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LXR moves its 20 resorts and hotels to Google Apps

Posted by Laurent Bortoluzzi, Vice President of IT, LXR

Editor's Note: We're pleased to welcome guest blogger Laurent Bortoluzzi, CIO of LXR. Headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, LXR is a collection of hotels and resorts across the United States and the Caribbean. LXR joins other hotels like IHG and Delta Hotels that are already using Google Apps. Learn more about other organizations that have gone Google on our community map.

At LXR we’re committed to service and continually look for ways to enhance the comfort and enjoyment of our guests. Our 7,000 talented and hard-working employees make the difference in providing a great experience at our 20 resorts and hotels. As CIO, it’s important to me that I provide the LXR team with the best tools to optimize the way they work and ultimately provide excellent hospitality. We recently decided that one of the ways we could do this was to move to Google Apps.

With the help of Google Apps Reseller, Cloud Sherpas, we’re migrating 3,000 mailboxes to Google Apps. We’ve deployed four hotel properties as well as our sales and marketing teams and everything has gone smoothly. Based on the surveys we sent out to employees following the deployment, they’re extremely happy with Gmail and are already starting to use Google Docs. Notably, there was no negative feedback, and in fact, a majority (75 percent) of employees said they’re glad we switched to Google Apps.

Our marketing department is particularly excited about using Google Sites to share creative files. They’ve found Sites so intuitive that they don’t need any help from the IT team to set up new project sites. I also think our employees will see tremendous benefits from the ability to collaborate on documents instead of sending emails with attachments back and forth. It’s been amazing to see how many features have been added to Google Docs and how much the product has evolved since we first started evaluating Google Apps last year. Google Docs will prevent us from having to upgrade licences for most of our employees.

Our HR department is excited about video chat with Google Talk. We typically fly recruits to Florida for interviews, but by using Google Talk’s video chat for initial interviews, we’ll not only save money on travel costs, but also the time it takes to arrange several rounds of interview travel.

I’ve also started looking at the Google Apps Marketplace. There are so many applications that we can use, from work flow to expense report applications. Processes that are pretty cumbersome today could get an overhaul with applications that will integrate seamlessly with Google Apps.

Since Google Apps is web-based, our employees can get their information from any device, wherever they are and the IT team can spend less time managing software updates on company supplied laptops and Blackberries. Access to real time information is extremely important in the hospitality industry.

The way we see it at LXR, the web is the future. Google Apps allows us to focus on business-critical projects that increase revenue and save costs, while making both our employees and our executive team happy.