Virgin Atlantic Clears Cloudy Thinking

Big changes were announced on Wednesday in London at the Cloud Expo Europe.  David Bulman, the Director of Information Technology at Virgin Atlantic Airways, announced the company’s plan to transition into cloud computing. Virgin Atlantic’s originally small computing estate as a core ticket selling service, has grown enormously to its current state. It now has an array of supporting services in the form of 300 apps and 350 services that Bulman reported are in a real state of mess.

Bulman explained Virgins’ new approach to cloud is due to a change in perspective towards computing overall. He said “We are not an IT company, we are an airline. We own very large pieces of equipment which fly around the world, but technology is not absolutely core to what we do. So stop buying it, stop depreciating it and move to a rental model.”

Virgins’ new plan is for a five-year transformation project to scrap the flock of systems for more efficient and cost effective cloud solutions. They hope to cut down on their 120 IT suppliers. Additionally, they will no longer be developing or buying IT solutions, but rather renting whatever is necessary to keep on par with their competitors.

Through this however, Bulman still presented Virgin as keeping their heads high. He described that the focus and success of Virgin lies in another area.  He said, “We pride ourselves on being different… We’re having conversations with our business areas and asking, ‘Is that really different?’ Why is our HR function different from a million HR functions out there? Why are our business processes really unique to us, and do they really need to be?”

Bulman has been at Virgin since November 2011 and boasts over 25 years in the technology industry. His focus for the last two years has been to initiate several technical improvements to Virgin’s computing systems as well as overseeing the overall technical operation globally.