Computing Awards - Projects of the Year

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Sci/Tech

We profile the shortlists for the Projects of the Year in the prestigious Computing Awards for Excellence 2005, to be hosted on 16 November in London.

Two notables:

The British Army

Armynet is the first Ministry of Defence (MoD) secure web portal, providing worldwide access for soldiers and their families to official information that often cannot be published on the internet.

The system has changed the way the Army can access and communicate information, and has improved morale among troops on operations through secure web-based email, message boards and instant messaging to keep in touch with home. The portal provides a one-stop shop for all operational, routine business and welfare information across the organisation. Some 56,000 soldiers are using ArmyNet, from operations in Iraq, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and the Balkans.

The system is based on open source technologies, which reduces the cost of integration with existing applications, such as the Army’s content management system. The project has been such a success that the MoD is considering it as a model for use across the entire defence community.

British Airways

British Airways’ ‘Customer Enabled BA’ project was the airline’s response to 9/11 and the downturn in the travel sector.

The plan involved web-enabling the company’s booking, loyalty, checking-in and other customer services on a single ecommerce platform available through www.ba.com.

But this meant much more than simply a new web site. For BA to achieve its aim in only two years required new IT governance, integration and design processes across the organisation.

At the heart of the project was a new Integrated Applications Infrastructure. A combined IT and business team introduced new componentised software development techniques based on a service-oriented architecture, as well as introducing open, standardised technologies such as Linux on Intel-based servers.

This approach offers central control over multiple teams in several locations. Business processes are simplified, and rapid application development has speeded up the release of new software.

The flexible, component-based environment has already saved nearly £100m, says BA. One new function – allowing customers to upgrade easily when booking online – returned the £1m invested in the programme within just three months. Nearly one-third of BA’s 36 million customers now use the BA site to book flights or manage their booking.

Full Story.