News for the Hospitality Executive
HTNG Hitting its Stride in its Sixth Year
|By Steve D’Erasmo, CHTP, March 6, 2009
Don’t Take Out The Trash
Every Monday night, my children gather up the newspaper, plastic, and aluminum, sort them into the appropriate bin, and drag them down to the curb. Tuesday is the day that the garbage man and the recycling man both make a guest appearance in our neighborhood.
Why do we do this? It’s good for the environment. It keeps content out of landfills. It makes us feel good that we’re doing our part to be good stewards of the Earth (a very important goal when you’re in third and fifth grade).
Earlier this week, I found myself in Dallas participating in the HTNG Annual Conference. I called home to check in with the family. The kids were tending to their recycling duties as I placed my call. At that very instant, I had an “ah ha” moment linking the recycling bins to HTNG. More on this is a bit.
HTNG, or Hotel Technology Next Generation, is an industry trade association borne six years ago by a small group of hoteliers who were frustrated on how difficult is was to share data consistently between various applications commonly used in our industry. At the time of the organization’s inception, most if not all interfaces were written as a one-off custom development exercise. Repeatability and reusability were only dreamed about.
The HTNG body is organized into workgroups. Each workgroup has been chartered with defining a standard message set of attributes and elements needed for the proper exchange of data between systems. The workgroups are perhaps the most fascinating element of the organization as they are comprised of hoteliers, vendors, and allied industry partners who express a desire to assist on a given collaboration effort. In short, you will find direct competitors sitting next to each other at the table bringing their collective experience to bear on a solution that will benefit the entire hospitality industry.
It’s fun for me to see the likes of Microsoft and Novell, Marriott and Hyatt, and Agilysis and Micros rolling up their sleeves. All this collaboration could easily be seen as unhealthy and damaging to the industry. To the contrary, a very strong Ethical Code of Conduct is agreed to by all parties and reviewed at the start of every HTNG meeting.
Someone at this year’s conference offered up the analogy that as a body, they are defining what data elements to transmit for a defined message set. What the applications do with that data once it is received remains that vendor’s competitive advantage, or “secret sauce” –this driving home the point of why the HTNG effort benefits our entire industry.
But what about the recycling guy? It dawned on me that if I do not go out of my way to purchase commercial goods that are made from recycled, or post-consumer, products then the recycling “circle-of-life” fails miserably. If there is no economic driver for companies to develop new product offerings using these materials, they will quickly shift their manufacturing attention to other more lucrative options. The stuff my children so lovingly drag to the curb each Monday night will end up in a land fill and all we have done is support segregated trash removal.
The HTNG organization really hit its stride this past year. There are a number of active workgroups, some published standards, and the early adopter vendors have gone through the strict certification process to signify their product meets the HTNG specifications for that message set. Some vendors have adopted the HTNG standards as their product’s de facto standard while internal thought leaders at hotel companies such as Marriott and Delaware North Companies have developed internal applications using these same specs.
So what can you do? If you are a development shop, ask yourself why you are not embracing HTNG. If you are a vendor, why devote all that extra time to develop, test and certify one-off interfaces with all the thousands of other products out there? If you are in the market for a new system solution, may I suggest you make it a mandatory statement in your RFI or RFP document that you will only consider solutions that are HTNG-compliant.
These may be seen as bold steps to take within your company. Yet, without creating a demand for the HTNG-certified products, I am fearful the close to 500 people who gathered in Dallas are off on an academic exercise that will ultimately wither on the vine and die. Just as recycled materials do no one any good sitting in landfills, developed message standards that are ignored or not viewed by the industry as useful and needed will quickly become a memory.
HTNG is the right thing for the industry, and in my opinion, the right thing for your organization to adopt. Real solutions are being developed or refined by the workgroups every month. Find out more about HTNG by visiting their Internet home at www.htng.org. If you haven’t been tracking their progress in the last couple of years, you just may be pleasantly surprised.
BearingPoint is an active participant in HTNG and has a company goal to be “Carbon-Neutral” by 2012. We understand your business and can work with you to build and/or deliver against your technology, business and green strategies. For more information please contact us at + 1 407 803 2960 or visit us at www.BearingPoint.com/Hospitality.
Steve D'Erasmo, CHTP
|Also See:||HTNG Developing an Open Standard Through Which Any Two Systems Used Within the Hotel Industry Can Exchange Any Mutually Agreed Data / June 2007|
|Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) Making Significant Progress Towards its Objectives of Improving Systems Interoperability in the Hospitality Industry / June 2005|
|A Path to Achieving Next-Generation Technology for the Hotel Industry / White Paper / July 2002|