Business Systems Analysis & Design – Glenkerrie Hotel

As part of this module, we were given a scenario of a Scottish hotel in the borders to carry out a soft systems analysis to improve the business and processes. The Glenkerrie Hotel is situated not far from the scenic A68 route into Scotland favoured by tourists. The hotel has great transport links with Edinburgh and would like to take advantage of this.

Following an audit by Hibernia Inns the following points were highlighted:

  • The 4 star status of the Hotel might be endangered if there is no significant improvement in how Glenkerrie manages its internal data management systems.
  • Of particular concern are the notebooks systems for bookings management and payments. The hotel is in urgent need of establishing a secure payments policy that will conform with the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) which is set to become law in May 2018.
  • There is too much wasted effort at the hotel, and there needs to be a need to focus on the profitable, core business of the hotel.
  • There are opportunities that can be exploited here, not least of which is the new scenic railway line which could move guests who are tourists or Festival goers to and from the centre of Edinburgh in an hour.

The transformations suggested for the hotel will create a secure card payments system as well as the wasted effort in the kitchen managing the stock control by using information technology systems. The transport links to Edinburgh could be exploited by introducing a wedding and events service.

Rich Picture

 

A rich picture is a Soft Systems Methodology for gathering information about a complex situation (Checkland, 1981; Checkland and Scholes, 1990). It evokes a visual insight into a situation and helps to highlight pictorially issues and conflicts within a situation.

From looking at the rich picture the key points that could be summarised were as follows:

  • The hotel needs to modernise but not loose old-world charm
  • The bookings system for reception could be improved
  • The communication of the reception to the kitchen and beauty room is a cause of conflict
  • The storing of card details in notebooks is not secure and does not comply with the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) which is set to become law in May 2018.
  • The ballroom could be utilised further as the dance championships have been profitable and enlivened hotel
  • The stock control, particularly in the kitchen, is poor
  • The head chef is wasting too much effort on stock control and is unable to focus on profitable restaurant and expanding cooking courses
  • Paper bar tab notes are often lost which is a cause if conflict with the admin office and lost revenue
  • IT provisions for the admin office and conference room could be improved

 

Transformations

Implement secure card payments system

The first transformation to be carried out in the hotel would be the security of card payments and card details held by the hotel. The storing of card details in notebooks is not secure and does not comply with the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) which is set to become law in May 2018.

 

CATWOE Checklist

Customer: Hotel manager
Actors: Systems consultant from Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) company
Transformation:
Input:
Insecure paper logging of card details
Output: EPOS system with secure payments
Worldview: Card details are secure giving more confidence to customers and hotel retains 4-star status.
Owner: Reception staff
Environment: The storing of card details in notebooks is not secure and does not comply with the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) which is set to become law in May 2018.

 

Root Definition

A reception staff (OWNER) owned booking and payment system transforms the insecure handling of card payment details to a secure EPOS software system (TRANSFORMATION). It will be carried out by a consultant from a EPOS company (ACTOR) who will install and provide training to the staff on behalf of the hotel manager (CUSTOMER). The transformation ensures that the hotel complies with the new GDPA law (ENVIROMENT) and gains customer trust as well as ensuring the that hotel maintains its 4-star status.
Conceptual Model
The necessary actions for the transformation are as follows:

  • Appreciate the needs required for the software
  • Hire an experienced consultant to pick the system, install the system and train the staff
  • Consult with the staff
  • Define the scope and requirements of the system
  • Pick the software to be used and order equipment
  • Install the equipment
  • Staff training
  • Begin to use the new system

 

Improve the stock control system for the kitchen

 

The second transformation of the hotel would be to improve the stock control for the kitchen. The would allow head chef Angus MacDonald to focus his skills on cooking in the restaurant, and expanding the cookery curses which have been profitable. As a Michelin starred chef it is wasted effort to have Angus handing stock control.

 

CATWOE Checklist

Customer: Angus MacDonand (head chef) and kitchen staff
Actors: Systems consultant
Transformation:
Input:
Time consuming food ordering and stock control for the kitchen
Output: Efficient IT solution
Worldview: The hotel can fully utilise the skills and talents of the Michelin starred chef which is a great draw for custom.
Owner: Head chef
Environment: The IT stock control is more efficient to ensure that food is not wasted and a good range of dishes can be offered to customers.  This helps to ensure hotel retains its 4-starred status. A computerised system would be able to analyse food data and provide insight for chef.

 

Root Definition

A head chef and kitchen staff (OWNER) owned kitchen stock system transforms the time-consuming food ordering process (TRANSFORMATION). It will be carried out by a software consultant (ACTOR) who will install and provide training to the staff on behalf of the head chef (CUSTOMER). The transformation provides an efficient stock ordering system (ENVIROMENT) and allows the head chef to focus on chef and cooking school activities to ensure the that hotel maintains its 4-star status.

 

Conceptual Model
The necessary actions for the transformation are as follows:

  • Appreciate the needs required from the software
  • Hire an experienced consultant to pick the to install the system and train the staff
  • Consult with the staff
  • Define the scope and requirements of the system
  • Pick the software to be used and order equipment
  • Install the equipment
  • Staff training
  • Begin to use the new system

 

The ballroom is not being utilised to its full potential.

From looking at the rich picture the ballroom is not currently not being used to full potential. The transformation would be to utilise the ballroom and hotel to accommodate wedding and further events bookings.
CATWOE Checklist

Customers: Hibernia Inns
Actors: Newly employed wedding & events manager
Transformation:
Input:
The iconic and grand ballroom is sedate when not used and the potential for profit is not utilised for the hotel
Output: A wedding and events manager runs weddings and other events which creates a lively atmosphere to ballroom and extra profits to the hotel
Worldview: Increased customers to the hotel and further profits for Hibernia Inns as well as greater visibility of the hotel through marketing efforts.
Owner:  Hotel Manager
Environment: Huge potential for profits and popularity of venue. The venue would not need a licence to carry out the ceremonies; in Scotland a humanist celebrant can carry out a wedding at any location (Humanist Society of Scotland, 2017). A registrar can carry out a ceremony at any location that is agreed by the local registration authority (Citizens Advice, 2017). There is a large market (see Appendix E) but lots of competition, close-by Peebles Hydro is a popular wedding venue but shows the potential in this area of Scotland. The transport links make the venue a good proposition for couples based in Edinburgh.

Root Definition

A hotel manager (OWNER) owned wedding and events service transforms the sedate and underused ballroom into a profitable space and creates profit and atmosphere for the hotel amongst others. (TRANSFORMATION). It will be carried out an appointed weddings and events manager who already has experience in a similar business (ACTOR) who will be in charge of marketing, and provide training to the staff and on-day running of events on behalf of the clients and Hiberia Inns (CUSTOMER). The transformation takes advantage of a new market segment for the hotel (ENVIROMENT) and gains further profit for Hiberia Inns.

 

Conceptual Model
The necessary actions for the transformation are as follows:

  • Appreciate the facilities of the venue that can be used and provide a unique selling point for the venue
  • Hire an experienced wedding and events manager who can carry out the transformation
  • Plan what needs to be done to start offering the service and the scope of the services
  • Gather together materials required (chairs, tables etc)
  • Consult with the staff and staff training
  • Update the website and marketing to reflect new services offered by venue
  • Start offering the service and taking bookings

 

An overall list of suggested changes

When looking at the rich picture and the overall situation of the Glenkerrie hotel many further transformations could then be made. Suggestions of these are as follows:

 

  • Potential for expansion on successful art exhibitions as these add interest to the foyer and there is a long list of artists waiting to exhibit work. Further marketing to increase sales could be carried out and an e-commerce website offering online sales of pieces.
  • Creating an efficient booking system for the beauty room that can be controlled by Kirsty Soulter, Beautician to reduce conflict between her and reception. This could be linked to the overall facilities booking system but giving Kirsty the same admin access given to reception to the system.

 

  • Further potential income by expanding nature walks and bird watching in the woods and copses. An expert could be brought in to carry out the tours.
  • Bring in iZettle for hospitality or a similar system. This would create a better system of ordering between wait staff and kitchen and between reception and kitchen to reduce conflict. A tablet based system could be used by staff to take orders which are sent to the kitchen. The same system could be used in the bar area. This ensures that tab notes are better organised so they are not lost to reduce conflict with admin office and increased profits.
  • Improve system for guests making facilities bookings to reduce pressure on reception staff. Guests could be able to use a computerised system in their room which shows guests available facilities, make booking and take payment with a secure payment system.

 

  • Improve network stability for the admin office as the network can be slow when busy. The network capacity and speed could be investigated and equipment and internet speed could be upgraded. Accounting software such as Xero could be brought in if bot already being utilised.
  • The kitchen stock ordering system could be expanded to include the other stock items, again this could be handled by iZettle.
  • Upgrade conference room as this has been underfunded and rarely used. The room could be upgraded with better internet network access including Wi-Fi as it currently has 1 network point.

 

  • Upgrade the swimming pool to a full spa area, this is already being considered by Hibernia Inns as it has expertise in this area.
  • Create a new website for the hotel. The website was created 6 years ago; it is stated that the website is updated regularly with prices but the technology it has been created in may be out of date or further features could be added such as booking rooms online.

 

  • Staff teambuilding could take place to help staff see the positives in changing and upgrading the hotel. The manager Peter Wilson feels that the staff eye him suspiciously and trust in him needs to be built for changes to be successful.
  • The hotel has great transport links with Edinburgh, the new borders railway is 51 minutes from Edinburgh and a bus service is provided for free between the station and hotel. The hotel could further capitalise on tourists looking to extend their city breaks by partnering with a hotel in Edinburgh from which a discount can be offered when booking both hotels.

 

 

 

Conclusions

The Glenkerrie Hotel has many opportunities to modernise and increase profits without losing the old-world charm of the venue.

The hotel must improve the data security of the card payment processing as a priority to comply with the new Data Protection laws coming into place in May 2018 with a secure payments system. The wasted productivity of staff in the hotel can also be addressed by using up to date technology, a computerised hotel system such as iZettle for Hospitality can handle stock control for the kitchen, table management, tab control, sales overviews and employee management (iZettle, 2017). A wedding and events service helps to utilise an underused area of the hotel and create additional revenue and improve the atmosphere for the hotel.

The transformations of the hotel would be successful in improving the issues and conflicts highlighted in the rich picture and improve the running and profits of the hotel.