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Air China To Use iCan Provider Suite

iCan SP, Inc., a Computer Associates International Inc. subsidiary specializing in service management software for the service provider market, today announced that Air China, the People's Republic of China's largest air carrier, will use components of the iCan Provider Suite to manage the delivery of its internal IT services.

Headquartered in Beijing, Air China has assets totaling US$4.3 billion and over 11,000 employees. The Air China fleet currently comprises 69 airplanes and operates 1,000 scheduled flights weekly serving 29 cities in 19 countries.

Elliot Kass, director of marketing at iCan, says the deal with Air China, which had been in discussion for several months and was closed over a month ago, represents a major new account. "While we have several customers in Asia, this is our first in China. It is a terrific opportunity for us and we are confident it will help us gain new business in the country."

The iCan Provider Suite is a service-management solution designed to support service-centric computing. Using the software, corporate IT departments and other service providers can track service usage, create new services, monitor and enforce service level agreements (SLAs) to help reduce their operating costs.

Air China's customer service is supported by a sophisticated IT infrastructure, including ticket reservation, passenger booking and check-in services. It will deploy the iCan Provider Suite's iCan View and iCan Meter modules to help ensure delivery and reduce costs of these services and others that also include airplane maintenance and flight crew scheduling,

iCan View allows applications and service administration to be simplified. IT managers can obtain real-time summaries of application, resource and user activity. Activity can be summarized by individual, department or line of business and can be viewed by end users and department heads, as well as IT administrators.

Similarly, iCan Meter measures all server, network and application usage across Internet domains. Air China's use of both iCan View and iCan Meter together is aimed to help make these critical applications and services available at lower costs.

"Advanced information technology services are a necessary requisite," according to a statement by Air China's Information Technology Department. " iCan's service management platform will allow us to streamline operations and economically provide IT services at a level commensurate with the ever-growing requirements of our various departments," the statement continued.

Air China is not only iCan's first Chinese customer but also its first airline account. Kass believes the aviation industry is primed for the service centric computing model: "Increased consolidation among airlines servicing multiple markets makes the need for both efficient and scalable IT solutions even greater. It is a rich market in which iCan is pursuing new business," he says.

In light of the blow to the industry after events last week, Kass admits the announcement has come at an unfortunate time, but says it is likely to create a further need among airlines for service centric solutions that can help reduce costs: "The timing of this announcement and events last week is the most unfortunate coincidence, but if anything airlines will be under more pressure to provide improved services at cheaper costs," he concedes.