BUILDING AND EFFECTIVE BUSINESS STRATEGY WITH INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY
In a competitive industry where technology continues to rapidly advance, how can FnB operators discover what the most effective technology approach is for their specific business?
Should teams be looking towards deploying an “all in one” system, or an integrated framework of solutions?
With software platforms continuing to evolve, the benefits experienced from those platforms and growing consumer demand, modern day technology solutions have become a central area of importance for all sectors within the hospitality industry. Therefore, it’s essential that moving forward, operations carefully consider the type of system that they’re deploying into their business.
At the Hotel, Restaurant & Catering show (HRC), Tevalis hosted a TechX panel discussion with delivery experts Deliverect, customer loyalty specialists Yoyo and payment services provider Paymentsense. During this session, we discussed the world of integrations, how to build an effective workflow using an integrated approach and why this will be the future for technology systems across the hospitality industry.
Here’s our recap with commonly asked questions from other operators and industry professionals.
Why are we seeing integrated technology emerging across the industry?
- Deploying those in specialist areas equals better problem solving
The industry is beginning to see an increased number of specialist technology providers emerging, from Customer Loyalty and Delivery, to Payment Services and Workforce Management. Having access to these specialist areas, means gaining access to platforms which are completely focused on one particular area.
And, integrating those specialise platforms into one consolidated system with your chosen Point of Sale provider, provides operations with maximum functionality, better problem and increased transparency into big data.
“The explosion of tech and having people who are experts in particular areas, hands itself to having really good integrated solution. What you’re doing, is essentially getting people who are in the best position to solve a particular problem.” – Colin Jackson, Head of Partner Technology at Payment Sense.
Utilising an integration suite provides flexibility and longevity
On the other hand, it’s understandable that operators may look towards deploying “all in one” EPOS system as it seems like the easiest and most cost-effective option. However, businesses are beginning to now move away from this approach as it often comes with risks such as the inability to integrate. As a result, providing minimal adaptability to a business’s evolving requirements.
“Going with a jack of all trade from an EPOS perspective isn’t always the best way because it increases reliability on that one selected partner.” Chris Jolliffe, Head of Sales at Tevalis says.
“From a commercial perspective, having different companies offering different disciplines is something that operators have shied away from. But actually, it minimises risk because you’re not putting all of your eggs in one basket.”
With an integrated technology system in place, operators are not just gaining streamlined functionality across their front of house and back office processes but gaining the benefit of a system which offers longevity.
The longevity experienced, stems from the flexibility that specialist EPOS paired with an integration suite offers. This means that operators have the freedom to utilise their favourite third party platforms and change them later down the line if required, without having to entirely reinvest into a new EPOS system.
How can operators identify a technology partner which really understands integrations?
Across the panel, the experts agreed that identifying technology companies which are passionate about the other platforms they work with, is a key indicator of their understanding of integrations and their collaboration capabilities.
Alongside this, social proofing proves to be another key way for operators to discover how providers approach integrations.
“When you’re looking for a solution, you can hear anything you want from sales guy, but I think it’s more important to speak directly to a customer who is already using that particular solution and integration, find out how they like it and what their feedback is.” Says Claudio Colarossi, Partner Manager at Deliverect.
Here’s some questions we believe operators should be asking to gain an understanding into a technology provider’s integration approach.
Does the business and the consultant understand your specific requirements, pain points and what you want to gain from the integration?
Does the company have the references available from other venues who are using the particular integration?
Does the technology provider and your contacts there, have the experience and knowledge required to be discussing the logistics of the integration in detail?
How can operators identify areas within their business which could benefit from integrated technology?
Identifying areas of the business which could benefit from integrated technology is all about discovering and analysing pain points with existing processes.
Let’s put this into perspective with a common example…
Many FnB businesses are still managing various technology platforms separately, such as their EPOS and Reservation system. Without the integration in place, teams experience additional administration time, minimal visitor insight and lack of table transparency which can be the cause of cross bookings.
On the other hand, integrating both systems enables front of house teams to manage all booking enquiries, receive live booking updates and assign reservations to tables, straight from one location - the Point of Sale.
This is just one example which demonstrates how operators are able to analyse processes within the business to establish if there is room to benefit from integrated technology. Generally, if certain tasks are taking too much time or taking too much resource, it’s very likely that an integrated solution can solve the problem.
with 47% of 122 respondents stating that it was a key defining factor when searching for a new EPOS provider.
What does the future hold for integrated technology?
The panel were in agreement that the future of integrated technology looks towards hosting all integrated platforms within a “marketplace jigsaw”, making exploration and deployment of new third party platforms as easy as possible for the operator.
Commercially, integrated technology will shift towards becoming more of an open discussion between providers, with less formal agreements in place, but more discussion surrounding open API’s and functionality. All of which, will look towards being based off customer demand and need.
As technology continues to advance in this competitive industry and as operations become increasingly reliant on their chosen systems, it has become more important than ever for teams to deploy technology solutions which can meet their growing requirements, both now and in the future.
As highlighted throughout the TechX session and this piece, this is something that an integrated technology system is built for, longevity and flexibility.
Overall, allowing teams to experience best of breed functionality, streamlined workflow and the ability to build their bespoke Technology Ecosystem.