RSF Panel Discussion: How The Cloud Is Empowering Innovation

December 2, 2021 | Claire Middleton, Contributing Editor

The 2021 edition of Revenue Strategy Forum London (RSF) took place at the Ham Yard Hotel in London on November 1, with industry leaders sharing insights into what’s going on in the world of Revenue Management and what the future holds. 

Included in the day’s schedule of events was an informative and lively panel discussion, The Cloud: Empowering Innovation, delivered by John Lingos-Webb, Senior Director of Global Partnerships and Alliances for Duetto. The panelists were:

  • Richard Oram, Senior Director, Product Enablement for Oracle
  • Ben Thomas, Chief Commercial Officer for Penta Hotels
  • Jon Davis, Chief Technology Officer for The Ivy Collection

The discussion aimed to inform the audience on how to best prepare their organization for migration to the cloud. It discussed the main challenges and benefits of becoming cloud-based, the steps involved, what goes on behind the scenes, and how the implementation is enabled. The session ended with a discussion on the future innovation that the cloud can provide access to. 

Migrating To The Cloud

Kicking things off by talking about investment in the cloud, host Lingos-Webb asked the panelists to comment ‘from a technical perspective’ on what migrating to, and investing in, the cloud looks like, what’s technically going on, and whether they could shed some light on some of the more unknown aspects of the process. As part of his answer, Oracle’s Oram said: “Europe is far more ahead than other regions when it comes to moving to the cloud. A lot of our customers have migrated over the last few years, but during the pandemic especially there was a sudden movement of people working in the cloud. Lots of hotel systems moved to the cloud and it’s growing faster than expected. People want to do more, quickly, without having to rely on service on-property.”

He continued: “Part of being able to move quickly is making sure we have the infrastructure in place in our hosting centers. So if you want to implement the cloud quickly, you don’t have to wait for someone to commission servers, or do all the network cons, and so on. Part of that is having a multi-tenant environment so we can plug a customer in quickly, with all the infrastructure in place so they can get up and running within days.”

Improving The Customer Journey

Penta Hotels has already made the transition to the cloud, and Thomas commented: “We have always based the customer journey around tech. We looked at how we wanted the guest journey to be and how tech could make that happen. We sought tech that could deliver what we wanted, rather than delivering the service that our existing tech could offer.”

Host Lingos-Webb went on to ask what the argument is for moving to a cloud-based system, to which Oram replied: “Data breaches are a real concern. But once you move to the cloud, all the security hassle is down to someone else who you’re paying to deal with it, so you don’t have to worry.”

Thomas added that a big argument for cloud migration was the ability it gives you ‘to be able to work across countries and continents’. He said: “More things can be regionalized. You can be quicker to respond to a customer inquiry as an organization with the cloud. Having the ability to work remotely and access systems through cloud tech means businesses can continue working, even through events such as the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Davis added: “You need to look at how the cloud is going to work for you and make your life easier. That’s how we sell the idea of the cloud. We show you how much quicker things can be - the little things as well as the big things. Reducing real manual processes that are super boring - that’s what we focused on at each point.”

The discussion concluded with a Q&A session with the audience which included the question of who owns the data when a company moves to the cloud. Oram answered: “It is still your (the company’s) data, despite the fact that it’s in a data center in the middle of Frankfurt. Everything that happens to it - the way you amend it and edit it - it’s still yours.”

Davis added: “My analogy is that it’s like online banking. You can’t see the money but you know it’s there, even though it’s just a figure on a screen.”

Missed RSF London? Don't worry. The event was also live-streamed and can still be watched on-demand. Simply register here: https://www.revenuestrategyforum.com/london

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