Thomas Cook flies to £142m savings after IT standardisation

Thomas Cook has saved £142 million after merging MyTravel’s technology and other operations with its own, shrugging off the effects of a tough economy.

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Thomas Cook has saved £142 million after merging MyTravel’s technology and other operations with its own, shrugging off the effects of a tough economy.

The tour operator merged with MyTravel in June last year, and closed 98 shops, which also played a part in the cost savings.

This February, it completed moving MyTravel off the Anite ATOP reservations system, onto Thomas Cook’s proprietary Tour Operator system, Carl Dawson, then Thomas Cook’s chief information officer, told Computerworld UK. It has also overhauled its financial, payroll and HR systems, transferring MyTravel from Oracle systems onto the SAP systems used by Thomas Cook.

The merged company is now targeting cost savings of £215 million by 2010, of which IT will play a part. This is £60 million higher than original targets.

“The integration of our operations since the merger between Thomas Cook and MyTravel Group on 19 June 2007 has been highly successful and we have been operating on a single platform from management, commercial and technological perspectives for over a year,” the group said in a statement, as it announced its financial results for the year to 30 September.

Pre-tax profits jumped 32 percent to £309 million, on the back of sales up 11 percent at £8.8 billion, and Thomas Cook is now targeting a £480 million profit in two years' time. The cost savings had “offset” rises in fuel prices and the changes in currency exchange rates, it said.

Manny Fontenla-Novoa, chief executive, added: "We have fully integrated our merged business and a number of strategic acquisitions, over-delivered against our cost-reduction targets, actively managed capacity, and successfully navigated our way through a period of unprecedented oil price volatility.”

Thomas Cook has begun moving to the iTour reservations system, made by supplier BlueSky. The system is being rolled out by IBM across the travel group’s branches worldwide. Thomas Cook expects the roll out to finish by 2011 at a cost of £67 million. The reservations platform will enable all of Thomas Cook’s high street outlets and businesses to access real time prices online from its partners for complex holiday packages, stopping the need for extensive, time-consuming enquiries to generate a final quote for customers.

The travel company also has a multimillion pound contract with Atos Origin to provide mainframe services for five years, as well as a 10-year business process outsourcing deal with Accenture, under which the IT services firm provides management services for Thomas Cook's back office systems.

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