Does IT provide a strategic advantage?
— 13 C-Suite executives shared their view
Almost every touchpoint with our guests now involves technology in some way. As the CEO, it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that technology is given the priority, resources, and budget required. Very often though, the CIO reports to other C-level executives and does not have the same level of influence in the company.
Do you consider the IT department to be as important as operations, finance, and marketing? And how involved are you personally in the company's overall technology architecture and strategy?
Viewpoint authored by Lyle Worthington, HFTP Past President
Chief Executive Officer of the Kempinski Group
The evolving technology landscape provides tremendous opportunities for companies to differentiate from its competitors, but achieving this requires a holistic approach, positioning the Information Technology department as a strategic discipline.
It should no longer be seen as a department just providing support or simply a cost center, but as a discipline that drives the alignment and architecture of business processes across all departments, including commercial, operational, financial and human resource management in order to achieve the company's vision.
Furthermore, it is my belief that the IT discipline, especially in the hospitality industry, now needs to have a strong business acumen that anticipates changing guest behavior with an agile, omnichannel approach across multiple digital touchpoints from acquisition through to retention, adapted to regional requirements and market demand.
Technology investments need to be managed strategically, with a crafted balance between vendor selection and proprietary development and innovation, to ensure core data assets and know-how can be optimised and utilised as differentiators to grow the brand and company value. Data is rapidly becoming the new currency that determines the ability of a company to execute its business and guest intelligence strategies.
It is for these reasons that I am actively engaged in our company's technology strategy, and have our Chief Information Officer reporting directly into myself as the Chairman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer.