In this interview with Footprint to Africa, one of the top executives of the pioneers of Hotel Enterprise Resource Planning(ERP) architecture, IDS Next reveals how the company sustains its global appeal and an enviable track-record of 98 per cent customer retention.
Can we know you and your role at IDS Next Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd?
My name is Rajesh P Yadav and I handle entire operations at Africa as a Senior Vice President. Along with a strong sales and support team, I am responsible for expanding IDS Next’s foot print in African continent. We regularly interact with large number of hoteliers across segment and try to understand their technological requirements to help them choose the right Hotel ERP.
Give us a brief overview of IDS Next Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
IDS Next is an internationally leading Hotel Technology Solutions provider with decades of unmatched domain expertise. Being pioneers in Hotel Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) architecture, our forte lies in providing unparalleled technology solutions for hospitality properties across categories. With unrivalled domain expertise, our USP lies in creating solutions that help hotels increase revenues, optimize costs and above all provide enhanced guest experience. Armed with industry leading technology, we command a large market share in the regions we operate. Our software and technology solutions have also earned the trust of over 4000 hotels in 40 countries spread across South Asia, South-East Asia, Africa, Middle East, Sri Lanka & Maldives and Oceania. A truly dedicated 24/7-support centre ensures 98 per cent retention of customers and unmatched customer satisfaction.
Tell us about your Hotel ERP Solutions.
As an industry leader, we clearly understand that it becomes difficult for hoteliers to manage and automate their operations with a simple property management system that comes with disparate solutions. In order to help them overcome this, we have integrated all the operationally required modules in our FortuneNEXT 6i Suite of Hotel ERP. Being a single application, this all-in-one Hotel ERP runs on a single database and covers the entire front of the house and back of the house operational areas of a hospitality enterprise. Most importantly, our Hotel ERP is Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA–DSS) Certified to ensure the safety of guests’ credit card details. Our Hotel ERP has earned the reputation of being one of the most user-friendly hotel software. For hotels, their Total cost of ownership (TCO) and investment comes down significantly due to our unique Hotel ERP architecture.
Do you use a one size fits all approach in creating your hotel solution? Or are the solutions tailored to meet your clients’ specifications?
We provide efficient solutions across categories such as large independent hotels, chain hotels, boutique or resort hotels and even small budget hotels. Our offerings include integrated hotel management software, restaurant management software, mobile apps and mobile analytic solutions, etc.
FortuneNext6i Hotel ERP is tailored with different solutions for different segments of the industry. While FortuneNEXT 6i Enterprise and Professional are for large independent hotels, FortuneNEXT 6i Express is mainly for mid-size and budget hotels.
Despite some challenges with the ease of doing business in Africa, statistic has shown that countries like Nigeria, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya among others have shown tremendous increase in the number of hotels, what are your long term plans for Africa?
We stay invested in Africa for the long term and we have over 100 hotels using our solutions in the African continent. Our goal is to have 500 happy customers in next three years. We believe in direct presence with support and services to augment our vast dealer network.
What challenges are you facing now and how do you think these challenges can be mitigated?
The vastness of Africa and sometimes the political situation in some countries hamper easy access to the market. We have therefore invested in the local talent available in each of our target countries in every department of our operations. Every country has its own challenges during the entry phase. For example, in Ethiopia, we had to certify our Hotel ERP with the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) for the fiscal printer interface. Our solutions are flexible and can adapt the local functional requirement of each country.
What is your competitive edge over other players in the hospitality industry?
We not only help our Hotel ERP users automate and streamline operations, we also help them in increasing occupancy to enhance revenues. Hoteliers using our Hotel ERP can access a unique solution set called Hotel 360 that consists of a distribution platform, channel manager, web booking engine, online reputation management, business analytics, revenue management, mobile apps and cloud solutions that are designed to enable them to sell until the last room, grow room occupancy and increase Average Room Rate (ARR) and Revenue Per Available Room (Revpar). Most importantly, we offer 24/7 tech support to our clients in Africa. They can get in touch with us round the clock via email, phone, self-service portal and live chat solution.
Do you have any strategic partnerships in Africa?
Yes, we do have local partners in Africa. We are currently present in 10 countries and we have strategic partnerships with local IT Companies in countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, Rwanda, Ghana and Egypt. Our local partners are paramount to us in order to ensure efficient sales, solution deployment and post implementation support.
What is your strategy on mobile solutions?
We are the first to bring in mobile analytics app called Pulze247. It helps hotel Owners and General Managers to have real-time information on their properties’ business even while on the go. We too have two other apps called Easy Dine and Easy Check-in. Both these apps are capable enough to help users considerably enhance guest experience.
What are your thoughts about cloud solutions?
We have already moved our central reservation system and financial reporting solution to cloud. While some of our markets have faster cloud adoption with our Cloud PMS like iMagine, we believe Africa will have a hybrid of in-premise and above the property solution for another year to 18 months. We are completely ready to move our customers to cloud with a smooth migration path when need arises.