Hospitality Industry Integration Initiatives May Be Moot with Debut of Cenium ERP in North America

  • Cenium
  • 12.02.09
While hospitality groups in the United States were collaborating on how to more easily integrate, deploy and support products from multiple vendors so hoteliers can buy more complete solutions with fewer direct supplier relationships, Oslo, Norway-based Cenium was rolling out an idyllic solution to more than 160 Choice Hotels in Scandinavia.

The Cenium Hospitality Management System (HMS) is a centrally hosted enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution built on Microsoft Dynamics™ (NAV) that provides a complete integrated IT infrastructure. Cenium’s HMS eliminates the need for properties to purchase, interface and upgrade a myriad of software systems, such as PMS, retail/POS, CRM, sales and catering, concierge, engineering and workforce management, time and attendance, human resources, payroll, loyalty and business intelligence/financials and more, for full propertywide and enterprisewide communications and reporting. It’s one solution, one database, and all Microsoft.

This month the Cenium HMS was deployed in North America at Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario, Canada. The dynamic resort, which features one of the largest ski and snowboard operations in Ontario, more than 900 luxury accommodation units, an array of dining and shopping options, amongst seasonal recreational attractions and 37,500 square feet of conference space, migrated to Cenium based on five main goals: 1) Reduce labor costs, 2) Lower vendor maintenance fees and server storage costs, 3) Work with only one solution vendor vs. 17+, 4) Implement system upgrades across the property automatically and simultaneously direct from one source, and, 5) Provide a better experience for guests and staff.

“Nine years ago when I joined the property, I knew there were far too many IT systems, many of which did a lot of the same things,” said John Gowers, Blue Mountain’s director of IT. “We needed to find one system that did it all. Unfortunately, it was a best-of-breed industry that required operators to be at the mercy of multiple vendors to provide connecting pieces to the integration puzzle – until now, thanks to the Cenium ERP.”

Cenium, which recently opened offices in Las Vegas and Atlanta, is based on Microsoft Dynamics™ (NAV), a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that help businesses work more effectively. More than a decade ago, Cenium wrote the hospitality vertical standards for Microsoft NAV, and immediately began trials for three and four-star Choice Hotel’s chain in Scandinavia. The solution was so successful that Microsoft awarded its Overall Customer Excellence Award to Cenium in 2008 for its Choice Hotels implementation.

“What Cenium offers is exactly what the hospitality industry has been waiting for and working towards for so many years,” said Jeff Kiehn, Cenium president. “The industry should not underestimate the power of what we are bringing to the table. Cenium is a global organization that specializes in providing Microsoft Dynamic™-based solutions for the hospitality industry, and these solutions are proven to be extremely productive in hotel chains and independent hotels in many countries across the globe.

“What we offer is the ability to replace all peripheral property software solutions – PMS, management overview, central reservations, Internet reservations, housekeeping, conference and banqueting, revenue and yield management, restaurants, resort management (including spa, golf and rentals), staff management (including payroll and HR), EPOS, plus the internationally recognized full accounting suite of modules – with one system operating on the Microsoft Dynamics™ (NAV) platform with Cenium inside. The solution provides interfaces to all key hardware devices including phone systems, electronic locking systems, energy-management systems and television/in-room entertainment solutions,” he said. “What this means for properties like Blue Mountain, is complete freedom from supplier bondage. Now only one standardized user interface is required.” 

According to Blue Mountain’s Gowers, the true difference between what Cenium offers and what other vendors claim to offer is night and day.

“A lot of vendors say ‘We can do it all... whatever you want,’ but when you drill down and investigate exactly what they are offering, it still requires a bundle of time-consuming and costly interfaces that lack a fully integrated accounting application,” Gowers said. “Because of Microsoft Dynamics™ NAV, Cenium starts with the financial model first, and adds the other hospitality modules onto the financial package.

“Cenium gives us a more holistic view of the guest,” he said. “It helps us to better understand what they prefer, what their spending habits are, and the types of services they fancy because we can see that guest from an enterprise viewpoint – not just a lodging viewpoint. 

“It also helps to improve the employee experience,” Gowers added. “We are a seasonal property, and two-thirds of our 1,600 employees are seasonal. It’s very difficult to train staff on five different property applications in a short amount of time and expect them to properly serve the guest. With Cenium, there is one database and one common interface. Therefore training time is dramatically reduced and our employees feel much more confident in the service levels they can provide.”

The return on investment from Cenium comes by way of cost reduction and time reduction for development.

“The biggest opportunity we see by migrating to Cenium is long-term cost reduction,” Gowers said. “Cenium delivers a very quick ROI. And, if we want to do a resortwide initiative, we can do it at 20 percent of the cost because we aren’t involving four to five different vendors. In addition, development time is considerably reduced. Cenium delivers custom functionality overnight vs. three to six months for other vendors to produce the same thing. Cenium is the absolute best solution for Blue Mountain Resort... and for our guests and staff... and it’s available today at a fraction of the cost of what we have been paying to multiple vendors.

“Cenium is truly a revolutionary solution that has instantly bypassed existing industry initiatives,” he said.

Cenium is a global organization with offices in Norway and North America that specializes in providing Microsoft Dynamic™-based solutions for the hospitality Industry. The Cenium Hospitality Management System is an entirely new generation of products welcomed by the hotel industry and is already proven in hotel chains and independent hotels in many countries across the globe.

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