There has never been more pressure on IT in hospitality than there currently is. Be it with the innovations to the guest experience (e.g. self-check ins, in-room technology, etc) or behind the scenes managing 3rd party solutions that work. Competition is rife, standards are high and moreover, IT must be stable. IT has a lot on their plates!
Traditionally, all IT would be serviced by internal staff, not just the big picture work such as projects, strategy and so on, but also the more menial support of break-fix and user issues. However, for reasons we will go in to, there has been a shift away from this model. The main drivers being:
- It’s costlier – typically by ~25 %.
- It absorbs IT leaders time, pulling them into management, break-fix and assistance. A waste of a valuable resource which would better benefit the business by working on the big picture work such as developing the strategy, project implementation, and driving the business forward.
- Can be impractical to run a 24*7*365 shift coverage – potentially may need to employ more staff to cover the 24*7 shift rota than resource is required.
- You wouldn’t employ your own mechanics to service the company cars, so why here. IT Leaders don’t have the time to figure out how to run a support centre when they are focusing on how to drive their own business forward.
- IT departments are being tasked with more projects for business change, putting a real strain on their resource.
Emerging/New Model & Benefits
Because of these challenges, the industry has seen a huge shift towards leveraging IT Support partners in predominantly two different models:
- Internal IT Leaders. External IT Infrastructure and User level support.
- Internal IT Leaders and Infrastructure Support. External User level support.
Both above models have proven to be effective solutions to the challenges raised above. This is what Dan Morley had to say on the matter (Head of IT Infrastructure and Service Delivery, Village Hotels and KSL Resorts):
I do not need to get involved with support if a serious escalation arises I am always kept informed in a timely manner. This allows me to focus on the bigger picture delivering and adding real value to the business.
Separate to solving the traditional model’s challenges, IT Leaders have fed back that they also recognise the benefits of:
- Access to a wider knowledge/skill pool.
- No worry over staff churn and training.
- Potential for more simultaneous tasks.
- Working with a partner who has wider industry knowledge- exposure to other hospitality businesses, vendors, and best practices.
- Project assistance- access to staff for roll-outs; consultation/white-boarding from specialists in different fields, assistance on planning calls/meetings with 3rd parties, and project management. This gives IT Leaders more elasticity/scalability for projects and changing requirements.
I have studied this shift first hand as I work at CMS Group (the fastest growing Hospitality IT support company in the UK). Our model is simple, we manage all your IT support (24*7*365, nationwide) to release your IT team to really deliver for your business by driving strategy/innovation, and improving costs. Clients we work with include:
- Village Hotels
- Malmaison / Hotel du Vin
- Apex Hotels
- Iconic Luxury Hotels
- The Belfry
- Cameron House, etc
I’d love to hear from you if you have any points to add, or if you would like to discuss this in more detail. You can reach out to me via: