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Technology investments crucial to travel hub lead
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 29 - 06 - 2011

JEDDAH: The Middle East region is firmly establishing itself as a hub for travel and tourism with a report from Amadeus showing that the number of tourists to the region is expected to double from 54 million in 2008 to 136 million by 2020 and that 2 billion people are within a 2.5 hours reach by air from the region.
Saudi Arabian Airlines, established in 1945, has recognized the importance of technology investments to maintain and grow its business in line with the travel momentum in the region and has announced the successful implementation of the SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) business solutions software to ensure best practice across the organization.
"The Middle East is fast becoming a hub for travel with its vibrant, increasingly attractive destinations and significant investment in tourism and hotel projects, and airport development. As such, the need to apply technology for competitive advantage and adapt to emerging trends is clear. SAP ERP provides Saudi Arabian Airlines with the business solutions software to streamline its back-office processes across the entire Group and provides the necessary support/integration to front-line solutions aiming to improve customer services and products, increase revenues, reduce costs and increase efficiencies and productivity. SAP plays an important strategic role in Saudi Arabian Airlines efforts aimed at transforming its Information Technology Division to a Shared Services IT Provider model to aid the airlines in its pursuit of "excellence" and enable the airline's 'Take Off' program to become a World Start Airline," said Muhammad Ali Albakri, Vice President Information Technology at Saudi Arabian Airlines.
The SAP ERP application supports the essential functions of the business processes and operations efficiently, and has been tailored specifically to fit the needs of Saudi Arabian Airlines. The implementation is part of an overall strategic plan aimed at facilitating the airline's privatization strategies and reacting to market conditions - further driven by the $4trillion announced investment in travel and tourism projects in the Middle East according to Amadeus report.
"As one of the region's leading companies, Saudi Arabian Airlines' push to transform its business network and evolve its business model is supported significantly with SAP ERP software. The completed rollout will see improved overall productivity, simplified and integrated processes and improved customer relationship management," said Abdul-Raheem Bawazeer, Managing Director, SAP KSA.
SAP ERP redefines enterprise resource planning, delivering role-based access to crucial data, applications and analytical tools. Business challenges for the airline industry within areas such as logistics, business intelligence, HR and lifecycle management can be dealt with effectively and efficiently.
Saudi Arabian Airlines needed a unified business and IT infrastructure to drive the transformation of its operations into nine multiple subsidiaries: Saudia Airlines, Saudia Catering, Saudia Cargo, Saudia Ground Services, Saudia Medical Services, Saudi Aerospace & Engineering Industry, Prince Sultan Aviation Academy, Saudia Real Estate Development Company, and Saudia Holding. Having extensively vetted various competitive offerings, the airline chose SAP for its industry expertise and the flexible design and open integration of SAP software.


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