In The Beginning was the 3-Ring Binder: Hospitality Business
Intelligence Shapes Operations for 10 Years

Spreadsheets to dashboards; evolution of BI from technology experiment
to the must-have profitability tool

.
February 27, 2008 - Information is king at today’s numbers-driven hotel companies.  Management practices are based on it, and financiers take it to the bank.  Chain executives expect to have yesterday’s property financials in hand before coffee and to use them to measure performance against budget and/or forecast by lunch.  Owners glance at their Blackberries between putts on the back nine to check the value of their hotel investments.  This is what business intelligence delivers in 2008 to 25 hotel companies with over 3,000 total properties.  But it was not always this way.

Just ten years ago a company’s financials were stored in 3-ring binders on the controller’s credenza and business intelligence was something used only by Fortune 100 companies.  Aptech Computer Systems has seen it all since 1998 when it installed the first Execuvue BI system at Interstate Hotel Corporation.

Business intelligence defined

The term ‘business intelligence’ refers to a broad category of business management software applications and technologies for gathering, storing, comparing, analyzing and providing access to operating data that enables enterprise users to make better business decisions.   In the past 10 years the price of modern BI has come down making it practical for even small hotel companies.

BI comes to hospitality

Aptech has been a hospitality systems provider for 30 years, but until 1998 it focused on developing and supporting accounting software systems.  “We were providing our Profitvue back office system for Interstate in 1998 when they asked for a better way to analyze operating data for their 50 properties,” said Jill Wilder, vice president of Aptech Computer Systems, Inc.  “They were using our financials and rekeying the numbers into Excel to analyze performance, and wanted a better process without the data entry.” 

Aptech partnered with established BI provider Cognos (COGN:Nasdaq) to adapt its powerful tool to Interstate’s hospitality processes.  “Cognos had the proven technology; we had the hospitality experience, so we married our strengths.  After a serious customization program that adapted the BI tool to hospitality operations, we programmed it to import Interstate’s data from their Profitvue back office.  We branded our BI Execuvue® and Interstate rolled out the industry’s first business intelligence system.  That first implementation was perfect for delivering daily performance analysis to Interstate’s managers for better business decisions based on real -time information.” 

The second BI implementation came soon after with Concord Hospitality, but Concord needed something completely different. “Where Interstate wanted its BI product in its property managers hands, Concord wanted to use Execuvue to provide centralized analysis,” said Wilder.  Concord’s team uses BI to react quicker to operating costs trends and report consolidated performance metrics enterprise wide.

“Hospitality business intelligence went A-list when Starwood Hotels and Resorts implemented Execuvue for its 1999 portfolio of 210 properties. “Rex Warren, Starwood’s Senior Vice President of Finance for North America, saw what BI did for Interstate and thought it would be a valuable tool for his company,” explained Wilder.  Starwood had a variety of flags including Westin, Sheraton, a couple of Marriott Hotels and a couple of Hilton Hotels in addition to several non-branded assets.  Although Starwood had deployed SAP as their standard back office system, it was both expensive and time consuming to write ad-hoc data queries in SAP.  Starwood deployed Profitvue to meet this need, and give the company the flexibility it needed to run ad hoc reporting against its entire portfolio at any time.  For Starwood, Aptech enabled Execuvue to  import data from  a non-Aptech back office system and still deploy its analysis reporting .  Aptech then realized the value of providing to their customers Smith Travel Research (STR) data in their reports. “When our customers  watched Execuvue import Smith data and feed it into a drag-and-drop report format, they  told us their managers could stop gathering data and get back to running their divisions,” Wilder said.

True BI systems consolidate information from financial and non-financial sources including:

• Multiple PMSes and back office systems
• Smith Travel Research
• Guest satisfaction scoring
• Payroll system and other systems.
The events of September 11 changed the way hotel companies did business as real estate investors bought into hospitality during the downturn. These new hotel owners were more focused on ROI and demanded daily financial performance reporting. “We were asked by many ownership groups to implement Execuvue BI because it provided daily financials in almost any format their partnership members required,” explained Wilder. 

Dashboards 

While flexible graphic reports were always an important part of BI, today the newest versions of Execuvue provide single-screen dashboards that are heads-up displays that communicate complex information more quickly for rapid response to changes in performance.  While traditional reporting uses spreadsheets that require line-item 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. 

Business intelligence has changed the way hotel companies do business,” said Aptech’s Jill Wilder. In 10 years we have gone from faxes and 10-keys to dashboards and daily emailed ownership reporting.  We cannot wait to see what happens in the next 10 years.”

Business Intelligence look-and-feel 10 years ago and current
--
10 Years Ago

--
Current





About Aptech Computer Systems

Aptech Computer Systems, Inc., based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, leads the hospitality industry in leveraging change by valuing human relationships and applying technology to solve business problems for people.

Incorporated in 1970, Aptech is a financial and operations technology solutions and service company whose products include state-of-the-art back office, business intelligence and enterprise planning products: Profitvue, Execuvue®, Webvue® and Targetvue. Over 2,500 properties, including very large chains, multiple-property management companies and single-site hotels, utilize Aptech solutions to understand their financial and operational data.  By offering the hotel industry a solid resource of hospitality professionals, and through its proven ability to evolve technology offerings as the market dictates, Aptech is proud to have earned 100% customer loyalty.  Execuvue and Profitvue are registered trademarks and MyExecuvue® is registered to Aptech Computer Systems, Inc.  All other trademarks are owned by their respective holders.


 
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 Coral Hospitality Selects Profitvue® from Aptech to Standardize Financial Reporting Across Portfolio; Ability to support extensive chart of accounts supports company's unique growth requirements/ January 2008
Konover Leverages Financial Automation to Add 15 Properties in 12 Months; Company expands portfolio by 15 properties without amassing excessive personnel costs / January 2008
Noble Investment Group Implements Aptech's Targetvue Budgeting and Forecasting System, Execuvue Business Intelligence; Noble automates business analysis, budget planning to support growth of rapidly expanding portfolio / December 2007
Oliver Companies Credits Rapid Growth to Well-Trained Employees, Effective Performance Management Tools; Owner operator with short hospitality history develops, acquires seven hotels in three years / October 2007
Strand Development Nearly Doubles Portfolio - Automates Ownership Services with Tech Partner; Strand adds 12 properties, but only one additional accounting staffer / October 2007
Business Intelligence: How Dashboards Drive Profitability; Is your business running hot or cold? Check the dashboard / June 2007
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


To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.Online Search

Home | Welcome! | Hospitality News | Classifieds | Catalogs & Pricing | Viewpoint Forum | Ideas/Trends
Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.