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Rob Jones
Written by Rob Jones
November 15, 2017

5 Technology Platform Characteristics That All Hospitality IT Leaders Require

For any hospitality company by now, it’s understood that business decisions have to be led by real data. The more pertinent question in place is around how fast and easily leaders can access it, and then act on it.

With this in mind, real-time reporting is just a given. No matter where the data comes from as it's integrated into a company’s technology platform, it should be available to business leaders whenever they need it to give them a clearer picture of what’s happening in the business. It should lend them insight on what can be done to make the business better.

 

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Beyond this necessary level of clarity and agility, what else do technology leaders in hospitality organizations look for in a technology platform? What elements do they require of a tech platform to help them streamline a business to make it as resilient as possible during a great time of technology-driven change?

Here are 5 characteristics of technology platforms that hospitality industry IT leaders need to consider when looking to invest in business technology.

1. Based on economy of scale

Scalability is a key factor in evolving a technology platform. As mentioned and is well-understood, emerging technology is changing the industry at a rapid pace, with new sources of data and innovative applications opening up new vistas for strategists to better position their organizations. A big part of this is because of the cloud, where being able to expand operations and functions quickly and securely is changing the game for the hospitality sector. 

This is because cloud-based infrastructure allows for the use of potentially hundreds of thousands of servers that allow organizations greater elasticity to expand as needed without taking on undue costs to do so. Taking advantage of this economy of scale when it comes to increasing the range of processing, testing, and storage, means that businesses can adapt to changing consumer demands much faster and more affordably than ever before. This has enormous competitive implications.

2. Balanced between customer-facing functionality and back-of-house support

For the hospitality industry, any technology must help to bridge the traditional gap between back office and customer-facing aspects of the business. A balance must be struck between order taking, menu management, reporting on food costs, labor expenditures, and other vital operational functions. Any technology platform worth investing in should make these functions seamless and interoperable. They have to talk to each other. 

What comes out of that should translate directly into a greater sense of clarity for everyone. This should include the guest in the location as much as the data analyst at head office, touching on improving the guest experience as much as it does on more coherent analysis. The key end product should always be clearer insights on who the customer is and what they want, and on the strengths and weaknesses of how the business can deliver those things best.

3. Seamless, with flexible integration potential

Just as infrastructure must be flexible and scalable, a technology platform should also be easily inclusive of external applications as the needs of consumers drive change in an organization. API-based systems that easily connect with specialized apps like loyalty programs and emerging payment methods is a big part of that equation. So does the recent emergence of IoT.

All of the above point to the idea that a technology platform should be approached and planned as if it’s a living thing that must grow and change as the world around it changes. When customer expectations shift, the capacity to easily adapt to them must be that much greater.

4. Secure environments for data

There has never been a more exciting and more terrifying era than today when it comes to data security. Part of the excitement quotient is how much more data business have to drawn upon to know what their customers want. Yet, that creates a greater potential for breaches, too. Hospitality IT professionals know this very well, being a part of a data-rich industry that is routinely targeted by cybercriminals

Any worthy technology platform should set a high benchmark for being able to help teams manage a safe and secure environment for sensitive business data. Working with a third-party SaaS provider, data security becomes a concerted effort, not one that leaves an organization to face threats in isolation. When security issues are considered, strong partnerships with the experts are even more important to success than ever before. A technology platform should fit within this paradigm, too.

5. Supportive of actionable strategy

Collecting and storing data efficiently and securely is one thing. Being able to examine it whenever and wherever it’s needed is another. This is a vital characteristic for a technology platform, particularly in an industry that is both highly competitive and fast-paced at the same time. What’s needed is a platform with fewer limitations for business leaders to access, interpret, and action all incoming data no matter where they are and on what device.

 

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Cloud-based technology is practically defined by this characteristic, meeting the now universal expectation of reporting access by mobile device to deliver up-to-date information. This means that business leaders are supported by a platform that’s always on, and delivers a level of coherence to suggest immediate action; adjustments to food ordering, scheduling, new promotional ideas, and more.

A platform for success

The pace for change in the hospitality industry has been rapid, particularly over the last few years. The requirements for technology platforms land on very specific areas to support that pace. 

Tech platforms need to scale and grow. They need to help businesses maintain their integrity vis-à-vis secure business data. And they need to help operations and IT management provide the right information and the right time to help executives forge a strategic path.   

How does your current platform support your need to stay competitive and profitable?

We’d love to hear your story about how you plan to help develop your company’s technology platform.

LET'S TALK

 

 

 

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