Streamline Your Move Above Property with Hotel Industry Guidance

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Streamline Your Move Above Property with Hotel Industry Guidance

By Hanna Schiller, Senior Marketing Manager, HTNG - 03/04/2016
“A hotel basement, or any on-site location for that matter, should not be housing mission critical IT equipment,” says Mike Blake, CEO, HTNG. “Take it above property where it proves to be more reliable and secure, not to mention cost effective.” Although many hotel systems still reside on premises, the industry has clearly embraced the technology. Nearly 70% of hotels say they are using some sort of cloud-based solution, according to HT’s 2016 Lodging Technology Study. Email was the first to move above property (54% run their email in the cloud), but the migration is occurring in central reservations (46% cloud-based), accounting systems (43% cloud-based), and property management systems (35% cloud-based).

Like all technology decision-makers, hotel IT executives must consider the benefits of cloud for any given solution and for the unique characteristics of a property. This exploration can lead to more questions than answers: Which model makes more sense for my organizational build? As I grow, which model will be more effective? How do I determine which model is most cost effective? Individual hotels can be entirely unique, further complicating the choice between above or on-property.

To help, HTNG brought together a group of industry executives to address these and other questions. The Above Property Workgroup represents the impressive collaboration of 50 companies, chaired by Brian Alessi, Delaware North Companies and Lo Li, InterContinental Hotel Group. In February, the group released the document, “Above Property Considerations,” to tackle these concerns for any property. This document guides business and technical leaders through a myriad of critical issues that must be examined when moving key systems to the cloud.  It outlines the considerations that help both vendors and hoteliers make decisions on selection, architecture, and evaluation of cloud systems. Here are a few highlights from
that guidance:
 
Look for consistency in business value. When comparing an on-premises solution against a hosted, or cloud solution, it is common for a property to compare the same software from the same vendor partner. The only tangible difference is where the actual application data will reside; on a server device at the property, or on a server device in a hosted data center facility away from the property. The feature/functionality set of the solution provided in each deployment model should not add or detract from the overall business value.

Consider budgetary shifts. One of the major considerations for all parties involved is financially shifting from Cap-Ex to Op-Ex, often a new line of thinking for the IT department. Using cloud solutions, upfront costs are dramatically reduced and a monthly (or yearly) “rental or license” cost is increased. A shift in resource focus (e.g., from infrastructure engineers to cloud developers) is also an important consideration.

Communicate roles with the solution provider. The shift in resources also creates a heavy emphasis on vendor management. It is important to create an understanding of who is responsible for certain tasks, such as support or outages. Ultimately, a thorough analysis of total cost of ownership over a long period is required to gauge the financial changes that may result from a cloud deployment.

Risk management. Risk changes in a hosted environment. A data breach, for example, is perhaps a greater concern in a multi-property hosted scenario, where there is data about many more customers to be stolen than in any single site. This risk factor may be offset by the presumed greater expertise in system administration, security and monitoring expected in a professional data center operation.

Other concepts detailed in this document include: effects of selling a property, time to market, data ownership and recovery, identity management, service level agreements (SLAs), reporting and compliance, scalability and more.

To access HTNG’s “Above Property Considerations,” or for further information, visit www.htng.org or contact Patrick Dunphy, Manager, Workgroups and IT, at [email protected].