Published on 05-Nov-2013
"The Tivoli framework allows us to precisely map networks and communications between devices and immediately intercept a faulty process or miscommunication." - Francisco Martinez, consulting director, Swisscom Hospitality Services
Swisscom Hospitality Services
Cloud Computing, Cloud & Service Management, Integrated Service Management & Security Framework
Swisscom Hospitality Services is a division of Swisscom Ltd. The company provides technology solutions and managed IT services to the hotel industry worldwide.
Swisscom Hospitality Services needed to proactively monitor, manage and maintain complex, diverse network environments to meet hotelier customers’ demands for near 100 percent guest service reliability.
After replacing a proprietary network management system with a family of IBM® Tivoli® software, Swisscom provides customers with visibility into network reliability and service level agreement compliance.
Swisscom has moved from reactive to proactive network support and asset management, helping the company deliver 99.8 percent network reliability to customers.
Swisscom Hospitality Services is a division of Swisscom Ltd. The company provides technology solutions and managed IT services to the hotel industry worldwide. Swisscom Hospitality Services has a staff of approximately 300 hotel IT specialists.
Escalating customer expectations
Virtually every high-profile hotel chain or group today seeks to define its brand experience for potential guests, in part based on seamless in-room, public-area and conference-area connectivity to high-speed Internet, IP television and Internet telephony services. This growing focus on the importance of reliable interactivity means hoteliers are paying more attention to the technology that supports it. They need to ensure the availability not only of guest-facing services, but also of back-office operational systems, and they are setting expectations high for their IT service providers, with service level agreements (SLAs) requiring virtually 100 percent availability.
Swisscom, which services numerous hotel chains and more than 2,000 hotels worldwide, was using a set of proprietary and market applications to monitor customers’ underlying technology and networks, each application specific to a particular operational need, such as ticketing, monitoring, fault analysis and IT management. Systematically monitoring service availability and guaranteeing the support of all network devices for every possible new customer became a major development and maintenance challenge.
“Every hotel has its own DNA, its own network of servers, routers and access points. Our existing framework had limited scalability and flexibility; we’d have to essentially rebuild the whole toolset for each customer,” says Francisco Martinez, consulting director for Swisscom. “We also lacked integration along [the] network management value chain. There was a disconnect between our system monitoring application and our service request and incident management applications, for instance.”
Shifting the network management paradigm
Seeking to position itself as an IT services provider that could manage comprehensive hotel networks and infrastructures at a consistently high level on a global basis, Swisscom decided that it needed to build a network management framework comprised of off-the-shelf applications, and it deployed a suite of IBM Tivoli software tools as the foundation of that framework.
IBM Tivoli Netcool®/OMNIbus software provides the company with near-real-time event-management capabilities and visibility into its two network operations centers. Swisscom customers also use the tool to understand, at a glance, network performance regionally or by site. IBM Tivoli Network Manager and IBM Tivoli Monitoring software enable Swisscom to see the status of each of the several hundred devices in each network and to diagram critical relationships between devices. IBM Asset Management for IT (now IBM SmartCloud® Control Desk) software allows Swisscom to manage the full lifecycle of all devices installed in hotel environments and help customers plan for asset maintenance and upgrades.
“In the hotel industry, network management has always been reactive, where the customer would call their IT service provider to report a problem. We wanted the ability to proactively manage and resolve an issue before the hotel even realized it existed,” says Mr. Martinez. “The Tivoli framework allows us to precisely map networks and communications between devices and immediately intercept a faulty process or miscommunication, and [it] allow[s] us to provide a process-compliant environment adaptable to each customer’s network.”
Providing customers with unprecedented network transparency
Mr. Martinez believes that such standardized Tivoli software-driven capabilities were vital factors in leading Hong Kong-based Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group to select Swisscom as the network services provider for its hotels in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
“The Tivoli tools allowed us to listen to the customer and partner with them to focus on customizing our services to comply with the brand’s SLA requirements,” he says. “Mandarin Oriental warrants their service availability, guaranteeing service superior to any comparable hotel, so they weren’t asking us, ‘how fast are you going to react when I call you with a problem?’ It was, ‘how are you going to avoid the problem in the first place?’ That proactive approach is pioneering in the hotel industry.”
Within the parameters established by those SLAs, Swisscom worked with Paul Missen, vice president of technology for Mandarin Oriental EMEA, to build and deploy Alert Care, a problem identification and resolution initiative with the Tivoli software tools at its core. In addition to monitoring hotel networks, Alert Care also monitors other critical areas, like Wi-Fi infrastructure, daily backups and hotel bandwidth.
Using the transparency and detailed reporting capabilities facilitated by the Tivoli tools, Swisscom, Mr. Missen and the IT directors at each hotel view near-real-time snapshots of these areas and analyze incidents and performance trends down to the device level. This lets them identify the root causes for recurrent incidents, which enables them to continuously improve the network configuration, and as a direct result, the user experience.
“Our hotel IT directors used to be blind to what was going on with their network. With Tivoli they now see the issues that are being dealt with by Swisscom, potential issues emerging and past issues,” says Mr. Missen. “I get a breakdown every month of all the proactive and reactive items that have come up in every hotel for every Alert Care module, and there is nothing on the reactive side that concerns me at all. We are looking at one to two reactive calls per month per site, if that. When it comes to being proactive and continuously improving our service delivery, Alert Care is critical, and Tivoli is very much key to that initiative.”
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© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America November 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, IBM SmartCloud, Tivoli, and Netcool are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.