One of the world’s leading hospitality investment firms found the key to integrating hotels faster and at lower costs in a somewhat surprising place.
Imagine for a moment that you’re part of a small IT team that’s been entrusted with managing a network for more than 2,500 users. Across 100+ locations. For some of the world’s most recognizable hotel brands.
What would you do?
You might rely on a VPN to keep internet connections secure and private. Or perhaps you’d offer virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to distributed employees and field workers.
Or, if you’re like Josh Goss, you might decide to move away from these and other common solutions altogether.
As the IT infrastructure manager at one of the world’s leading hospitality investment firms, Goss couldn’t afford any more downtime or security risks. Hersha Hospitality Management (HHM) had some aggressive growth goals, and its employees would need fast, flexible access to company data if it was going to meet them.
So Goss decided to try something different. Here’s his story...
When the outlook is uncertain...
HHM—a leading hotel management, investment, and development firm trusted by Hilton, Marriott, and Starwood—faced some daunting tasks:
- Lower the cost of launching new hotels
- Streamline recurring costs on existing properties
- Increase employee productivity
Everyone knew they’d have to do more with less.
But who would’ve guessed a simple IT solution could be the answer?
...and VPNs are slowing things down...
HHM’s workforce is a mix of highly mobile employees, remote workers, hotel staff and contractors working from a variety of locations. Some staff members work in corporate offices and hotels while others travel frequently or work from home. To be productive, they all need to have consistent, reliable access to company applications and data.
But the very tool meant to make work more mobile—a virtual private network, or VPN—was often slowing things down. Only a salaried employee with an approved business case was permitted to access a VPN, and only on an HHM-owned and managed computer. Even when an individual was permitted to use the VPN to access work files, employees often found it difficult to determine when they should be using a VPN and which of their devices were permitted.
“VPNs are great, but we don’t want everyone to use it,” Goss said. “There’s a lack of control because users will often turn it on and leave it on. If they leave computers on and unlocked at Starbucks...well, it’s something that sometimes kept me up at night.”
...it’s time for Lenovo Unified Workspace
“We had been looking at a couple of alternatives, but nothing else worked the way we wanted to,” he explained. “Either it didn’t do everything we needed it to, or the cost model wasn’t great.”
Then he discovered Lenovo Unified Workspace.
"As soon as we saw it we were totally on board,” he recalled.
Using Lenovo Unified Workspace, Goss created a custom-branded workspace aggregator, called Hersha Access, where employees and contractors can securely access all of the applications and files they need regardless of location and device. Now, when employees need to access documents, they simply open a browser and get to work. Unified Workspace provides single sign-on (SSO) access to company data while protecting the corporate environment from malware, viruses and other unauthorized access.
With Unified Workspace, Shane was able to:
- Eliminate the need for a VPN at new properties
- Improve employee productivity
- Decrease the need for IT oversight of different devices and operating systems
When asked to name a top benefit of using Unified Workspace, Goss didn't hesitate to answer:
"The simplicity of access; It's why we call it Hersha Access. You really can get to anything you need. Now, as we bring on new properties, we introduce Hersha Access as the way to gain access to apps and data. It's definitely reduced our security footprint, too.”
In an industry where success depends heavily on maximizing efficiency and minimizing time-to-market, one simple solution has helped Hersha Hospitality Management unlock the doors to greater productivity and security—and completely changed the way its employees work in the process.
Wondering how your company can get similar results? Or read the full case study.