Lufthansa signs £800m IBM outsourcing deal

Ryanair is trialing the use of in-flight mobiles

Lufthansa today signed an 800 million outsourcing contract for IBM to provide its entire IT infrastructure.

The seven-year deal will see IBM improve IT efficiency for the German airline and save an annual 55 million, according to the tech giant.

The optimised infrastructure will help Lufthansa accelerate its move to cloud computing and big data analytics, it added, suggesting the airline could use IBM's own Watson-based analytics services.

It will also gradually incorporate business analytics solutions with mobile computing and social business tools to boost employee productivity and create new customer services.

Lufthansa CFO Simone Menne said: "Outsourcing the IT infrastructure to IBM will strengthen the competitiveness of the Lufthansa Group as a whole. The transformation plan will directly improve our cost base.

"Together with IBM we will have access to the latest IT technologies, not only to lower our cost but also to continue digitalising our business processes in order to increase efficiency and customer focus."

However, the deal is still subject to approval from the Lufthansa Supervisory Board and antitrust authorities.

If approval is granted, IBM will start by implementing collaboration and messaging tools for staff as well as new network and voice services.

It will then deploy its MobileFirst device management framework to help Lufthansa provision, secure and manage mobile devices and apps.

The tech industry veteran wil also manage Lufthansa's datacentre operations, help desk and printer services.

Around 1,400 Lufthansa staff will transfer to IBM under the deal, and IBM will begin delivering infrastructure services from April next year.

Martina Koederitz, general manager of IBM Germany, said: "The agreement provides Lufthansa constant access to IBM research and development. This will enable Lufthansa to incorporate the latest technology and innovation into the Lufthansa IT infrastructure, including strategic areas such as cloud computing, big data analytics or cognitive computing systems like Watson."