WSO2Con Insights – How Boeing Transformed Commercial Aviation Using WSO2

Keeping airplanes in the air and operating safely and efficiently is the job of Boeing’s commercial aviation division—specifically, the service known as Boeing Edge, which provides support and service to the manufacturer’s aviation customer base.

As Boeing senior product manager Jim Crabbe explained at WSO2Con US 2013, providing this level of agile, informed service, and allowing customers to share information among many disparate systems, brought about the need for platform as a service (PaaS), which is powered by WSO2 software.

“Our Boeing Edge solutions need to help customers’ planes spend less time on the ground, and more time in the air,” Crabbe said. “For airlines, time is of the essence, and creating operational efficiency requires connecting people, processes, and sources of data.”

Boeing’s job, Crabbe explained, is to reduce the complexity of these mission-critical processes. “Some airlines are running very old applications and systems, but they work and they’re solid,” Crabbe said. “The cost of moving those systems to a new state is large, and could disrupt their operation.

That’s where Boeing has taken on these challenges to help our customers—how to break free from their data, and how to integrate better with the applications and products we provide to them, to create business process-driven workflows and new applications.”

Boeing chose the entire stack of WSO2 solutions for its PaaS—including WSO2 Private PaaS and WSO2 Carbon multi-tenant enterprise middleware products—because of WSO2’s reputation, and its commitment to open source.

“Our development direction has always been a service-oriented architecture, so we use open-source modular solutions whenever possible,” Crabbe said. “We like to leverage emerging technologies and try to stay vendor-agnostic because our customer ecosystem uses a wide variety of tools and software. That’s where working with WSO2 has been so advantageous.”

By using WSO2 solutions to build its PaaS solution, Crabbe observed that Boeing has been able to leverage the advantages of the cloud, such as elasticity and scalability, helping the company to deliver services in a consistent manner. “For example,” Crabbe said, “We can tie in line mechanics with maintenance systems, and allow users to upload pictures and other documentation, and integrate it with the back-office system of the airline.”

Deploying a flexible PaaS built on WSO2’s modular solutions helps Boeing maintain the agility it needs to support its customers, Crabbe noted: “We need to be able to continue to innovate, and we can’t be afraid to try something new.”

Another way Boeing provides value, Crabbe told attendees, is with data governance. “That means the right data to the right person for the problem at hand,” Crabbe told attendees. “You have to put your data governance process in place and protect your API, but enable people to do the work they need to do.”

For more information about Boeing’s use of WSO2’s platform, view Crabbe’s WSO2Con US 2013 presentation.