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Garuda Indonesia: Web sales soar 200% with Microsoft Azure

In the airline business, security is paramount. In 2014, Garuda Indonesia (Garuda), the flag carrier of Indonesia, enhanced the security of its ticketing systems by redeploying its existing, open source e-commerce websites to the Microsoft cloud service, Azure. With expert onsite support from Microsoft consultants, the project took just six weeks. Today, Garuda’s customer data is protected by top-grade security on Azure and in-house web developers can maintain websites using their favourite open source technologies.
The Business Challenge: Like all major airlines, Garuda depends on first-class e-commerce websites to stay competitive. Garuda needed top-grade websites to inspire customers, gain market share, and relaunch itself as a premier international airline. The strategy required Garuda to master one of the greatest challenges that confronts airlines today – digital security. To neutralise security threats to customer data and transactions, Garuda wanted to redeploy its website services and databases to a professional hosting company. The question was: ‘who?’ Security was paramount, but Garuda also needed a hosting solution that gave its web developers the greatest freedom to update customer websites. Garuda also wanted infrastructure that allowed it to scale server capacity to meet fast-changing peaks and troughs in customer demand. Above all, Garuda needed a long-term partner that executives could trust: one that could provide expert technical advice and onsite support, in Jakarta.
The Solution: Denny Permana (Senior Manager for IT Strategic Planning and Architecture of Garuda Indonesia) wanted to find a hosting partner quickly, but also wanted to avoid having to rebuild Garuda websites. The existing e-commerce sites had been built by two local vendors, using PHP on the CentOS operating system with open source MySQL web databases. The company’s managed services team had an excellent working knowledge of these technologies, and Denny wanted to keep using them. Denny explored local hosters, Softlayer and Microsoft Azure as cloud options.
Microsoft technical advisers from Microsoft Premier Support explained that Azure IaaS [infrastructure as a service] is an open, flexible and global cloud platform that supports multiple languages, tools and frameworks. The advisers showed Denny the Azure gallery, which includes several Linux images—including CentOS—as part of its Endorsed Distributions list.
“Microsoft offered us an excellent Service Level Agreement (SLA), with the option to work with Microsoft technical experts later on to achieve a High Availability capability,” says Denny. “Also, Azure looked easy to scale, which would help us to manage high-variance traffic.”
Garuda Information Technology (IT) employees quickly migrated their e-commerce sites from in-house servers to Azure. The in-house IT team received on-demand technical advice from a Microsoft Premier Support Engineer to help manage all aspects of the transition. The engineer subsequently worked alongside Garuda employees to overcome all technical barriers rapidly.

“It took just six weeks to transition our entire e-commerce operations to Azure. Azure gives us the development flexibility we need and has very high security standards in place. We’ve tried it for ourselves and believe that Azure supports a vast array of open technologies!” –  Denny Permana (Senior Manager for IT Strategic Planning and Architecture, Garuda Indonesia)

The Benefits: The switch to a secure and scalable cloud platform has helped Garuda boost online sales and improve competitiveness. By mid-2015, e-commerce revenue had risen 200 percent in just over a year. Global perceptions of Garuda soared too, as UK airlines consultancy, Skytrax, re-rated Garuda as a five-star airline. Garuda soon began purchasing new airliners to boost its long-haul capacity.

  • Website update times down 90%. The ability to optimise website performance on the Azure platform has helped Garuda to improve online services and expand its global reach. It also provides Garuda IT teams with the flexibility to keep websites fresh.
  • Top security from world-class experts. Today, Garuda executives have confidence that its customer systems are extremely secure. This helps to underpin the company’s resurgence as a world-class airline.

“With Azure, we get the best the possible protection against threats to our websites. Today, our data is protected by world-class security experts and this is vital for our customers. Our future prosperity is absolutely dependent on retaining customer confidence.” – Denny Permana

  • One-on-one support for ongoing innovation. Securing excellent local support was a precondition for Garuda’s move to the cloud. Since January 2014, the advice and technical guidance provided by Microsoft Premier Support in Jakarta has given Denny just what he needed.

“We have a great, ongoing relationship with Microsoft, and this gives us confidence that our e-commerce sites will be reliable going forward. Above all, Premier Support gives us the technical advisory service we need to constantly keep innovating.” – Denny Permana

Garuda Indonesia - Microsoft Infographic