Published on 26-Jun-2012
"The advice and the support we received from IBM were far superior to anybody else. The [IBM representative] told us how the [IBM SmartCloud Enterprise service] works and how the technology meets the specific needs of our industry." - Leigh Hyldon, chief operations officer, PassportScan Ltd.
Travel & Transportation
IBM SmartCloud Enterprise service offers operational efficiencies that lead to competitive advantage
PassportScan Ltd., a provider of hotel applications and solutions, sought a cost-effective alternative to expensive on-site server support to accommodate small-hotel and lodging providers’ needs.
Supported by the IBM® SmartCloud™ Enterprise service, the PassportScan Galaxy Hotel cloud solution quickly deploys standard and customized small-hotel applications without the need for on-site support.
The SmartCloud Enterprise solution reduced PassportScan technical support and programming expenses, resulting in a lower application cost, new market opportunities and doubled revenue projections. To maximize profitability, small and midsize properties are turning to technology to increase staff productivity and occupancy levels. PassportScan Ltd. develops IT solutions for the hotel industry that are tailored to the property’s specific needs in response to the changing travel industry landscape.
Hotel industry trade organizations1, investment tabloids2 and newspapers3 concurrently reported that 2012 is expected to be the beginning of increased occupancy levels and room rates for large hotels. Small, lesser-known hotels are not projected to have the same good fortune. To maximize profitability, small and midsize properties are turning to technology to increase staff productivity and occupancy levels.
PassportScan Ltd. develops IT solutions for the hotel industry that are tailored to the property’s specific needs in response to the changing travel industry landscape. Leigh Hyldon, chief operations officer of PassportScan, describes: “We offer products that deal with issues that the hotel industry faces on a day-to-day basis. Our innovative products are integrated within [a customer’s] existing architecture. However, we also look at the specific needs [of the customer] to streamline its operational performance.” The company’s products provide a paperless, digital check-in system that captures information from a guest’s passport, driver’s license or state- or country-issued identification card.
Exploring cloud computing for small-hotel solutions
For larger customers, PassportScan applications typically reside on the property’s local servers. However, smaller hotels rarely have the server and storage capabilities for data-intensive applications. The solution provider set out to explore new technology options that could efficiently serve the small-hotel segment. PassportScan used its large and medium hotel experiences as it developed its small-hotel services. “One of the main issues that we face with our product is it’s always evolving. We not only listen to our customers but anticipate their needs. As a result, most of our products are server-based,” Mr. Hyldon remarks. As a result, PassportScan was faced with the task of updating numerous individual customer systems. The company had to find a more efficient method of providing superior service for small hotels as it created its product offerings. “We were looking for a way to make changes that would be effectively delivered to all of our clients at the same time. We also wanted the ability [to provide] real-time data access so customers can have data at their fingertips whenever it’s needed,” said Mr. Hyldon. PassportScan looked at cloud computing as a viable way of installing, supporting and upgrading products without the requirement for on-site technical support.
Deporting less capable, competing cloud providers
PassportScan developers investigated several competitive cloud technology solutions. At the conclusion of its research, PassportScan selected the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise service provided by IBM Global Technology Services®. “The advice and the support we received from IBM were far superior to anybody else,” recalled Mr. Hyldon. “The [IBM representative] told us how the [IBM SmartCloud Enterprise service] works and how the technology meets the specific needs of our industry.” PassportScan did not have the same experience with other cloud service providers. “Others were either too generic or didn’t understand what we really wanted to get,” Mr. Hyldon described. “IBM taught us how its product worked and advised us on how we could attain the best results for our products.” Once PassportScan selected its cloud service provider, the company developed a cost-effective solution for the small-hotel market.
Discovering new opportunities through cloud efficiencies
Initially launched within the Italian market, the PassportScan Galaxy Hotel cloud solution is a property management system that provides its IT infrastructure and applications through the SmartCloud Enterprise solution. The application is used to check guests in and out and keep track of their stay at the hotel. “[The Galaxy Hotel cloud solution] is completely tailored since hotels generally collect and use different guest profile information,” explains Mr. Hyldon. The Galaxy Hotel cloud solution takes advantage of the SmartCloud Enterprise service pay-as-you-go pricing model; security-rich, remote access to data through Internet-connected computers; virtual system scalability as data stores grow; and automated application updates implemented without intervention from an on-site IT expert. As a result, hotel proprietors obtain a cost-effective, powerful platform tailored to their business needs. In addition to the efficiencies delivered to its customers, PassportScan integrated the scalable, security-rich SmartCloud Enterprise service into its own operations. “The feeling of safety and security was very important to us, and that’s one of the reasons why we chose IBM,” states Mr. Hyldon. PassportScan uses the SmartCloud Enterprise solution as the backbone of its corporate website and its software license renewals.
Finding a competitive edge through the IBM Cloud
As PassportScan became more adept, the pay-as-you-go payment structure of the SmartCloud Enterprise solution provided a competitive advantage. In lieu of the time-consuming requirements associated with technical support, programmers could focus on integrating cloud capabilities into other services in the PassportScan portfolio. “The capabilities of the IBM Cloud enable our developers to actually work on the development of new products and have the time to anticipate what’s happening in the market.” In addition, the SmartCloud Enterprise solution deployment eliminated startup expenses, application installation, database support and upgrades previously delivered by on-site technical service providers. Service delivery through the IBM Cloud proved significantly more cost-effective. As a result, PassportScan estimates the Galaxy Hotel cloud solution revenue will more than double in 2012. “Using the IBM SmartCloud [Enterprise solution], we’re able to charge on a monthly basis, making it a lot more affordable for the client,” Mr. Hyldon continues, “We’re able to expand our client base considerably. We found a market that previously we probably wouldn’t have been able to tap into.”
● IBM® Global Technology Services®
● IBM SmartCloud™ Enterprise
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Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
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