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Malaysia Airlines Berhad To Operate From The Cloud


Malaysian Airlines will be operating their data centre from the cloud at 95% by August this year. This was iterated by En. Abdul Rahman Mohamed, General Manager of IT Strategy and Governance & PSS Program Director at Malaysia Airlines Berhad. He is accountable for Malaysia Airline Berhad (MAB) IT Strategy, Architecture, Governance, Risk and Security and is currently assisting the CIO in leading the IT transformation in MAB.

During the PIKOM Big Data SIG members forum held recently at their office, En Mohamed gave an account about how the industry is evolving.

“It’s a cut throat industry where we previously enjoyed a monopoly. There used to be only one airline in every country. Now you will be lucky if there are only 3 or 4 airlines running in a particular country. Just 2 years back, 50 airlines went bankrupt. By the following year, another 50 airlines came in,” he explained.

En Mohamed shared that they have done a lot of upgrading to meet customer satisfaction in the last two years and are bullish about the prospects.

Some of the upgrades include having 99 new apps running throughout the operations on 16 thousand devices. They are also planning to launch predictive maintenance using their own data which will enhance what data they currently purchase. For flight delays they will implement auto ticketing by the year end as well as shifting from legacy data sources to social media data sources.

Personal pricing will also be introduced to certain passengers and chatbots will be introduced to better handle the call centres at any time to improve customer satisfaction.

En Mohamed shared that MAS creates tremendous amounts of data which they don’t own. He said that one airplane alone generates 2.5 million terabytes of data per year. Other data include data on their customers travel and luggage and comfort preferences that can be leveraged on to better serve them.

However, this data is not theirs. They have to purchase the data from the different vendors. Therefore, he believes it makes good sense that they are now working towards owning more of their data through having their own data centre.

Although he says they are not yet in the market for Data Scientists, they are working towards creating the infrastructure that they would need and then bring in the Data Scientists.

Currently they are working with individuals through hackathons which was recently concluded. From there they are working closely with 15 teams to upgrade and improve their systems for a better customer experience.

Also in the pipeline is the Innovation Lab which is available to the public to utilize and share ideas to improve their systems. The lab is scheduled to open in May this year and is believed will help create an open atmosphere towards the company and their customers.

At the same time he says they will be looking at balancing out the innovations so as it doesn’t go in only one direction.

“For instance, if we see that there are too many ideas for customer comfort and not many for monetization, we will stream it so that there is more balance and the company grows in alignment with that,” he said.

Currently MAS operates with 14,000 staff in 90 stations worldwide. They cater to 15 million passengers per year.

The business model has changed from being business savvy, to being IT savvy. En Mohamed went on to say that the drivers in the industry no longer come from a person with business acumen but rather has shifted to what technology can do to bring in revenue. The passenger is king and how the data will be used to gain insights on the passenger needs, will make the difference in their bottom line.