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Tip of the hat

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Technology cannot be ignored if one wants to progress. Something that Vishwajeet Singh, CIO, Epitome Travel Solutions agrees upon. When the company started their operations a year back they were sure that they wanted to reach out to all segments of clients. “The travel industry is slowly maturing and for us it was important to be able to cater to clients both online and offline,” he says. It was an option between proprietary products and non proprietary solutions for their website. Proprietary solutions have a set pattern onto which a company will have to set their programmes; the biggest drawback being the inability to add, subtract or create depending on specific needs.

Arun Kumar

Offering a solution to companies like Epitome Travel Solutions is Red Hat, a Linux and open source technology provider. Arun Kumar, general manager, Red Hat India explains, “The model is unique as it allows the user to develop their own algorithms creating custom programmes according to their specific needs.” He further adds that that a product like Red Hat is not just more cost effective but also offers the user scalability as and when necessary. “We provide building blocks to a company which allow them to then develop whatever they need, SEO, Apps, websites, etc. It is all about low cost and high value,” says Kumar. Singh vouches for this when he says, “With a non proprietary product cost goes down. Open source technology helps control on the recurring cost that often proprietary products entail. Plus there is support on the system as well. One needs a robust system that does not require 24 hours monitoring.”

Vishwajeet Singh

Epitome Travel Solutions went through an evaluation process between proprietary products and open source software. They considered the pros and cons and opted for Red Hat. “There are various products available in the market and all of them have their positives. But what always came back to our mind was that if there was any problem who will come to assist and aid us. My need was to create an app and not create an Operating System, and I want to keep my focus maintained on the app so that I can develop it further as the needs of the business grows,” Singh says. There is a commitment which is required and Red Hat provides that. Singh goes on to explain the company’s exact requirement which led to their final decision – the company had to design applications for the website based on the behaviour features. Elements had to be customised, it was almost difficult to decide the size required. This is where the choice to decide the platform which would suit best after brainstorming the company opted for open source technology which was publicly accessible on open website. More importantly there was the security, flexibility and scalability of the product that clinched the final decision. Of evident benefits from using this technology, Singh says that the company saved up to 40 per cent on IT costs by using Red Hat’s solution.

Epitome Travel Solutions isn’t the first travel company Red Hat has worked with. “We have been linked with various aspects of the travel and the tourism industry. There have been companies who have been using our open source technology for a long time and are reaping great cost advantages today. We are able to deliver real time solutions to our customers. Airlines for instance have been revamping their systems with Red Hat’s upgraded programmes. Many travel portals also use Red Hat extensively; hospitality majors are also powered by Red Hat,” says Kumar. Both Singh and Kumar are of the opinion that technology is the way forward for the travel and tourism industry to grow. Kumar believes, “Things in the travel industry have changed dramatically and technology has had a major role to play in it. Fifteen years ago it was unheard to plan a holiday online, but with the development in the IT industry it is the present and the future.” Singh adds, “I have spent 10 years in the industry, and things have changed drastically in this period. There are many travel companies today which are bigger than enterprise companies. Even though margins are low, one has to continue to innovate otherwise it is going to be difficult to stay in the race. Especially when there is no customer loyalty; they will move to the cheapest deal very easily. While technology alone cannot generate business but it does provide a strong back bone.”

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