When Hyatt Hotels was ready to replace BlackBerry phones it deemed “archaic,” it turned to Windows Phone over iPhone and Android. Now, corporate managers and executives edit documents on the phones by using the same Microsoft Office 365 applications
that they use everywhere else. Hotel staff has successfully tested the phones for line-of-business apps such as check-in service. And total cost of ownership has declined by 33 percent.
The only continent without a Hyatt Hotels hotel or resort is Antarctica; nearly 500 Hyatt facilities are located around the rest of the world. The extent of that highly dispersed network of facilities requires Hyatt to maintain an equally extensive network
for communications and collaboration.
Executives might work at the company’s Chicago headquarters one day and visit hotels in Asia the next. Managers and other staff might be based at a single hotel, yet work largely or entirely without desks or desktop computers. They all need communications
technology that they can access wherever they go.
That makes effective mobile communications and collaboration a must. But Hyatt was having uneven success meeting that need using its RIM BlackBerry phones. Employees couldn’t use them to connect to the calendars of their colleagues or to the corporate directory,
limiting their ability to schedule meetings—and even identify the colleagues with whom they wanted to communicate.
||We can make changes on-the-go to spreadsheets and presentations. And the interoperability between desktop and Windows Phone is seamless.
| Mike Blake
Global CIO, Hyatt Hotels
To begin to address its communications and collaboration challenges, Hyatt replaced its Lotus Notes email system with Microsoft Office 365. With that move, Hyatt gained a cloud-based set of collaboration and productivity tools, including Microsoft Office, SharePoint
Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online. Hyatt executives, hotel staff, and salespeople all gained anytime, anywhere access to the documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other files that they had always used, except in one place: the mobile phones that
were so essential to communications at Hyatt.
Hyatt might have bought third-party software to help run its Microsoft software on its BlackBerry phones, but that would have required “a multitude of tests” and an extra layer of management to compensate for the lack of native interoperability, according
to Armand Rabinowitz, Director of IT Innovation for Hyatt Hotels. Androids and iPhones would also have required additional integration and management expense. Only one type of phone met the company’s need to extend the reach of the desktop and its essential
applications to the mobile world: Windows Phone. “Only Windows Phone was built to work best with our existing IT investment in Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online,” says Rabinowitz. “We knew that Microsoft would keep updates
to its software in sync with Windows Phone. And our in-house developers could develop for it using their existing skills.”
The company began by deploying 2,300 phones from manufacturers including Dell, Samsung, and Nokia. At first, the phones were used exclusively within Hyatt’s corporate organization, including sales, finance, operations, and IT. But now employees in every
part of the company are using them, according to Mike Blake, Global CIO for Hyatt Hotels. “We’re seeing more adoptions of these phones every day,” says Blake. “Word of mouth is spreading quickly. Windows Phone is going to be an informal standard at Hyatt.”
Staff in the finance and operations departments, for example, use the interoperability between Office 365 and Windows Phone to send spreadsheets, presentations, and documents that can now reach their colleagues—and be edited—on their mobile phones. Hyatt
supports the security of its data through Exchange ActiveSync security policies.
Web conferences, with features such as desktop sharing and white boarding—are starting to replace audio-bridge teleconferencing at Hyatt. Hyatt is also testing the phones for custom, line-of-business needs. In one test, a guest check-in app succeeded in
shortening the time required to check in guests.
Hyatt is using Windows Phone to deliver familiar Microsoft applications to the mobile environment, to extend the multiplatform capability of custom apps, and to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) by 33 percent.
Extends Desktop Productivity to Mobile Environment
Hyatt executives now have what they wanted: a mobile phone that contributes to increased productivity. “The exchange of information on a real-time basis, consistently and reliably, is key to being competitive,” says George Gudgeon, Vice President of
Global Financial Shared Services at Hyatt Hotels. “Including employees in that exchange wherever they are is crucial to that competitiveness. That’s why extending our Microsoft applications to Windows Phone is so valuable.”
Blake agrees. “We can make changes on-the-go to spreadsheets and presentations,” he says. “And the interoperability between desktop and Windows Phone is seamless.”
Windows Phone users at Hyatt also can look up any of the 40,000 employees on the company’s global address list, schedule meetings, and review schedules, all without the need for a desk and a PC.
Minimizes Development Needed for Custom Phone Apps
Blake also thinks Windows Phone will facilitate software development at the company. “The wonderful thing about the Windows operating system is that we don’t have to develop specific apps for Windows Phone,” he says. “If we deploy a Windows solution
in corporate or in our hotels, we know it will work with Windows Phone. We’re not adding steps to development or testing.”
Reduces TCO by 33 Percent
The time and cost to manage Windows Phone is less than Hyatt has seen with other phones. For example, there’s no extra server to manage as there is for BlackBerry phones, and Hyatt hasn’t experienced the periodic outages—from an hour to a day—that it
experienced with BlackBerry, which were typically accompanied by a spike in support calls.
This lack of overhead; the saving on third-party software licensing for high-quality Microsoft Office document viewing and editing on iOS, Android, and RIM; and reduced hardware costs constitute a reduction in total cost of ownership of 33 percent by moving
to Office 365 and Windows Phone, according to Rabinowitz.
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