TransPennine Express

Development of an exceptional, cost efficient hosting platform

Background

TransPennine Express is a British train operating company, running intercity services which link some of the biggest cities and towns across the North of England and (parts of) Scotland. TPE is a part of First Group, a multi-national transport provider based in Scotland. 

Problem

Prior to working with us, TransPennine Express were using paper records in each station to record the details of their season ticket holders. Whilst this met the contractual obligation to record the passenger's details, it did not allow the TOC to make best use of the data to efficiently deal with customer queries and after sales processes.  Due to the budgetary constraints of a smaller TOC, Transpennine Express were unable to invest in the 'on premise' implementation of GoldSTAR typically used by larger train operating companies. They wanted a value for money solution with a low requirement to commit their own resource to the upkeep of the system.  

Solution

Team Technologies already offered a fully managed, hosted GoldSTAR system for training and test purposes. As part of the development of a major release of  GoldSTAR (Release 3), Team Technologies had explored the use of more cost effective, alternative open source platforms, including Linux, GlassFish and PostgreSQL. The introduction of these alternative building blocks allowed Team Technologies to offer a hosted version of GoldSTAR. We sought out a hosting partner with a high service ethos and values in line with our own, including  ensuring tight security of premises and data.  

Having proved the efficacy of this model through hosted Test and Training systems in the initial stages, we soon established that when combining the use of open source tools with the ability to host full blown GoldSTAR, we could drastically reduce the cost of ownership for smaller Train Operating Companies, who could not previously justify the costs of an in-house GoldSTAR system.

TransPennine Express became the first train operating company to use a hosted GoldSTAR system in a production environment.

Overcoming the specific challenges associated with hosting

  • Keeping the environment secure and meeting the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
  • Setting up reliable VPN connectivity between the customer and our hosting provider.

Security is a core requirement of any system storing customer details.  We wanted to demonstrate our commitment to this as a whole and have achieved ISO27001 accreditation in 2018.  This helped us put the spotlight on both our internal and external partner processes and procedures and make sure they were up to scratch.

We deliberately chose  a hosting partner that met all our security requirements including having the expertise to implement a reliable, secure and high speed VPN connection between the Customer’s network and the hosting site.

Customer benefits of opting for a hosted GoldSTAR system

  • Removes much of the capital expenditure normally associated with an 'on premise' implementation.
  • Reduces the on going cost of ownership, as the overheads of hardware, software licences and internal technical knowledge are provided by the supplier, thus leaving customers to focus resources within their own business.
  • Leverages the expertise of the hosting site provider to offer economies of scale to run the computers. 
  • Ensures the customer is provided with a highly secure environment.
  • Provides all the benefits of the GoldSTAR customer and ticket management system to increase efficiency in customer service.
  • Maintains the ability to interface with all main ticket issuing systems, including Web, to form a centralised data store for all ticket transactions, thereby maintaining consistency of information throughout the TOC. 

 

What our customers say about us...

I’ve always found everyone at Team Technologies very detail focussed and responsive to the needs of me as the customer. Detailed and honest expectations of what can be delivered and when are communicated very clearly which means I feel I can trust them to deliver to a high standard what has been asked for in the timescales expected. All Team Tech representatives I’ve worked with have been knowledgeable about their subject and extremely professional in their communication, planning and execution.
Chad Collins - Transport for Wales Rail Services
Team Technologies make me feel valued as a genuine customer. I don’t feel like a £ sign on their bottom line, and it is really refreshing to work with a supplier who puts their customers at the heart of their business. Team Technologies are also industry leading at cross-party working, and are actively engaged in building relationships with third party Ticket Issuing System suppliers in order to get a solution developed and working for the benefit of the end user. Team Technologies are quick to turn around quotes, and always engage with me in a respectful and emotive manner. Their technical knowledge is second to none – they really know their products, and those of the third party suppliers that they integrate with, and they are also competitively priced, which is a great bonus.
Rob Green - Retail Systems Manager