By Carol Hildebrand
Oracle has launched Oracle Hospitality, a new global business unit dedicated to helping the hospitality sector accelerate its move to the digital economy. Centered on the technology and expertise of MICROS Systems, a company with more than 35 years of experience in the hospitality sector, Oracle Hospitality will offer unprecedented scale and innovation, said Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager of the new business unit.
"The combination of these two great brands creates an opportunity to leverage a portfolio that has never before been seen in the hospitality industry," said Webster. "That can range from MICROS' strengths in property management and point of sale to applications such as Oracle Commerce, Oracle Marketing, and Oracle Business Analytics."
Through the acquisition of MICROS, Oracle solutions are in use at hundreds of thousands of hospitality sites globally, and Oracle Hospitality will help those enterprises compete more effectively in a business landscape that has been fundamentally reshaped by disruptive technologies such as social, mobile, cloud, and big data.
"There are significant trends out there that are really changing the way our customers operate," said Bernard Jammet, Oracle's senior vice president for hotels. "With the ability to access information instantly via mobile, guests are expecting a very different hotel experience than they have in the past." From awareness of room service preferences to mobile app check ins, guests want interactive and personalized service, particularly frequent travelers who are taking advantage of hotel loyalty programs.
Webster said that hoteliers and food and beverage customers will see innovation on a number of fronts.
First of all, the Oracle Hospitality model will leverage Oracle's integrated technology stack in concert with MICROS' deep expertise. "We're going to have a very large team that wakes up every day and focuses on one thing and one thing only—how do we help our customers succeed in giving their guests a great experience," said Webster. "MICROS was already a very large Oracle partner and we're going to continue to enrich and deepen the integration between Oracle technology and the MICROS application portfolio, giving customers access to a much broader set of tools and solutions to create the perfect guest experience."
The hospitality sector has been accelerating its move to the cloud in response to fast-changing guest expectations. "Our customers want to focus on their customers and their business," said Jammet. Not only do companies want to offload the cost and complexity of managing on-premises applications, they also need to offer a consistent experience across venues. "Having all the data on premise in a single hotel doesn't make sense," said Jammet. Oracle's broad set of cloud offerings allows customers to speed the deployment of cloud-based MICROS applications and do it at a lower cost. "Customers can leverage the huge investment that Oracle is making in cloud," said Webster. "They'll reap the benefits of Oracle's scale."
Mobile is a catalyst behind the radical changes in the hospitality industry, and MICROS was already a leading mobile innovator. Adding Oracle's comprehensive technology stack and strategic investment focus provides even more punch to an already potent mix of solutions. "The idea is to get staff out to the guests rather than making them come to a counter," said Webster. "With Oracle we're going to expand the choices they have, both in terms of the underlying platform, as well as the number of hardware devices that are available. We're accelerating our investments in Oracle mobile standards, as well as offering a new mobile tablet so that our customers' employees can be shoulder to shoulder with guests."
Oracle leads the market with cloud, mobility, and great guest experiences.
In response to customer demand, Oracle Hospitality will continue to move MICROS applications towards more flexible, lower-cost cloud solutions, including significant investments in research and development. "Oracle has a very rich tradition of investing in research and development and a strong commitment to innovation," says Webster. "Not only will we be refocusing MICROS' R&D spending on things that our customers demand, we will be improving quality." The company will also draw on the deep in-house expertise that made MICROS a market leader. "We want to build the broadest and deepest portfolio of solutions for the hospitality industry," says Webster. "We want to deliver that by attracting and developing and retaining the best team in the industry, and by curating a community of customers and partners that is focused on success. If we can do those things, we're going to create value for the community, and we're going to create value for Oracle."