What steps should hotels take to align business and technology objectives? The answer is easy -- hire an "IT pathfinder."
That's one of the key conclusions in a new white paper from Amadeus, written by Robert Cole of hotel consultancy RockCheetah.
The white paper, entitled "Transform your growth strategy now: Remove barriers between hotel technology, marketing and operations," suggests that if hospitality companies establish an IT pathfinder position, they may increase "alignment between corporate business and technology objectives, identify appropriate solutions and implement the initiatives that create the greatest economic value."
And, the IT pathfinder job description?
- "Understand how the operating environment impacts key business drivers;"
- Tie "information technology initiatives to corporate strategy;"
- "Road map methods to create economic value from IT initiatives."
The white paper delves into technology strategies for the next couple of years and seeks to provide guidance for "bridging business and technology objectives" for hoteliers who "rely heavily on information technology to drive business growth" as the economy improves.
While hotel IT leaders are sifting through issues such as cloud computing and mobile platforms, they also face the challenge of simultaneously managing central reservation systems and property management systems, the white paper says.
Among the white paper's conclusions:
... CIOs will rely on the virtualization of IT operations to drive cost savings while utilizing cloud computing and Software as a Service at all levels of the business to improve operational efficiencies and improve guest engagement. Marketing and operational teams will need to capitalize on new technologies to further empower guests to customize and control their stays and help customer-contact personnel satisfy the needs of an increasingly demanding guest.
And, who will resolve the competing demands of CIOs, CMOs and COOs?
The IT pathfinder, of course, according to the white paper. It states:
The IT pathfinder plays a critical role in helping companies succeed in a post-recessionary environment. The secret is working closely with operations and marketing teams to better communicate needs in a structure that is more easily assimilated by technologists, , and rationalizing technology initiatives through alignment with business metrics. By establishing the role of IT pathfinder, hotel industry CIOs, CMOs and COOs alike will benefit from increased organizational alignment by closing the gap between business and technology objectives.
It is not mentioned in the white paper, but perhaps standard gear for a pathfinder should include a flak jacket.
You can sign up here to get a copy of the white paper.