Studies Help Analyze IT Networks, Staffing

| October 24, 2011

The Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) has issued two new studies. One report offers a framework for managers to analyze their information technology integration. The other is a tool that allows managers to simulate their service operations, so that they can analyze costs and service levels.
 
IT Networks
The IT analysis is based on a five-step model that provides hospitality firms with a mechanism for assessing the integration and maturity of their IT systems. The model, developed by Gabe Piccoli, Bill Carroll, and Larry Hall, is presented in a new report from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, “Network Exploitation Capability: Mapping the Electronic Maturity of Hospitality Enterprises,” which is available at no charge from the CHR at http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/research/chr/pubs/reports/abstract-15839.html. The model focuses on Network Exploitation Capacity, which is a term the authors developed to describe a strategic and integrated approach to the application of networked IT for demand generation, multi-channel distribution management, and revenue optimization.
 
“What we have noticed is that many hospitality firms are making excellent use of IT in one or two areas, but those areas are not integrated, and so the possible synergies are lost,” said Piccoli, who is an associate professor of information systems at the University of Sassari (Italy) and is a visiting research fellow at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. “So we developed the concept of Network Exploitation Capability (NEC) and a scale that allows hospitality managers to measure where their firm stands with regard to their ability to take advantage of the potential of networked information technologies.”
 
Added Carroll, who is a senior lecturer at the School of Hotel Administration: “We identified a set of corporate behaviors that characterize each of five stages in the NEC model.”
 
Hall, who is president and chief executive officer of PAR Springer-Miller Systems, which provides IT solutions to hospitality firms worldwide, said: “The goal is to develop an organization that is not only strategic in its approach to demand generation, multi-channel distribution management, and revenue optimization, but also continually renews its approach to these functions through an analytical and learning environment.”
 
Staffing
A new tool from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research simulates service operations so that managers can analyze existing levels of staff and other resources, as well as see the effects of possible changes. The Service Simulator (V1.19), by Gary Thompson, is available at no charge from the CHR, at http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/research/chr/pubs/tools/tooldetails-15819.html. A professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Thompson explains that his tool can simulate numerous service operations. 
 
“With this tool, managers can specify their service standards or rules, set their staffing levels, and estimate the rate of customer arrival,” said Thompson. “By inputting those rules into this standalone software tool, a manager can see how queues form and determine whether guests will be turned away under some circumstances. In the tool, I give examples of how this would work in hair salon, a quick-service restaurant, and a call center. However, any service firm can use this tool.”
 
Thompson adds that managers can analyze “what if” scenarios by changing service levels in the tool and then seeing how those new rules improve service, cut costs, or fulfill other management goals. In addition to providing an instruction manual with examples, Thompson has also created a series of videos that will show managers how to use the tool.
 

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