Southwest Airlines’ CTO talks about tech and business transformation

"We’ll touch 90% of our systems and their applications over the next three to five years, modernizing them, replacing them, retiring technical debt, and introducing features"

southwest airlines

Craig Maccubbin is CTO of Southwest Airlines, which is already the largest domestic airline in the U.S. and still growing rapidly. He has 500 employees in his technology operations organization, out of about 1,000 employees in technology overall, and he reports to the CIO along with peers in operations, commercial, enterprise management and product solutions. Network World Editor in Chief John Dix recently caught up with Maccubbin to learn about technology management in this high pressure environment.

What do your duties as Chief Technology Officer entail?

craig maccubbin

Craig Maccubbin, CTO, Southwest Airlines

I am essentially responsible for the operation of our technology. That includes all of our infrastructure services, which we define exactly as you would think: networking, compute, storage, end user computing, disaster recovery, environment management, etc. And I'm responsible for application maintenance services, so all the work we do to support applications from an L2 and L3 perspective, and for service management, the classic ITSM definition of how we handle incidents and problems. I also have responsibility for the quality management organization -- that's application and infrastructure quality -- and lastly, responsibility for information security, which is an important task anywhere, but especially important at Southwest because we're an airline and because we have such good brand recognition.

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