Flight Centre has signed a five year deal with Microsoft to transition over to its cloud and software, vowing to continue its digital transformation in the face of a huge downturn in the travel market.

Microsoft’s Azure and 365 will now be Flight Centre’s clouds of choice, including migrating several applications off public cloud market share leader AWS. Flight Centre will also switch from Zoom to Microsoft teams for internal communication, and move from various productivity platforms to Microsoft 365.

The travel company has developed a transformation strategy over five months, working with Microsoft and partner NTT, a systems integrator that has also previously worked with the travel company. 

Flight Centre wants to improve its digital infrastructure and offerings in anticipation of rapid growth when demand for the travel sector returns as vaccination programs roll out in 2021.

“COVID-19 has profoundly affected our business and the industry as a whole.,” said Chris Locke, global head of technology, Flight Centre Travel Group.

“As the crisis unfolded, we moved quickly to streamline our operations and reduce costs, which led to us fast-tracking our transformation plans and reimagining the way we operate as a global business.”

Flight Centre is running a series of proofs of concept using Windows Virtual Desktop aimed at helping expedite the transition of a series of applications off AWS infrastructure and into Azure.

Steven Worrall, managing director, Microsoft Australia said the transformation strategy has been designed to respond to the currently constrained conditions of Flight Centre  but will also position it for future growth when conditions improve.

“There’s an old adage – ‘never waste a crisis’ – and Flight Centre certainly has not, instead it’s positioned itself to reimagine what its business will look like in the future, and how it will engage with customers, suppliers and employees,” Worrall said in a statement announcing the partnership. 

“With strong digital foundations deployed globally the company is set up for enduring success.”

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