British Airways eyes up Indian IT suppliers

The company's CIO flies to Bangalore to kick the tyres at Infosys, TCS and Wipro.

British Airways is looking to extend the roster of Indian IT suppliers the airline uses for offshore software development work.

BA CIO Paul Coby is in talks with India's leading IT suppliers as part of a review of the airline's contracts for offshore work.

BA currently has two framework agreements for software development work with Indian firms NIIT and TCS but with these up for renewal before the end of the year the airline is looking to cast its net wider.

silicon.com this week met up with Coby on his fact-finding mission to Bangalore. The airline has a newly launched direct flight to India's IT capital.

Coby said he is looking at adding another Indian IT supplier to the framework agreements for offshore work and, as well as meeting with his existing Indian suppliers, he will meet senior executives at Infosys and Wipro in Bangalore.

The framework agreements will set in place a pricing structure for future offshore application development work and give BA 'on-demand'-style access to the resources in India depending on the internal IT workload.

Coby told silicon.com that BA's use of offshore resources is primarily about freeing up the airline's internal IT department to focus on core strategy and design work by sending the lower-level application development and programming work overseas as and when the need arises.

He said: "[Offshoring] helps manage peaks and troughs and it fits very well with our model at the moment."

The development of the new 'shopping basket' feature on ba.com, which allows passengers to book hotel rooms and car hire when they book a flight, is a recent example of BA's tactical use of offshore Indian IT companies.

Coby said: "It was designed out of London by us, project managed in Newcastle by us and built by TCS in Chennai. But I'd be losing control of how it all fits together if I outsourced the design to Chennai."

BA aims to finalise the new offshore framework agreements by the end of the year.

Andy McCue from Silicon.com reported from London.

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