Friday, February 26, 2016

The Manila Hotel Modernizes World-Class Standards Through Microsoft Solutions

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Microsoft Philippines has been chosen by The Manila Hotel to further upgrade its world-renowned 5-star standards.

Considered as the Philippines’ flagship hotel since 1912, the luxury establishment has been the premiere choice of both distinguished local and international guests, which include former British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden, US President John F. Kennedy, and iconic entertainers such as Michael Jackson and The Beatles.

While it has always been known for being a traditional Filipino landmark that is rich in local heritage, The Manila Hotel recently decided to modernize several aspects of the establishment. It underwent a series of dramatic renovations in 2008, wherein all guestrooms were redesigned to showcase more updated Philippine interior design. However, the team went beyond just making aesthetic improvements by equipping the guestrooms with more modern facilities and amenities.

“Technology plays a major role in offering world-class services to our guests,” said Nian Liwanag-Rigor, Assistant Vice President for Public Relations and Corporate Communications. “That’s why we wanted to innovate to provide the right network and infrastructure so that our guests are always connected.”

Aside from tech-related improvements specific for their guests, the organization also decided to employ more advanced solutions to increase employee productivity and mobility. 

The need was further emphasized when the hotel’s server unexpectedly crashed and left the company in a state of panic. “We could not use our email to communicate with employees, stakeholders, and customers,” narrated Daniel Cu, Assistant Vice President for Information Systems.

Cu shared how a partner introduced them to a more updated way of going about the technology needs of both The Manila Hotel employees and guests. “Our partner recommended that we migrate from an on-site server to cloud-based Microsoft Solutions,” he said.

New solutions rolled out by Microsoft for The Manila Hotel include Office 365, which merged the Microsoft Office desktop suite that employees have long been used to with cloud-based versions of today’s latest collaboration and communication tools. Office 365’s cloud platform has also been able to provide users with more secure email and Office services, specifically real-time communications using Microsoft Exchange Online and Office Online that allow users to accomplish more tasks.

“We started to implement Microsoft Solutions in 2015,” said Cu. “Currently, 86 managers and secretaries from key departments are all using Microsoft Office 365.”

“We now have instant access to all emails and documents and content. Because of this, the management has been able to make quicker and smarter decisions, as well as respond and get results immediately,” he added.

The Manila Hotel also makes use of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, which is a global enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite specifically designed for midsize organizations. The easy-to-use system offers specialized functionality that gives businesses greater control over their financials and allows them to simplify their supply chain, manufacturing, and operations.

“System downtime is now a rarity, which translates to cost savings in terms of manpower,” Cu emphasized. “We are also able to eliminate costly hardware and software investments.”

“The service industry today is demanding and allows very little room for downtime. One unsatisfied customer can greatly affect a company's image and reputation,” says Karrie Ilagan, Microsoft Philippines General Manager. “In Microsoft, we design products and solutions that help businesses achieve the highest level of efficiency and operational excellence."

While tradition and personalized services have always been their legacy, the people behind The Manila Hotel admitted that it is necessary to think of how technology can improve their services.

In line with how Microsoft Solutions has helped them, Rigor also revealed that they plan to be more open to new technology in the years to come.

“Five years from now, we hope to have applications that will allow keyless check-ins and customized accommodations,” she said. “We also want to tap the apparent use of smartphones for hotel room functions.”

“With all these possible innovations, we plan to deploy more advanced cloud-based solutions within the organization,” she added.

However, Rigor emphasized that the company’s thrust to be more innovative will not compromise the classic and elegant image of the Philippine’s premiere hotel.

“The Manila Hotel will stay true to its commitment to maintain the elegance of its history and at the same time constantly strive to exceed the expectations of its modern clientele,” she said.

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