Hilton Books IT Partners for Long StayBy Robert Webb Print
Under its Innovation Collaborative, Hilton partnered with five global tech leaders to help the company manage its growth and focus on core competencies.
Recognizing the opportunity for partnership and the need to focus more on its core hotel businesses, Hilton Worldwide created the Innovation Collaborative, working with top global technology companies. Hilton Worldwide CIO Robert Webb says that under the program, Hilton’s IT partners have implemented systems development best practices, leveraged extensive R&D efforts and delivered next-generation technology solutions.
As the technology landscape continues to evolve at breakneck speed, it becomes increasingly challenging for companies to maintain their technological edge, and they often must make substantial IT investments to do so.
That’s the position Hilton Worldwide was in when I joined the company as CIO in July 2009. Years of rapid growth, several mergers and other business changes had created a high level of fragmentation and legacy complexity across our technology infrastructure, which we needed to address.
We were also expanding rapidly around the world and had outgrown our ability to support all our technology services internally. Executives, hotel managers, owners and customers were facing day-to-day problems and inconveniences when trying to accomplish simple tasks, such as accessing WiFi or checking bookings at other properties in our portfolio.
As a result, last year, we embarked on an ambitious new approach to our technology needs by creating the Hilton Worldwide Innovation Collaborative. Recognizing the opportunity for partnership and the need for stronger focus on our core business, we work closely with top technology companies in several key areas. The collaborative’s mission is to deliver exceptional guest experiences while leveraging the skills, quality and scale of these technology leaders to differentiate Hilton Worldwide brands from the competition.
Our Strategic Technology Sourcing management team works with the Innovation Collaborative group to enable end-to-end management of sourced services. This team holds the partners to their service-level agreements and assists the day-to-day operations teams with contract interpretation, supplier performance and governance.
With the collaborative partners’ support in implementing systems development best practices, leveraging extensive R&D efforts and delivering next-generation technology solutions, we can focus more effectively on our core competencies. We’ve redoubled our strategic efforts and continual process improvement by building strong governance, architecture and sourcing management organizations.
This approach enables our IT organization, Hilton Technology Solutions, to emphasize long-term objectives, along with control mechanisms to help attain them. It also helps us effectively manage suppliers’ efforts during execution.
Before launching the collaborative initiative, Hilton Worldwide engaged advisory firm TPI to conduct a rigorous assessment of our existing IT solutions and identify areas where we should collaborate with external partners. After thorough due diligence, we selected the five founding collaborative members based on their global expertise and their ability to deliver economies of scale in future development, infrastructure, application development and support services for our company’s more than 3,750 global properties.
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