Why a 35-Year-Old Travel IT Company Decided To Slash Its Technical Debt

Why a 35-Year-Old Travel IT Company Decided To Slash Its Technical Debt

Amadeus, a supplier of public travel services, first opened its doors in 1987, when four airlines wanted to offer a consolidated booking system. Today, the firm helps 216 airlines, as well as hotels, railroads, airports, online travel providers, and even corporations, manage their bookings and inventories. In a nutshell, it covers almost every area of travel IT. Computing, software, and system needs alter as an IT-heavy organization grows. These pressures to a head for Amadeus in 2015, when the firm recognized it needed to go beyond its own cloud. Using a public cloud infrastructure would allow the company to respond to client requirements far more quickly than it could with its own tech stack.

Amadeus is confronted with a familiar problem: It, like many other organizations of its scale, has huge technical debt, which is the concept that as you make certain technological decisions, you end up deferring modernisation, and the “interest” accumulates, making it more difficult to modernize. Competition and broader market pressures will eventually drive you to update your whole code base, infrastructure, and even the method you generate software in order to pay off that debt and interest. It’s not just tech behemoths like Amadeus that are saddled with debt. Even much smaller businesses must ultimately cope with technical debt and adjust to huge technological advances.

We chatted with Fredrik Odeen, lead for public cloud transformation and corporate strategy, and Sébastien Pellisé, deputy lead for public cloud transformation, to discover more about why and how Amadeus is making such a big transition. Odeen and Pellisé also discussed how Amadeus went about adopting the new procedures and technology stack, as well as what the changes imply for the company’s future and what smaller businesses may learn from Amadeus.

Why does technology debt build up? When you start a business and make important decisions regarding your technological stack, you usually don’t consider the long-term consequences of those decisions. You want to get the firm up and running, and most early-stage businesses don’t have the luxury of properly considering their IT stack.

Amadeus gradually came to recognize that maintaining its own infrastructure has drawbacks over time. Its in-house cloud stack was causing a significant delay in updating software and systems, responding to client requests, and experimenting. The firm realized that in order to enhance its client experience, it needed to modernize its infrastructure and the way it developed software, or these issues would ultimately catch up with it. That message was driven home by the epidemic. Finding methods to operate more effectively and respond to client demands quickly became even more important when the sector endured significant travel cutbacks – the firm needed to find a way to save money as income dried up.