Published on 18-Dec-2009
"Long term, IBM Cognos TM1 is the basis for how we run our company. Whether it’s our operations, sales and marketing teams, or other departments, we run the company based on numbers that are reported in IBM Cognos TM1." - Paul Bushman, Senior Vice President, IT, Interstate Hotels & Resorts
Interstate Hotels & Resorts
Business Analytics, Business Integration, Business Performance Transformation, Performance Management
The IBM Cognos solution was the best for overall functionality and delivering business benefits, including highly intuitive analysis and reporting; ease of use; and the ability to rapidly change models.
Create a base of consistent data throughout the organization, despite changing conditions, and provide broad information access from a single portal.
The IBM Cognos TM1 system provides unmatched real-time insight into complex financial and operational data so hotel operators, owners and finance managers can access important, actionable business data when they need it most.
High reliability with minimal maintenance needed; easy-to-read and create reports; increased access to data from multiple sources; speedy downloads; revised forecasts achieved in a fraction of the previous time.
Interstate Hotels & Resorts is the nation’s largest independent hotel management company, operating more than 225 hotels worldwide with 46,000 rooms in 37 states, the District of Columbia, Russia, India, Mexico, Belgium, Ireland and Canada. As a leading hotel real-estate investor, the company has ownership interests in 55 of its managed hotels, including six wholly-owned assets. Interstate is a preferred operator of all major hotel brands including Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn, Sheraton, Westin, Aloft, Hilton, Hampton Inn, Wyndham, Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza.
With five decades of experience managing full-service, select-service and resort hotels, the company and its 18,500 associates continually exceed guest expectations, ensure associate satisfaction, drive revenue, and maximize profits to consistently deliver superior results to hotel owners.
As a leading third-party management firm of many prestigious hotels and resorts, Interstate needs to stay agile in order to manage its properties effectively on a daily basis and to continue providing hotel owners with the highest level of services necessary to manage their assets and produce results. With the majority of its users being non-technical, Interstate required an easy-to-deploy planning solution with a straightforward user interface that could access multiple data sources and provide a single version of the truth in a timely fashion. In addition, on the heels of a merger that roughly doubled its size, Interstate wanted to be able to analyze operational data better and reduce the amount of time employees spent gathering data in generating internal operations reports.
Prior to implementing IBM® Cognos® TM1, Interstate had to deal with discrepancies and inefficiencies, including duplication of efforts and numerous disparate data sources. Reports were taking too much time and effort to produce, and because they were largely housed in spreadsheets, they were error-prone. Interstate needed to access data in a quicker, more structured manner so it could meet its business needs and increase the efficiency of its reporting.
The company uses the IBM Cognos TM1 solution for reporting on everything from rooms occupied and rooms available to payroll and human resources data, such as recruiting, headcount, and positions open and filled. In fact, even monthly online strategic sales plans use IBM Cognos TM1 for reporting.
With an advanced planning solution, managers realized they would be able to have access to far more complex data quicker than ever before. They also saw they could avoid the silos which spreadsheets tend to cause.
Interstate evaluated several solutions, including SAS and Oracle Hyperion. But in the end, the company chose IBM Cognos TM1 for several reasons, including performance, flexibility, ease of use and the rich user interface.
Interstate started its implementation in 1999, and the initial deployment took only one month, with roughly a half-dozen employees trained to use it initially. Of note, minimal amounts of training were needed at the outset and one person serves as administrator of the system, among his other duties.
Since then, Interstate has steadily increased the amount of users and also created a Web portal to the solution called IHR1. At present, there are nearly 1,000 users who use IHR1, including each hotel’s executive committee, a handful of corporate accounting users, high-level executives from operations and sales and marketing, and even the Chief Financial Officer, who receives reports on a regular basis. In terms of volume, an average of 11,000 reports is pulled each day, with a maximum amount of more than 20,000 reports on any given day.
With IBM Cognos TM1, Interstate is able to create new content very quickly, which has helped improve the efficiency of the business and meet changing market conditions. These reports have empowered users to take action on real-time, trusted data, rather than having to manually generate reports. For example, when Interstate acquires a new hotel, it doesn’t need more IT staff to help administer reporting for that specific property. Because the solution is so easy to adjust, IT administrators can add new data, change models and compile reports based on that new data in short order.
“Long term, IBM Cognos TM1 is the basis for how we run our company,” says Paul Bushman, Senior Vice President, IT, Interstate Hotels & Resorts. “Whether it’s our operations, sales and marketing teams, or other departments, we run the company based on numbers that are reported in IBM Cognos TM1.”
To say Interstate’s operations are more efficient and streamlined due to its use of the solution would be an understatement. Bushman says the system allows Interstate to continually access the most accurate, up-to-date information in a format that is easily digestible, yet highly informative. This is crucial because operating teams, executives and analysts alike review revenue and room occupancy rates on a daily basis, and then make a wide range of forward-looking decisions with these metrics at top of mind. In order to do this in the most efficient way, data must be fully accessible and easy to interpret.
“Before it was all based in Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheets and we had version issues,” Bushman says. “With IBM Cognos TM1, all of our information is in one easily accessible location, where before, getting all this information was a laborious task. Now, it’s really one-stop shopping for all of our operating teams.”
Interstate is also conducting driver-based forecasting down to the general ledger account level based on varying drivers all fully configurable by each hotel. Forecasting is done on a daily basis for rooms and food and beverage. Productivity-based forecasting also takes place for payroll portions of the budget. Flexibility is the key here in allowing each hotel to forecast based upon their specific requirements.
“IBM Cognos TM1 allows us to be nimble, get accurate information and make key decisions that affect our business going forward,” Bushman says.
The long-term success has led Interstate to decide to create more dashboard-based applications available via the Internet and handheld devices so that information can be analyzed continually by various levels of executives. This move, expected to take shape in 2010, will further empower a wider range of managers with actionable information that continues to be consistent and fully up-to-date.
About IBM Cognos BI and Performance Management
IBM Cognos business intelligence (BI) and performance management solutions deliver world-leading enterprise planning, consolidation and BI software, support and services to help companies plan, understand and manage financial and operational performance. IBM Cognos solutions bring together technology, analytical applications, best practices, and a broad network of partners to give customers an open, adaptive and complete performance solution. Over 23,000 customers in more than 135 countries around the world choose IBM Cognos solutions.
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
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