Solutions such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Box aren’t Enterprise Content Management solutions. Yet, there are a large number of hospitality companies that rely heavily on these and numerous other cloud-based file sharing options. Why can’t hotels use these tools for managing paperless night audit packs (which they have finally moved from bankers’ boxes to the cloud)?
The short answer is you could, but there are many more reasons why you shouldn’t.
Why Paperless Night Audit and Google Drive | DropBox | Box Are Not the Same
The Google Drive/DropBox/Box ecosystem seemed pretty logical at first: there were different folders, with different levels of access, and teams could go into some of them and edit documents and resources, etc. It probably seemed to be working semi decently as a kind of traditional Enterprise Content Management solution, at the start.
Not a long-term solution
Think about the process you need to get the same report from each audit pack for the past 30 days, then imagine you need to do that for 10 of your hotels. Let’s put it into numbers:
- A standard hotel will print on average 50 documents per audit pack
- Each directory and each file have to be uniquely named (to a point).
- Multiply that by seven days (in a week) and we are at 350 documents
- Times that by 52 weeks (in 1 year) and we have 18,200 documents
- Imagine that across a portfolio of five or ten hotels
- If you have more than fifteen hotels, you’re never going to make it sustainable (for the record that’s 273,000 documents per year)
The fallout from all this is when you really need a single document from a night audit pack two years ago because the city is reviewing tax exempt stays…you’re screwed.
Enterprise Content Management is serious business, and it’s explicitly revenue-linked business as well. In those cases, sometimes a specialized solution focused on all elements of Enterprise Content Management can be advantageous over a more traditional or ‘enterprise’ level solution. There are numerous reasons for this, but here are some of the most relevant:
- Regulatory Compliance: Depending on what content you’re managing, there are going to be varying degrees of compliance needs by the hotel industry. Tax compliance is the obvious one for hotels, but it can also include HR or legal resources, this adds additional levels of complexity and security. A specialized solution provider, like myDigitalOffice lives and breathes compliance issues. We offer tailored workflow, file retention, and version revision features, for example. Those are specially designed because we understand the specific needs of the hotel industry.
- The Business of Sensitivity: If you’re a management company that takes your files very seriously — ideally most companies would fall into this boat (especially a REIT or publicly traded company) — you should aspire to work with a company that is likewise going to take them seriously. Perhaps some of the big tech companies have grown into a protection-oriented environment, but a solution like Dropbox wasn’t designed or iterated with that in mind. In the case of specialized Enterprise Content Management solutions, this has always been the focus. With file retention and an architecture that allows for multiple backup and redundancy options, specialized Enterprise Content Management solutions simply handle your sensitive information and documents with more sophistication.
- Workflow: Let’s go back to our example above. In that example, one IT lead painstakingly set up dozens of files and various permissions internally and with each hotel. What happened within the first week? Night Auditors started creating their own folder tructure and naming conventions; it’s worked well enough for them at home and they know where things are. Teams start sharing those on other workflow platforms (i.e. Basecamp), and essentially creating mountains of confusion on both sides of the equation. We have workflows rooted in (a) analysis of the hotel industry and (b) years of market testing. Big tech providers typically do not. This is because the majority of these big tech companies have been selling their solution (or giving it away) directly to single users for years. B2C principles do not translate well to a B2B market. With myDigitalOffice, workflow is an inherent part of keeping documents safe, organized, and easy to retrieve.
- Scale: Scale is massively important for the hotel industry, we saw how in the space of one year we created over 270,000 documents from just a small management company. When you’re thinking about file management, think of this analogy: ‘personal storage’ (i.e. something you might use at home or with your friends, like Drive or Box) versus ‘Enterprise Content Management’ is basically like ‘McDonald’s’ versus ‘your grandmother’s homemade Italian dinner.’ There is no comparison – nobody confuses Mickey D’s with a hearty home-cooked meal. A personal storage solution doesn’t allow for scalability. An effective, customizable Enterprise Content Management does.
- Security: This might be the most important issue of all. myDigitalOffice has the security in place, like virtually impenetrable encryption, to protect files (from deletion, editing by third party, etc.). The security basis on the files comes from the user permissions, which are established by admins at the time of install and constantly monitored. Personal storage giants worry about security — in today’s digital world, everyone must — but because of competing demands and product feature needs, it can’t always be a true focus. And it can’t be customized as well. This is a huge advantage of our Paperless Night Audit solution.