Marriott's Admin Goes Auto

By Jeff Golding and Clay Hall, Senior Directors, Information Resources, Marriott International, Inc. | June 10, 2010

Marriott International, Inc. (www.marriott.com) is one of the most recognizable names in the hospitality industry. To maintain outstanding customer service in each of its more than 3,400 properties, hotel staff must be able to dedicate unwavering attention on the guest experience.

Recently, however, Marriott realized a significant amount of time was directed toward supporting non-core business activities, such as administrative processes like accounts payable and claims management. The company was not taking full advantage of the power of automation, instead relying on paper-based work processes to manage two million invoices and 700,000 claims-related documents each year. Each hotel used its own approach to the processes, and associates were spending too much time finding, mailing and filing documents.

Leaders in Marriott's Information Resource group realized that the document-driven processes supporting accounts payable and claims management were ripe for optimization. The team decided to partner with Xerox Corporation (www.xerox.com) for its ability to provide the expertise, technology and resources necessary for a scalable solution that would facilitate global growth.

The single platform implemented by Xerox supports both the accounts payable and claims management processes. This platform includes an outsourced solution that consists of mailroom, imaging and content management services. The platform also includes a re-engineered document management workflow to digitize documents and increase process speed and efficiency.

With the new accounts payable strategy, Marriott property managers and finance directors now simply log initial invoice data into the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and send paper or digital documents to the services center for imaging and hosting. End-users have access to the ERP system to view documents and authorize payments. The solution also automated data validation and exception handling, steps that are otherwise time-consuming. The accounts payable solution was designed to support 18,000 end-users with capacity for future growth.

The claims management workflow is also streamlined, with Marriott claims processors sending all documents directly to the services center for imaging into a digital repository system. The staff then scans documents and organizes them into digital files corresponding to each claim. Claims processors can access the files over the Internet or through the company's internal system without wasting time on manual searches, filing, storage or mail handling.

Hotel managers are now spending more time taking care of guests, with tangible results including: quadrupled capacity for invoice processing, increasing from two million to 11 million invoices processed per year; optimized costs; enhanced customer and associate satisfaction; decreased impact on the environment with the conversion from paper-based processes to a digital, near paperless workflow; and improved access to documentation leading to improved financial reporting and compliance.
 
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