Hotel group cuts back on software tools

Information Builders Summit: The company behind Radisson and Regent was able to slash its backlog simply by standardising business intelligence tools

Hotels group Carlson is cutting costs by reducing the number of business intelligence tools it is using.

The group, which includes brands Radisson and Regent, had six different sets of business intelligence tools.

But as a result of having multiple systems, requests for business reports were backing up.

Speaking at the Information Builders user conference in Orlando, Florida, Robert Richards, director of Web technologies at Carlson Hospitality Worldwide, said he started the process of reducing the number of tools after deploying Information Builders's Webfocus tools in June last year.

He said: "We went with it because we were trying to eliminate costs around the support of business intelligence tools. We had six different ways of delivering information so we had quite a backlog of requests and we were able to reduce the backlog by 90 percent with this."

Individual managers had bought tools to fix specific business problems but this meant that if the same piece of information had to go out through all the different delivery mechanisms it would have to be rewritten a number of times — which could take days or even weeks.

Richards said: "We had six different tools and we had to maintain programming expertise and training and support and infrastructure — and that's a cost.

"We are still doing the transition — we've removed half of the platforms with the other half [going] in the next year."

The company now has 8,000 users for its portal which provides information to managers at its 900 hotels.

And, although the business users might not see much difference behind the scenes, the company is saving money.

Richards added: "We've got these types of capabilities which the business doesn't see, but it decreases the cost because we have fewer reports to manage."

IDC business analytics software research director, Dan Vesset, said in a large company there are, on average, 10 different business intelligence tools. It is a number most organisations are keen to cut back.

He said: "What is happening at Carlson is not unusual. A third of organisations are consolidating to one standard [and] another third are trying to cut the number of tools they have."