Back (Office) to the Future: The 4 Trends IT Leaders Need to Know

By Christian Berthelsen|Jun 13, 2022|2:12 am CDT

If reinvention is defined as the process through which something is changed to the point it becomes entirely new, then the hospitality back office is getting reinvented big time.

From time and attendance advancements tracking the employee from clock-in to punch-out to POS analytics feeding corporate monthly location performance trends, there’s no doubt innovation will give hospitality groups insights and efficiency undreamed of just a decade ago – but how do IT teams go about orchestrating a great reinvention?

Hospitality back office platforms can become so ingrained in operations that the mere idea of tackling the implementation for an “upgrade” or “another system” or “a platform that promises to simplify and scale” seems like you’re signing up for a lot of extra work and headaches – not to mention the worry of adopting a solution that doesn’t work the way you need it to.

Yet the rewards for adopting the right technology pay massive dividends across the organization. Here are four trends you need to be aware of, which will drive topline revenue, operational efficiency, and reduced costs.

Trend 1: Workforce management solutions offer more than just scheduling

There’s a belief that hospitality back office platform offerings lag behind the shiny customer-centric innovations and advanced POS systems. That’s simply not the case anymore – take workforce management for example.

While just five years ago managers were simply looking for ways to migrate scheduling from tedious spreadsheets to an automated platform, today these centralized solutions can encompass even more administrative tasks under one umbrella – time and attendance, brand compliance, and employee communications – all while ensuring legal wage/scheduling compliance.

Take it a step further. A truly end-to-end workforce management solution houses everything under on set of logins. Integrating applicant tracking, hiring, and onboarding into your scheduling solution conveniently covers the entire employee lifecycle.

Trend 2: Human Resources departments embrace more automation

To follow up on the hiring note, human resource departments across the country are currently overwhelmed from the added burden of filling extra vacant positions brought on by the current labor shortage. Empowering these teams with the right technology has a cascading effect that allows managers to fully staff shifts and fully realize possible revenues.

An applicant tracking system removes the tedious work of manually reviewing job applications and resumes, with dashboards and reporting that ensures HR teams continually improve efficiency and hiring quality.

HR outsourcing is a cost-effective way to hand off hospitality back office tasks to a responsible third party to ensure legal compliance and competitive employee benefits packages. The end result: reducing the tedious responsibilities for your HR teams so they can more effectively manage what matters.

Trend 3: Tightly control inventory

Experts predict the infamous supply chain shortages of the past year will continue for the near future, meaning businesses will have to endure inflated supply costs and possible ingredient shortages.

Ensure your COGS don’t hamper competitiveness. Micromanaging inventory through a centralized purchasing system reduces waste and ensures supply costs remain at a minimum. Utilize demand forecasting to ensure locations don’t overorder or over-prep, and take advantage of supplier integrations to ensure orders arrive on schedule.

Trend 4: Get the full picture with comprehensive, near real-time analytics

Anyone who’s worked with an advanced hospitality back office analytics solution understands that you must develop strategy before you can really make the platform and the collected POS and third-party data work for you. Otherwise, it’s just a glorified dashboard of data and graphs you can monitor to measure a few baseline key performance indicators. That’s simple correlation, which tells you nothing.

Once a strategy is set and configured in the system – tests are run, data is tracked, results are analyzed, and action is optimized – you find the causation necessary to gain key insights into location performance and operational efficiency.

Data is only useful if it has causation and can be contextualized within a platform that learns based on demand and events to recommend action. Back office systems need to deliver robust features for the key functional areas and then use data from in-store, above-store and near-store to make the system (and its users) smarter.

Technology will always progress – and IT leaders should adopt a culture of innovation and a comprehensive tech infrastructure that allows for reinvention. Tomorrow’s profits come from today’s investments, so ensure teams across your organization have the tools to operate with maximum impact.

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