Digitalization – case study

Let technology free you to focus on what really matters

CWT

Industry:

IT

Scope:

Global

Results at a glance:

  • Bespoke digital tool benefiting all CWT Solutions Group clients 
  • Streamlined communication among all sourcing stakeholders 
  • Improved data visibility 
  • 50% decrease in number of emails exchanged 
  • Clients’ time savings of 30%

Challenge

A major global IT company needed to reduce time spent on hotel RFP project management. The sheer volume of data and numbers of hotels in its program meant it was impossible to conduct a classic hotel RFP.

The client appointed CWT Solutions Group to run and negotiate its hotel RFP while also reinventing the way hotel RFPs were managed – with more efficient and effective methods, processes and communication flows.

The IT company, which is based in the US, has more than 3,000 hotels in its program across multiple countries, with an annual spend of over $300 million USD. Historically, during the six-month hotel sourcing process (from data consolidation to negotiated fares audits) exchange of information and feedback from the client and project stakeholders was done through Excel files or emails.

The client was concerned it would become challenging to maintain seamless communication flows during the sourcing process – particularly because information needed to be validated at local and global levels.

"This was a real concern for our client and definitely not acceptable for an IT company," said Sweety Puddoo, manager, CWT Solutions Group. "We needed to improve communication processes and assist the client with visibility of full, accurate data that would inform its decision making."

Not only were there issues around exchanging files, but, as for all clients, the complexity of the task and the workload involved in consolidating feedback on Excel documents meant there was a risk of errors and inefficiencies.

Solution

Digitalizing processes would optimize RFP project management while bringing efficiencies and seamless communication flows.

We began collaborating with the client to develop an in-house digital product and together we considered different solutions, financials, risks and opportunities. Eventually, it was agreed that the best way forward was to move to a bespoke online platform.

We provided a project management platform, Sourcing Booth, a one-stop shop to manage communication between ourselves and the client's stakeholders. Here everyone could access essential information about the project, such as the timeline, sourcing documents and a chat box for questions and answers that would reduce the need for emails.

We also wanted to use the platform to share our recommendations regarding hotels in the client's program and hotels in the RFP process. Similarly, the client’s procurement team should be able to validate our recommendations on the digital platform and we would complete the task there too – eliminating the potential inefficiencies and errors that came with manual consolidation.

There was no suitable tool available to buy that would meet our needs, so we created our own digital sourcing tool, now called our Hotel Validation Tool (HVT). Solutions Group team members across EMEA and NORAM were involved in this long-term project, alongside our internal developers. The first version of HVT was deployed to our client and we collected feedback on users' experiences.

"They knew they were the pilot scheme and the tool was created mainly for their benefit, so they were extremely participative and communicative about what worked well and what should be improved," said Sweety.

The following year, we continued to develop HVT, which is now used by all CWT Solutions Group clients, enabling them to:

  • Empower their travel sourcing community
  • Improve global communication flows
  • Stay up to date with hotel negotiations

Results

Moving to an online platform significantly enhanced the overall management of the hotel RFP and solved the problem of transferring huge amounts of data between us and the IT company immediately. It improved the communication flow among the various stakeholders involved in the project.

Other benefits were:

  • Significant time gains during the RFP project management
  • Number of emails exchanged was halved – improving efficiency
  • Transparency as everyone can see the same level of information
  • Centralization of information
  • More interactive experience
  • Risk of error eliminated

"The HVT improves data visualization, with access to their key performance indicators, to give clients more insights. This helps companies make decisions more easily," said Sweety.

The success of this digital project meant we were able to roll out the HVT to most other clients the following year. An updated version went live in 2019 and became a classic tool we use for all clients.

Clients using the new tool are seeing time savings of 30% on specific validation tasks.

Feedback from one client revealed:

  • All users satisfied with using the HVT
  • 71% of users reported efficiency gains of more than 30% when using the HVT compared with previous solicitation method 

CWT was the first travel management company to bring such a tool to market and it has already helped us win new clients and new prospects.

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