Call to ac­tion

TIME Ho­tels un­locks harm on is es a world of its busi­ness dif­fer­ent op­por­tu­ni­ties tele­phony sys­tems with newin place into pro­cure­ment one in­te­grated so­lu­tion plat­form with Avaya IP Of­fice

Network Middle East - - CONTENTS / JANUARY 2019 -

Time Ho­tels harmonises its dif­fer­ent tele­phony sys­tems in place into one in­te­grated plat­form with Avaya IP Of­fice

When it came time to up­grade the com­pany’s tele­phony sys­tems, the ob­jec­tive for the IT team at TIME Ho­tels was a set of two re­lated con­sid­er­a­tions: how to har­monise the dif­fer­ent tele­phony brands and sys­tems in place into one co­he­sive plat­form, and se­condly, re­duce both CAPEX and OPEX in re­la­tion to the com­pany’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion needs.

Joseph Fayad, cor­po­rate di­rec­tor, IT at TIME Ho­tels, and his team pon­dered why they had in place an en­ter­prise tele­phony sys­tem while ho­tels’ re­quire­ments, in gen­eral, do not re­quire more than mid-sized sys­tem at a time when tele­phony is shift­ing to­wards be­ing a cost- cen­tre.

With this in mind, it was agreed to im­ple­ment a re­li­able, ef­fi­cient and scal­able mid­mar­ket com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­form stan­dard across the Time Ho­tels port­fo­lio.

Avaya IP Of­fice was an early and pop­u­lar con­tender for the up­grade as most in the IT team, in­clud­ing Fayad, were per­son­ally fa­mil­iar with Avaya’s tech­nol­ogy. Fur­ther dis­cus­sions re­vealed the sub­stan­tial im­prove­ments Avaya has car­ried out on the plat­form in the re­cent past.

Mar­ket stud­ies only con­firmed the pre­vail­ing view­point: in mid-sized prop­er­ties, IP Of­fice hy­brid so­lu­tions can help re­duce around 30% of CAPEX and be­tween 25-30% of OPEX.

The ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the plat­form then helped con­vince man­age­ment to in­vest in IP Of­fice. “When I car­ried out a com­par­i­son of fea­tures be­tween IP Of­fice and the com­peti­tor’s prod­uct we had in place, they were con­vinced the for­mer de­liv­ers the next level of tele­phony tech­nol­ogy,” says Fayad.

Avaya was then in­vited for a trial, which IP Of­fice passed with fly­ing colours, says Fayad.

BUSI­NESS NEED

TIME Ho­tels be­gan op­er­a­tions in 2007, and re­branded to its cur­rent name in 2012. The com­pany’s busi­ness model is to man­age ho­tels on be­half of de­vel­op­ers and own­ers. TIME Ho­tels cur­rently op­er­ates four brands, with eight prop­er­ties cur­rently un­der man­age­ment across the re­gion, and seven projects ex­pected to open in the next one year.

IT’S role is to make the busi­ness run more ef­fi­ciently. An ef­fi­cient com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem takes this role fur­ther by mak­ing the busi­ness dy­namic enough to adapt to fu­ture tech­nol­ogy evo­lu­tion, says Fayad.

TIME Ho­tels de­ployed Avaya IP Of­fice and IP Of­fice Con­tact Cen­tre. The

group has mul­ti­ple prop­er­ties run­ning on the IP Of­fice so­lu­tion and has a cen­tralised reser­va­tion of­fice, which is man­aged with IP Of­fice Con­tact Cen­tre.

“We have so far im­ple­mented Avaya IP Of­fice at three prop­er­ties and in the process of up­grad­ing the other prop­er­ties to the same,” says Fayad.

The ho­tel group had al­ready be­gan cen­tral­is­ing its IT and util­is­ing shared re­sources by lever­ag­ing its data cen­tre at this time. A pri­vate cloud plat­form had been in place for a while, en­abling the com­pany to adopt pub­lic cloud-based ap­pli­ca­tions such as Of­fice 365 and Iaas ser­vices.

Luck­ily, IP Of­fice of­fers mul­ti­ple de­ploy­ment op­tions, where the sys­tem can be de­ployed on Avayapro­vided servers or a cus­tomer’s vir­tu­alised en­vi­ron­ment. It also sup­ports a cloud-based de­ploy­ment.

There was con­cern ear- ly on with rec­on­cil­ing IP and ana­logue sys­tems, says Fayad. “Most of the sys­tems to­day around work on IP. How­ever, hy­brid tele­phony is very im­por­tant in the ho­tel in­dus­try, so in­te­grat­ing IP and ana­logue sys­tems re­mained a con­cern with some ven­dors.”

How­ever, IP Of­fice sup­ports IP, dig­i­tal, ana­logue and wire­less end­points out of the box, de­signed to cater to di­verse cus­tomer re­quire­ments.

TIME Ho­tels has in fact adopted a hy­brid tele­phony sys­tem, in­clud­ing ana­logue phone sys­tems used for guest rooms and IP phones for ad­min­is­tra­tion staff, ex­plains Fayad.

The com­pany also wanted to en­sure mo­bil­ity, both in­side the ho­tels and for ex­ec­u­tives trav­el­ling across the re­gion.

Avaya’s One-x, built into the IP Of­fice, of­fers an app which al­lows users to utilise their own mo­bile phones as a desk­top ex­ten­sion wher­ever they are. “We have 100% wire­less cover­age in all the fa­cil­i­ties. So the abil­ity to use the app in­side the ho­tels amongst em­ploy­ees

Cloud helps us in our ne­go­ti­a­tions with prop­erty and ul­ti­mately ma­te­ri­alise con­tracts through bet­ter ROI.”

KIT LIST

The fact that we were able to unify dis­crete tele­phone sys­tems to a cen­tralised plat­form was very cru­cial for the Group.” Joseph Fayad, cor­po­rate di­rec­tor, IT, Time Ho­tels

as a mo­bile ex­ten­sion has saved us a lot of money on hard­ware,” says Fayad.

There was need to es­tab­lish a call cen­tre as the busi­ness grows, says Fayad. For the con­tact cen­tre, the team wanted to go be­yond a tra­di­tional ba­sic set-up and de­ploy an ad­vanced sys­tem with all the bells and whis­tles. One of the ma­jor ben­e­fits of the IP Of­fice is that it has an in­te­grated con­tact cen­tre, unique among mid­scale prod­ucts.

“We are now rolling out the call cen­tre on the new Avaya plat­form. It has all the fea­tures you would ex­pect in an en­ter­prise ver­sion of a call cen­tre but at a much lower cost. Its mo­bil­ity ca­pa­bil­i­ties and flex­i­bil­ity are an added, and much ap­pre­ci­ated, bonus,” says Fayad.

IP Of­fice con­tact cen­tre fea­tures in­clude call-rout­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties to min­imise hold times, de­liv­er­ing guest calls quicker even dur­ing

peak pe­ri­ods. It also sup­ports multi-chan­nel func­tion­al­ity for voice, email, fax and web chat.

BUSI­NESS BEN­E­FIT

The first ben­e­fit of de­ploy­ing Avaya is that most of the users were al­ready used to Avaya tele­phony prod­ucts, with the brand ubiq­ui­tous in the mar­ket, so the team did not have to start from scratch, says Fayad.

Tele­phony is still con­sid­ered as a cost cen­tre, but the Avaya sys­tem has made a big dif­fer­ence for TIME Ho­tels in cost sav­ings, first in new de­ploy­ments, as well as in up­grades, says Fayad. “The new tech­nol­ogy is so flex­i­ble in terms of the ini­tial roll- out and es­pe­cially in the way it has en­hanced mo­bil­ity amongst our em­ploy­ees.”

“For IT ad­min­is­tra­tion, the fact that we were able to unify dis­crete tele­phone sys­tems to a cen­tralised plat­form was very cru­cial in en­abling bet­ter sup­port to both our clients and em­ploy­ees and pro­vide ser­vices faster,” ex­plains Fayad.

The cloud al­lows the ho­tel sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture, says Fayad. “Cloud helps us in pre­sent­ing our busi­ness model and ul­ti­mately ma­te­ri­alise con­tracts through bet­ter ROI. Cloud also gives us much flex­i­bil­ity in terms of IT in- ter­ven­tion and sup­port and hu­man re­source op­ti­mi­sa­tion. Equally im­por­tant is the high avail­abil­ity ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the prod­uct when on the cloud,” he adds.

With Avaya IP Of­fice, users can eas­ily im­ple­ment au­to­mated ser­vices in­clud­ing wake-up calls, reser­va­tion re­minders, in­for­ma­tion on ho­tel ser­vices, lo­cal at­trac­tions, etc.

“Con­nec­tiv­ity to­day is

a crit­i­cal as­pect of the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. It is very es­sen­tial to have proper in­fra­struc­ture to pro­vide the re­li­able ser­vices our guests need,” says Fayad.

The up­grade of the tele­phony is part of a wider tech­nol­ogy up­grade at the ho­tel group. “The next step is to place the call cen­tre onto the cloud, where it will make life even eas­ier in terms of licensing, hard­ware ad­min in­ter­ven­tion and avail­abil­ity,” says Fayad.

Part of the on­go­ing IT trans­for­ma­tion at the group is a re­cent relaunch of the cor­po­rate web­site, aimed at us­ing the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to drive more online busi­ness. TIME Ho­tels is also work­ing to move its prop­erty man­age­ment sys­tem (PMS) onto the cloud us­ing its data cen­tre.

Also, in the pipe­line are plans for a mo­bile app for guests. The com­pany has al­ready in­tro­duced mo­bile and online check-in for guests with the app a log­i­cal next step in the evo­lu­tion. “We are look­ing to in­cor­po­rate the app and us­ing guest mo­biles to com­mu­ni­cate with the ho­tel when they are within the ho­tel premises,” ex­plains Fayad.

TIME Ho­tels is at hand to add dozens of prop­er­ties un­der man­age­ment in the next few years. Avaya can grow with them: Avaya IP Of­fice scales up to 3,000 users and 150 lo­ca­tions in a multi-site net­work with re­siliency. And IP Of­fice Con­tact Cen­tre can sup­port up to 250 agents.

The next stage is to eval­u­ate how to lever­age au­to­ma­tion and ma­chine learn­ing tech­nolo­gies are now start­ing to take precedence in the in­dus­try, says Fayad.

Time Ho­tels is at hand to add dozens of prop­er­ties un­der man­age­ment in the next few years. Avaya can grow with them as IP Of­fice scales up to 3,000 users and 150 lo­ca­tions.

Con­nec­tiv­ity to­day is a crit­i­cal as­pect of the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try and it is very es­sen­tial to have proper in­fra­struc­ture to pro­vide re­li­able ser­vices for guests.

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