Thawing Port Of Seattle's IT Ice Age

Money is being pumped into the Port of Seattle's operations infrastructure.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

August 20, 2001

1 Min Read

The Port of Seattle, which runs the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, has launched a $10.7 million effort to update its IT infrastructure. The move comes a month after the U.S. Department of Transportation rated Seattle-Tacoma the nation's worst in terms of the percentage of flight delays.

While the planned E-business programs won't directly address flight delays, they do indicate that the port plans to use IT to better its performance. Among the pilot online programs are: construction document management to support the airport's $3 billion capital-improvement program; employee expense reporting; airport parking payment; and a moorage reservation system for shippers.

"I don't want the transformation to take a long time, but it's going to be difficult," says Mic Dinsmore, Port CEO. "It'll be a year or two until we transform the port out of the IT ice age."

The port signed IBM Global Services to a $2 million contract as part of the overall effort. IBM will deploy eight consultants to help develop the programs and manage the whole project. IBM Global Services will play an important role in ensuring the pilot projects launch by January of 2002.

Port officials chose IBM from, among others, EDS, Microsoft, Oracle, and Sun. Dinsmore says he likes IBM's size, its partnership relationships with several competitors who also bid on the project, and its experience with its own transformation over the past decade. Says Dinsmore, "IBM's been through a challenging restructuring of its own to become a viable IT company, not just for the products it sells but for third-party products it services."

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