Expedia Group: Using Automation to Drive Digital Business
Global travel technology organization modernizes its automation platform for improved DevOps support, self-service business-user enablement and real-time application file transfer.
Founded in 1996, Expedia Group is one of the world’s leading full-service online travel brands, helping travelers easily plan and book travel from the widest selection of vacation packages, flights, hotels, rental cars, rail, cruises, activities, attractions and services.
The company’s global presence includes localized websites in 33 countries and an award-winning mobile app. Expedia Group’s websites include Expedia.com, Hotels.com, CarRentals.com, Hotwire, CheapTickets, Trivago, Venere.com, Travelocity, Orbitz and HomeAway.
Expedia Group’s business is built on innovation and speed of deployment. However, the version of the workload automation system used by the company at the time was built on an outdated platform with an outdated licensing scheme and a cumbersome, thick client. This was problematic for developers and end users. They expected better self-service capabilities in order to deliver business value more quickly.
Deploying and updating the thick client and making software upgrades was laborious and a costly drain on Expedia Group’s engineering resources.
If Expedia Group was going to remain a leader in the competitive travel technology industry, a smooth transition to a modern automation solution was essential.
“Stonebranch’s automation solution has many benefits, but the most important factor in our decision to switch was how dramatically it lowered our support costs. The user base can now manage their requests independently, and this allows our engineers to focus on improvements to our core product and the development of net new features and applications. Stonebranch frees up our skills and time.”
Expedia Group decided to replace its burdensome legacy workload automation system with a modern, scalable and secure automation solution. The company didn’t need to look far for a new system: Stonebranch’s Universal Automation Center was already in use by Orbitz, a company acquired by Expedia Group in 2015.
After intense scrutiny of Orbitz’s use of Universal Automation Center, Expedia Group chose to deploy the Stonebranch platform across its global enterprise.
The Stonebranch platform exceeded Expedia Group’s critical requirements, standing out from other solutions for its:
- Ease of use and self-service capabilities
- No thick client required
- Extremely robust API, enabling Expedia Group to expedite many automation and maintenance scenarios
- Seamless, simple upgrade path
- Licensing costs that added up to a lower total cost of ownership
There was, however, a deciding factor. According to Michael Bayha, Senior Systems Engineer, Expedia Group, “Stonebranch’s automation solution has many benefits, but the most important factor in our decision to switch was how dramatically it lowered our support costs.”
An additional benefit is that Expedia Group now manages the lifecycle of its workload automation definitions, using Universal Automation Center’s bundle and promotion tools. Development, testing and production deployment of all scheduling changes are now managed securely and reliably.
Moving data between applications and platforms is a key part of Expedia Group’s application workload automation, and the built-in managed file transfer tasks and agent file transfer capabilities allow integrated automation of file transfer and application workloads.
Expedia Group now has teams from Finance, Security, Infrastructure, Data Warehouse and customer-facing entities using Universal Automation Center to automate their business processes. Stonebranch helps this diverse group of teams save time and increase productivity.
Michael Bayha says, “The user base can now manage their requests independently, and this allows our engineers to focus on improvements to our core product and the development of net new features and applications. Stonebranch frees up our skills and time.”
Overall, tasks require half the effort compared to previous processes. With the time saved on operational work, teams are better able to focus their efforts on the development and deployment of additional tools, platforms and features that enhance Expedia Group’s competitive advantage. And onboarding times have been reduced from one week to one day.
“Overall, the Stonebranch solution has performed exceptionally well and has been well received by our customers.”
Migrating from Expedia Group’s former workload automation software to Stonebranch’s Universal Automation Center went very smoothly. “We managed 90% of the transition ourselves because the technology is so easy to use. The Stonebranch sales and support team worked with us to ensure the deployment was seamless and successful,” says Michael Bayha. “Overall, the solution has performed exceptionally well and has been well received by our customers.”
Expedia Group has enjoyed a tremendous return on investment from Stonebranch’s modern workload automation platform. And ROI remains strong, thanks to a far more economical total cost of ownership.
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- Greatly reduced total cost of ownership; internal support costs much lower
- Self-managed transition
- Automated DevOps lifecycle
- Self-service automation empowers business users, cuts time to complete tasks by half or more
- More efficient automation due to robust API