AmericanExpress Global Business Travel Speeds Divestiture With Boomi

September 25, 2019 Charles Waltner

When American Express spun off part of its travel business in 2014, the new company — American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) — had a singular vision. Start fresh, with freedom to innovate. Grow the business by moving to best-of-breed technologies and platforms.

Yet, on the road to achieving that vision, the new entity still had to connect to and protect its parent company’s intellectual property, the valuable innovations gained from years of experience running a global travel business. That meant integrating new cloud-based apps with on-premise software and systems.

This feet-in-two-worlds challenge is common to digital transformations. And it’s one of the reasons many don’t deliver their promised benefits. In a 2018 survey report from McKinsey, only 16 percent of respondents said their transformations improved performance and could sustain those improvements over time. And the larger the organization, the more likely a disappointing outcome.

Boomi helps customers around the globe connect and transform their organizations. Join Boomi customers, partners, executives and prospects Oct. 1-3 in Washington D.C. for Boomi World 2019 to find out how.

A Race Against Time

American Express GBT is large. It has over 12,000 employees and serves more than 140 countries, which meant a lot of ground needed to be covered for any transformation effort to be successful.

And the clock was ticking. The IT team was given three months to stand up new platforms and a year to complete the entire integration.

“We had these two use cases,” says Prasant Panicker, director of technologies at American Express GBT. “We had to connect all these brand-new apps, which we needed to stand up in record time. Simultaneously, we had to add into that all the rich IP that was behind our firewall.”

The company's overall goal was to deliver a top-notch experience to every customer. To achieve that goal, American Express GBT wanted a unified, integrated platform that could:

  • Enhance travel with cutting-edge apps
  • Provide a world-class travel experience
  • Deliver the greatest value in travel
  • Optimize the business through actionable data and insights

“We are using technology and global presence to enable and empower the travelers of tomorrow,” says Panicker. “We want to know each and every customer, wherever they are.”

Building a Travel Platform for the Future

For the new platform, American Express GBT started from scratch, choosing the best technology available. The combination of a tight timeline and the company’s lean resource model led it to the SaaS market.

Using cloud-based, best-of-breed applications for generic corporate functions like human resources, procurement and finance freed its internal IT staff to focus on the company’s core competency — travel.

But to realize the potential of best-of-breed applications, those apps must be able to communicate with each other. And that means integration.

After taking an inventory of use cases and integration needs, the company came up with criteria to evaluate three market-leading integration platforms. The criteria included integration support and architecture, security, scalability and performance, developer features and software-development life cycle (SDLC) support, total cost of ownership (TCO), product maturity and its developer community.

Based on those needs, American Express GBT selected the Boomi Platform. Boomi’s ease of use was a key attraction. The company had to accomplish complex integration tasks fast, and with limited staff.

Boomi’s large library of pre-built connectors enabled quick and easy cloud-to-cloud integration. And, because the platform was so easy to learn, the company could use less-specialized developers.

“We knew with Boomi we could bring in people with basic platform integration knowledge,” Panicker says. “Even if they didn’t know the product, they could pick it up quickly.”

In fact, the Boomi Platform and its low-code environment shortens development times by up to 70 percent, leading to increased IT staff productivity and lowering the total cost of ownership dramatically. 

In figuring the TCO for Boomi, American Express GBT looked not only at license subscription costs but also initial implementation and ongoing maintenance based on expected transaction volume, the type of integrations needed, availability and uptime, and development time.

“With Boomi's short learning curve, we knew we would see the benefits of the platform quickly,” Panicker says. 

Boomi delivered the flexibility, scalability and performance the company required — whether integrations were cloud-to-cloud, on premise-to-cloud or all on-premise.

“With this architecture, we can easily handle different use cases with distinct security and scaling requirements," Panicker explains. “Our IT personnel behind the firewall have access to the platform on the cloud and can build integrations off the cloud. Because of the transformation capabilities the tool provides, we could also do fairly straightforward ETL-type use cases.”

Zero to $20 billion in Revenue

With Boomi and a small in-house team, American Express GBT designed, built, tested and deployed a new, global IT infrastructure with 120 different integrations in only three months. In that time, the company went from $0 to $20 billion in revenue!

When speed can mean the difference between the success or failure of a digital transformation, Boomi provides a clear competitive advantage. 

According to “The Connected Business: Improving integration and creating connectivity in 2018,” a research report conducted for Boomi by Vanson Bourne, 50 percent of organizations believe poor integration is holding them back. And 89 percent experience disadvantages due to poor integration.

Boomi provides a faster, smarter path to better business outcomes, including measurably increased returns on investment. In fact, Boomi provides an average ROI of 307 percent in less than one year, based on interviews with customers and a financial analysis of costs and benefits.

With Boomi, American Express GBT was able to integrate its data, systems, devices, processes and people to empower travelers today and in future. That is digital transformation at its best.

To learn more about American Express GBT’s experience with Boomi, watch our webinar, "Uniting a New Set of Cloud-Based Applications With American Express Global Business Travel."

About the Author

Charles Waltner is the head of content marketing for Dell Boomi.

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