led to us fast-tracking our transformation plans and reimagining the way we operate as a global business.

Microsoft’s Connected Cloud will play a key role in our plans to reset and rebuild the business, and also create a digital runway that will allow us to embrace new technologies rapidly in order to continue to deliver exceptional customer experiences as well as impressive operational efficiencies.

Previously, Flight Centre wrangled a fragmented technology portfolio with multiple systems and different legacy platforms in use around the world. It is now in the process of consolidating disparate solutions, including Google, to standardise on Microsoft 365, which has been strategically named as the company’s preferred productivity platform worldwide.

This allows Flight Centre personnel working across the group to collaborate and communicate more effectively regardless of location. As part of this transformation Flight Centre will also switch from Zoom to Microsoft Teams for internal communications and collaboration.

Steven Worrall, CVP Microsoft Australia

Flight Centre is also running a series of Proofs of Concept using Windows Virtual Desktop designed to help expedite the transition of a series of applications off AWS infrastructure and into Azure, which is Flight Centre’s preferred cloud for the future.

Steven Worrall, Managing Director, Microsoft Australia said; “Flight Centre is one of the world’s leading travel brands. We have been proud to partner with the company and work alongside NTT on this important digital transformation program that responds to current constrained conditions – but has the future firmly in its sights.

There’s an old adage – ‘never waste a crisis’ – and Flight Centre certainly has not, instead it’s positioned itself to reimagine what its business will look like in the future, and how it will engage with customers, suppliers and employees. With strong digital foundations deployed globally the company is set up for enduring success.

Cloud paves way for growth

While the pandemic halted almost all travel, both national and international, Flight Centre’s people have remained extraordinarily busy, managing more than $1 billion worth of travel refunds on behalf of customers in Australia alone, in addition to helping thousands of other customers rearrange their travel plans.

The scalability, elasticity and global reach of the Azure cloud mean that Flight Centre’s new global digital platform will grow in lockstep as travel returns and as more Flight Centre people return to work.

Flight Centre will also enhance its security thanks to its global Microsoft 365 advanced security workloads which deliver additional protection to safeguard the business and protect customers from future threats.

Working with NTT the company is deploying Microsoft 365, which alongside its Dynamics 365 capability in the leisure, business and finance units, delivers a rich omni channel experience.

Ed Phillips, General Manager Intelligent Workplace, NTT said; “We have worked as a systems integrator with Flight Centre for some years. The pandemic required the company to streamline its operations, while also priming the business to return to growth mode as soon as possible.

“Flight Centre’s streamlined global platform has been designed with that at its core, and it will continue to evolve. Flight Centre is already exploring how it might be able to use the Microsoft Power Platform to automate a number of processes and use other advanced technologies in order to hyper personalise customer service and offers ensuring it remains the travel agency of choice.”

About Flight Centre

Flight Centre Travel Group is one of the world’s largest travel agency groups, with leisure, corporate and wholesale businesses around the world

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

About NTT

NTT is a global technology services company focussed on delivering intelligent technology solutions that are data driven and secure.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Rudolf Wagenaar, Commercial Communications Lead, Microsoft Australia

Email: [email protected]

Mobile: 043 908 2550