Business Intelligence: 
How Dashboards Drive Profitability

Is your business running hot or cold?  Check the dashboard


 
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By Cam Troutman, June 2007

Hospitality companies are implementing business Intelligence (BI) systems at a rapid pace, with top performers including Starwood, Extended Stay America, Sage Hospitality, Ashford Hospitality, Merritt Hospitality, and Peabody Hotel Group relying heavily on the accurate data analysis for running their operations.  BI systems set a magnifying glass over all areas of a company’s performance management reporting and unlock the reasons behind the numbers.  That insight helps hotel management maximize revenue, minimize expenses and increase profitability with informed, data-rich decision making.

The term ‘business intelligence’ refers to a broad category of business management software applications and technologies for gathering, storing, analyzing and providing access to operating data that enables enterprise users to make better business decisions. BI applications encompass decision support, query and reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP) and data mining. 

Now, the next generation of business intelligence is here.  The newest BI tools take informed decision making to the next level with on-screen dashboards.  Dashboards are flexible graphic displays that communicate complex information more quickly for rapid response to changes in performance.  While traditional reporting uses cross tab spreadsheets that require line by line searches for specific information, dashboards enable quicker, more confident decision making by translating numerical information from multiple corporate systems into easily understood, visually rich presentations.  Gauges, maps, charts and other graphical elements show multiple results in a visual format that frees managers from cumbersome hardcopy reports to save them time. 

BI Dashboard – ‘head’s up display’ of performance

What makes hotel operators and management companies unique is how they direct their enterprises – every company establishes its own performance indicators to manage by.  Business intelligence dashboards can display a customized data screen designed for each company which enables managers to focus on their own specific data set to guide their operation.  Multi-property hotel groups gain the greatest value from executive dashboards because dashboards provide a 50,000-foot view of an entire hotel portfolio across regions, flags and segments – like a heads-up display of global operations.  For example, underperforming properties or regions may come up red, others in green so executives can easily identify areas that require action.  This type of clear graphic exception reporting is faster to use and more detailed than any previous technology and lets executives act instantly where necessary.

Among the top BI providers, Cognos Incorporated (NASDAQ: COGN) is the most widely used by hospitality companies, and Cognos’ newest Version 8 release delivers powerful dasboarding capabilities.  In our market, third-party hospitality specialists like Aptech Computer Systems have added their extensive knowledge of hotel related systems and operations to Cognos’ business intelligence and corporate performance management solutions.  This combination produces an application with world-class functionality and hospitality-specific interfaces and metrics.  Some of Aptech’s Execuvue licensees include Concord Hotels, Strand Development, Innkeepers Hospitality Management, Sandals Resorts, HI Development, Highpointe Hotel Corporation, ZMC Hotels, CHIP Hospitality and Dolce International 
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What separates true BI systems from simple data-mining tools is their ability to gather and analyze data from many different systems.  A true business intelligence system is a free-standing data warehouse that captures, standardizes and stores information from separate applications for analysis, reporting and graphic presentation and dashboards.  In the hospitality industry, BI systems also access data from sources outside the enterprise like Smith Travel Research and PKF cost numbers, and combine them with in-house metrics like occupancy, budgets, guest satisfaction, labor expenses and other measures to create a unified picture of a property’s performance as well as its surrounding business environment. 

With the introduction of business intelligence dashboards hospitality companies have a tool to condense the stack of daily corporate reporting into a format that makes the most efficient use of an executive’s time.  It is simply a better, more effective way to leverage important operating data for faster decisions – and higher profits. 

For more information on Business Intelligence Dashboards, 
please visit Aptech at HITEC booth 525
in Orlando June 25 – 28 

Cam Troutman is director of sales for Aptech Computer Systems.  He may be reached at info@aptech-inc.com


 
Contact:

Aptech Computer Systems
Jill Wilder, Vice President
135 Delta Drive 
Pittsburgh, PA 15238 
Phone: 800-245-0720 or (412) 963-7440
Email:  vueinfo@aptech-inc.com
http://www.aptech-inc.com

Media Contact:
Julie Keyser-Squires
Softscribe Inc.
Julie@softscribeinc.com
(404)256-5512
http://www.softscribeinc.com
 


 
Also See Aptech Computer Systems Launches Innvue; Increases Multi-Property Data Gathering Capabilities; Innvue provides web-based data capture, eliminates manual spreadsheets / June 2007
Multi-Flag Operator Leverages Shared Intelligence for Centralized Financial Reporting, ROI for Owners Boykin Management Company uses enterprise-wide Web platform to fine-tune property performance for ownership success / June 2007
Multi-Flag Operators Support Growth with Centralized Systems, Partner with Tech Provider; PCH Hotels & Resorts and Charter One Hotels & Resorts maintain steady growth with scalable corporate systems / May 2007
Aptech's ASP-Based Accounting Software in High Demand by Chains, Properties; Saves properties money, eliminates system responsibility / March 2007
Extended Stay Hotels Installs Aptech's Execuvue Business Intelligence for 681 Properties; Aptech BI system helps lower operating costs, boosts value / Februrary 2007
Sage Hospitality Resources Satisfies Owners, Associates and Guests for Portfolio Growth; 48-Property Sage Combines Financial Metrics with Guest Information for Real-Time Budgets, Forecasting to Boost Property Performance / January 2007
Aptech Blasts Past 2,500-Property Milestone; Hospitality business intelligence becomes a mainstream “must-have” business solution / January 2007
Konover Hotel Corporation, Boykin Management Select Aptech Financial Systems; Konover's 20 properties and 10 Boykin hotels to standardize on Aptech financial platform / November 2006
Merritt Hospitality Installs Aptech's Market-Leading Business Intelligence Solutions; Merritt uses BI solutions to gather, analyze daily data from 31 properties; eyes growth and $500 million in acquisitions annually / August 2006
Aptech’s Data Manager Automates Multi-Property Information Gathering; Replaces Manual Spreadsheets, Centralizes Financial Data for Faster Decisions / June 2006
At Pinnacle Hotel Management, GM Entrepreneurs and Centralized Accounting Support Growth; When the corporate office handles / May 2006
Benchmark Selects Aptech’s Customized Software Solutions for 33 Properties / March 2006
It is 10am: Do You Know How Much Money Your Owners Made Last Night? Strand Development Company Does; Multi-flag operator provides customized owner financials, forecasting techniques with dashboard business intelligence hotel software / February 2006
Former Wyndham-Controlled Hotels Install Profitvue? Back Office to Improve Accounting / January 2006
Sentry Hospitality Installs Aptech ASP Centralized Accounting / October 2005
36-Property Hersha Hospitality Trust Selects Market Leader Aptech / June 2005
Aptech Announces Targetvue; Automates Enterprise Planning and Budgeting; Targetvue is Newest Application for Driving Growth Goals, Profitability for Owners and Operators / June 2005
Ashford Hospitality Trust Selects Aptech for 54-Property REIT / June 2005
Winner’s Circle: Interstate Hotels & Resorts Teams with Trusted Suppliers to Deliver Security, Profitability to Owners / December 2004
ARAMARK Harrison Lodging Grows Conference Center Niche Through Marketing, Services and Strong Financial Reporting / October 2004
Midscale Operators Navigate with Centralized Business Intelligence, Enterprise Accounting; Use 2/3 Less Accounting Staff / June 2004
Aptech Computer Systems Completes Rollout of its Profitvue® ASP Enterprise Back Office Accounting System for Amerimar Enterprises, Inc. / June 2004
Real Estate Developer Belz Enterprises Boosts Corporate Value with Hotel Group Business Intelligence Gains - Prestigious Peabody Hotel Group Operates Paperless; Internet Back-Office and Business Intelligence Reduce AP Staff 33%, Cuts Month-End Close 20% / June 2004
Leading Extended Stay Management Company Creatively Uses Business Intelligence to Direct 85% Growth / January 2004
#1 Owner Group Priority: Performance Management for Investors / The Melrose Hotel Company Studies New Process toHospitality That Includes Goal Setting, Goal Tracking, and Data Analysis / December 2003
Big Box Hotels, Boutiques Share Design Styles; Standardize Data, Financials To Support Long-Term Growth of Real Estate Parent / October 2003
Economy Brightens: H.I. Development Corp. Picks Enterprise-wide Business Intelligence, Back Office Technology to Drive Growth / September 2003
CHIP, Other Ownership Groups Eye New Scorecarding Tool To Communicate Common Vision of Enterprise Priorities, Control Costs, Raise Profit Margins in Tough Economy / June 2003
Dolce International Clicks Through Smith Travel Data To Chart Growth Plans, Increases Market Share 4 Percentage Points / June 2003
The Melrose Hotel Company Installs Business Intelligence Software to Stay Above RevPAR Curve / May 2003
Pineapple Management Benefits: Technology Vendor Invests in Back-Office System Advances for Operators; ‘New Economy’ Demands Greater Efficiency in Hospitality Operations / Mar 2003
Minnesota Hotel Operator Builds Success With Locations Near Chain Restaurants, Web-Based Centralized Accounting / Feb 2003
Business Intelligence Software Identifies, Controls Costs; Focuses on Improving Profitability for Hoteliers in 2003 and 2004 / Dec 2002
Mid-Sized Management Firm Bursts into Creative Boutique Market with Added Services, Web-Based Centralized Accounting / Sept 2002
Marriott, Hilton Management and Real Estate Firm Dominates New Construction Niche With Business Intelligence Software, Relationship Financing / Aug 2002
Starwood, Host Marriott Shine at New York Hospitality Investment Conference; Edge Ahead with Business Intelligence Tools, Rely on Aptech Applications / June 2002
Hotel Undergraduates Shift With the Industry Towards Business Intelligence / March 2002
Interstate Hotels Partners with Aptech to Install ASP Model; ASP Back Office Provides Value to Hotel Owners With Ability to Reduce Capital Outlay, Eliminate Maintenance Costs, Bring Faster Processing Speeds / June 2001 
Jill Wilder Named Vice President and Officer of Aptech Computer Systems Inc. / May 2002
Survival Tactics; New Technology Directions Surface in Business Intelligence Survey / November 2001 
Aptech Opens Business Intelligence Door for Small to Mid-sized Management Firms / October 2001


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