World Panel
Viewpoint19 May 2020

Are there any quick-fix IT solutions for hotels in the post-COVID new normal?

Information Technology

— 12 experts shared their view

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Floor Bleeker, CIO MEA and Global Accor Strategic Programs
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Fergus Boyd
Hospitality Consultant

RPA - Robotic Process Automation - is growing quickly. It is an application of technology, governed by business logic and structured inputs, aimed at automating business processes. It uses AI to import data from screens and forms. It is relatively quick, easy, and low-cost to implement and co-exists with other tech, eg sits alongside a PMS or finance system.

  • Benefits: reduction in staff workloads, improvement in accuracy, speed. It is NOT just green screen scraping which was 1980s tech and frequently failed if screen layouts changed.
  • Downsides: could be used to hide/pave over bad processes, rather than remove/fix them

Using RPA tools, a company can configure software, or a “robot,” to capture and interpret applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses, and communicating with other digital systems. RPA can include machine to human transfers eg for exception handling. Applications include system to system links (with/without APIs), email interpretation & handling, routine processing eg applications, invoice handling, cancellations, fraud checks, etc. Key players in the market include UI Path, Blue Prism, and Automation Anywhere. A great example is UI Path's implementation in the Mater Hospital Dublin which simplifies admin for senior nurses to give them more time to deliver primary care.

COVID-19 testing: https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/mater-hospital-turns-to-robots-to-help-in-battle-against-covid-19-1.4217757

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