National Express contracts Vodafone and IBM in ‘digital first’ drive

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The Vodafone Business and IBM venture, launched earlier this year, is to provide cloud and digital services for National Express, which offers services in eight countries.

The eight-year contract is part of UK-based transport company's strategy of ‘digital first’, with a focus on personalised passenger experiences, flexible payment options and always-connected vehicles.

Under the eight-year agreement, the Vodafone Business and IBM venture will move National Express’ IT estate to IBM Cloud and implement a hybrid cloud strategy.

This will enable the transport company to manage multiple clouds in different locations and from different vendors, and scale easily to support usage spikes.

Additional security and risk management will be added to the transport operator’s technology infrastructure. In future, the Vodafone Business and IBM venture plan to give National Express access to other cloud services and new technologies such as 5G, IoT, edge computing and analytics.

Future-proofing

Debbie O’Shea, Group Chief Information Officer for National Express, said, “Working with the new Vodafone Business and IBM venture forms part of our continued investment in technology to better support our strategic ambitions.

"This partnership enables us to move to a cloud environment giving us a future-proofed platform with increased flexibility that will better support our business. It also will provide access to emerging and innovative new technologies.”

Vodafone has a relationship with National Express, providing wide area network connectivity and a Secure Internet Gateway.

Cloud and connectivity

Anne Sheehan, Business Director at Vodafone UK, commented, “Cloud services and connectivity are now inseparable, and there is a clear need for the expertise that the Vodafone Business and IBM venture can deliver.

"We will provide National Express with the holistic solution it requires to drive digital innovation across its business – faster, simpler and at scale.”

Michael Valocchi, IBM General Manager of the venture with Vodafone, said, “By moving to the IBM Cloud and implementing a hybrid cloud strategy, National Express can now tap the combined strengths of IBM and Vodafone and introduce new, innovative services faster and succeed in a digital world.”

Vodafone Business and IBM announced their intent to join forces in January, saying the partnership would speed adoption of cloud technologies and business applications enabled by 5G, edge computing and software-defined networking (SDN).