In a time of scarce resources is required caution. It is sometimes astonishing that some experts advocate a level of IT investment that hardly can fit the budgets of distressed companies. Especially now when they are facing diminished demand and significant drops in revenue.
The recent study published by IDeaS, “The Journey to Recovery”, reveals the intention of 42% of the inquired to reduce costs in technology tools.
Curiously the same group of industry leaders asked by the SAS’s company announced the intention to minimise costs with staff significantly, both hourly and salaried (70% and 58% respectively) – which seems a paradox. A logical path for labour costs reduction would be a more intensive usage of technology; by compensating the unavailability of human resources with an increasing level of automation and business processes digitalisation.
Facing this scenario, the number of “quick fixes” that an IT department can implement in a post-COVID environment is determined by the actual richness of the information systems and, above all, the business expertise of the IT leadership.
In a nutshell, three different scenarios exist:
- The company has a modern IT ecosystem and IT leadership with strong business skills. In this scenario, using the platforms to its full extent and adapt the business processes can allow the creation of IT-based solutions fast and at minimal or no cost. In our opinion, the core of these solutions will be focused on empowering the now much more demanding housekeeping operations and portions of the guest journey.
- Companies with very technical IT leadership can face difficulties in looking for the same quick fixes since the knowledge of the business is the key factor to analyse the actual “status quo” and identify opportunities. We believe that this type of company will face more difficulties in taking full advantage of their installed technology base. This limitation can be overcome by the creation of multidisciplinary teams for the post-COVID planning.
- Independent Hotels and small/medium without senior IT leadership will face significant difficulties and most likely will be unable to identify opportunities in their IT ecosystem. Our experience in discussing post-COVID scenarios with similar organisations shows that most of them feel lost and are desperately looking at the marketplace for low-cost solutions that in many cases, do not fit a hotel operation needs properly. Our experience shows that without using external help and having some investment capacity, these hotels and groups will have their business processes and systems adapted minimally with all the negative consequences in guest experience and staff productivity.
In conclusion, we believe that only a limited number of hotel companies will be able to deploy solutions rapidly for the new normal without incurring some level of additional costs and investment.
This article was first published in Hospitalitynet as part of the Technology World Panel.