Having a subscription model to Office 365 allows me to have the latest version of the most required tools available for my employees at an acceptable cost, and eliminates downtime.
Thomas Huber, Corporate Director of IT, TIME Hotels
United Arab Emirates-based TIME Hotels needed a way for its IT organization to stay agile while managing and expanding its upscale properties in Dubai, Sharjah and Luxor and delivering on its mission of "Great Hospitality from Caring People."
Operating five properties in Dubai and one in nearby Sharjah, TIME Hotels has a vision: to reinvent the standard upscale lodging experience through energetic, hands-on leadership and proactive but always respectful service. The company offers both traditional hotel rooms, luxury suites and serviced apartments for extended stays and short-term travel, business or pleasure.
With 430 employees, 140 desktop computers, and 170 users working mostly on-premises, the company relied on an on-premise computing solution, including Microsoft Office and Windows, to support its operations. However, due to the speed with which the company intends to add new properties, ensuring that all employees had the latest version and deploying software at the new sites would have been an impediment to growth. The on-premise solution was also more expensive than what TIME Hotel management wanted to allocate to IT.
The company also wanted to enhance teamwork by making it easier and faster for employees to find and share files and conduct meetings, while still controlling files centrally. TIME Hotels was using Dropbox for sharing large files externally, which was not meeting its needs in terms of security or agility. In addition, its conferencing service did not allow the centralized control needed to ensure compliance with local laws prohibiting VOIP usage across country boundaries.
With these requirements in mind, TIME Hotels searched for a technology solution to support and enhance its exemplary guest services. It has the mandate to run lean so that more resources can be allocated to the focus that will enhance guest services. The company seeks to implement solutions that will work together seamlessly while keeping administrative overhead to a minimum and reducing the use of electric energy and paper.
Given that supporting a growing set of properties requires seamless upgrades, a key aspect of the cloud solution offered by Office 365 and Exchange Online, moving to Office 365 services was a logical solution. "Having a subscription model to Office 365 allows me to have the latest version of the most required tools available for my employees at an acceptable cost, and eliminates downtime," commented Thomas Huber, Corporate Director of IT for TIME Hotels.
The collaboration features in Office 365, particularly SharePoint file sharing and Lync for meetings, provide the teamwork capabilities that Huber sought – with the centralized control that he demands.
Existing computers at TIME Hotels have Office 2007 installed locally. Huber's strategy is to equip new computer purchases with an Office 365 subscription, migrate the other machines over time, and evaluate the use of Office Web Apps for low-level users. "The reason to deploy Office 365 is that, with Office 2007 already in place, we will add the key element of collaboration through SharePoint," Huber noted. "The aim is to eventually reduce our on-premise software applications," he continued. Email has moved to the cloud via Exchange Online. Daily reports and documents that were previously stored on a file server, then sent via email, printed out and thrown away, will now be stored on SharePoint. This makes information easier to locate, saving time for employees.
For meetings, the company will use Lync Online to reduce commuting for meetings among colleagues. "Because country regulations prohibit the use of VOIP across country borders, I appreciate that I can control and prevent this with Lync through Active Directory," Huber added.
Because Office 365 components are designed to work together, the solution keeps the organization agile while improving efficiencies and reducing time wasted for employees, such as searching for files and information. The impact Office 365 has had in reducing paper usage and reliance on servers has met the company's energy conservation needs as well.
TIME Hotels has increased its employees' ability to collaborate and locate the information they need with the scalability and flexibility their IT department requires. The reduced cost allows more revenue to go to enhancing guest services, while integration has also been enhanced.
Improved, Simplified Team Collaboration
According to Huber, TIME Hotels did not have true collaboration prior to Office 365. He has seen two key efficiencies: reducing time wasted in searching for documents and information; and keeping the costs of IT low so that more investment would go to enhancing the guest experience.
Reduce IT Expenditures
TIME Hotels has analyzed the cost benefit of Office 365. "Our Total Cost of Ownership analysis showed that Office 365 components would save approximately 58% over the next five years over what TIME Hotels had on premise," said Jawwad Rehman, MD of Liveroute, the partner working with TIME Hotels on the Office 365 pilot. With Exchange online, there is an additional estimated cost savings of 75% per user over a three year period. Being able to save money as well as remain in compliance with security and legal requirements around VOIP made the solution even more attractive. Office 365 offers incredible value to a great majority of customers in this region, which should be explored."
System Integration without a Premium Price
In the hospitality industry, there are a several specific applications for property management, Catering, Finance, Point of Sales, Yield, and so on. Rather than purchase those applications from a multitude of different manufacturers and have the need to support them with specialized personnel, Huber's focus is better integration vs. best of breed solutions. "At the end of the day, all of the systems have to talk to one another, so Office 365 gives my organization both, Best of Breed and Best Integration"," he remarks.
"Using Office as a subscription helps us to manage guest flow better, and it also maintains shareholder value. We want our employees to have the tools they need to do their job effectively, but we want to focus on guest services rather than administration. Using Office 365, we're not causing any headache, and we have all the technology and Office automation we could possibly ask for."
Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of our most trusted communications and collaboration products-Microsoft SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online-with the latest version of our Office desktop suite and companion web applications for businesses of all sizes.
Office 365 helps save time and money, and it frees up valued resources. Simple to use and easy to administer, it is financially backed by a service level agreement guaranteeing 99 percent reliability. Office 365 features robust security, IT-level phone support, geo-redundancy, disaster recovery, and the business-class privacy controls and standards that you expect from a world-class service provider.
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For more information about TIME Hotels products and services, visit the website at:
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