Systems integration specialist Smart421 has completed a major project to transfer the rail industry’s £2billion-a-year online self-service ticket business to the “cloud”.

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Ipswich-based Smart421, which secured the contract in November 2012 and began development work the following month, will now provide a round-the-clock seven-day-a-week support service for the next five years.

The Live Sales Management (LSM) platform which underpins the online sale of rail tickets and their collection from self-service ticket machines, is operated by Rail Settlement Plan (RSP), a company jointly owned by the UK’s franchised passenger train operators.

Smart421 designed and delivered the platform which is now hosted in the cloud by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and, besides meeting the rail industry’s current and future needs, will also result in substantially reduced operating costs compared with the previous system.

Brian Jones, head of programmes at RSP, said: “This procurement, which forms part of RSP’s Modernisation Programme, meets the core objective providing a better match between service capabilities and the industry’s needs whilst delivering updated business activities at a lower cost of ownership.

“This project is key to modernising RSP’s services over the next few years. Smart421 should be commended for its capabilities. Their work represents excellent value for money.”

Smart421, which is part of the FTSE250-listed KCOM Group, became the first Advanced Consulting Partner in the UK under the Amazon Partner Network in July 2012.

It specialises in high-end consultancy, integration and service management work on business-critical systems for enterprises operating in regulated markets.

Neil Miles, managing director at Smart421, said that, in responding to RSP’s requirements for a flexible, cost effective and scalable solution, it had made best use of leading open source technologies such as ForgeRock and Red Hat together with the cloud computing services provided by AWS.

“The result recognises our ability to deliver complex innovative solutions to support the demands of an enterprise focused on the 21st Century,” he added. “I am extremely pleased to have worked closely with RSP on this important IT project.”

RSP, which is part of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), provides a range of shared services to support the national ticketing system.

This includes maintaining a central fares database and apportioning the correct share of revenues among the various train operating companies.

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