Udaipur (Rajasthan) and Strasbourg (France) are true legendary examples of a ‘Living Heritage’. The two cities may exhibit diverse cultures and people but the link between each city’s yesterday and today cannot be ignored – a striking similarity shared by cities that are seven seas apart! …[Read More]
It was an ambitious dream to get enlisted in ‘CIO-Asia’s top 100 index’ and it’s no more just a dream, it is real!
It is a moment of pride for all at HRH and specially team at the IT department. I must say that all team members have worked with utmost sincerity towards a single goal of achieving excellence through sustainable solutions in the field of IT.
I may not be able to name all however mentioning few of them is must who are just like solid pillars holding and supporting the IT department- Shailendra, Hemant, Nitin, Rajendra, Mukesh, Mihir, Sumit, Amit, Ritesh, Shekhar, Pranav, Mukesh & Avinash . Being a part of such a loyal and talented team always brings a sense of pride where few of them have worked with the organization for more than 12 years and most of them for 5years at least!
I remember, this journey towards the success had started with an understanding of the vision shared by respected CMD, Shriji Arvind Singh ji Mewar who has always guided us towards innovative and self sustainable IT solutions. These should not only be cost effective but also support business operations across all verticals.
With micro level knowledge of processes especially of hospitality industry and competent and tested-solutions, we wish to explore new avenues & provide I.T. services to the world because I.T is one of our (HRH) core competencies & ‘CIO-Asia’s top 100 index’ proves the same now!
The I.T. projects of HRH Group of Hotels have been listed in top 100 Asian companies’ I.T. project index of 2013 and declared as ‘CIO 100 HONOUREE 2013’. It marked the presence in CIO-Asia’s annual index of Asia’s top performing enterprise users of IT. The index is maintained by ‘CIO-Asia’ magazine annually and published by ‘Fairfax Business Media, Singapore’.
This index highlights top 100 enterprises and organizations of Asia that have excelled through creative and innovative IT projects in the past year. Companies are listed as CIO 100 only if they have added extraordinary value to the stakeholders and customers through IT systems and innovative projects. This is the highest honour presented to any enterprise for IT implementation in the Asian region & panel of jury includes senior leaders of the industry and the University Professors of Information Technology from various Asian countries.
This year ‘Roll of Honors’ of CIO-Asia-100 index recognized representatives from more than 12 Asian countries. Few of them are from India, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Philippines, UAE, Macau etc…
Mr. T.C. Seow Editor of CIO Asia magazine, Fairfax Business Media presented this prestigious award to Mr. Vijay Choudhary, Head IT, HRH Group of Hotels in a grand ceremony at the Marina Mandarin Hotel, Singapore on March 13, 2013. In Mr. Seow words, the entries to this year’s CIO 100 list has set an extremely high standard in terms of breadth and depth of implementation. Focus on enhanced customer experience acts as a guiding principle behind IT initiatives.
Mr. Choudhary had accepted the award in Singapore while acknowledging team work of IT department at HRH Group of Hotels.
It’s another landmark in the journey of technological achievements for HRH Group of Hotels, EternalMewar, Udaipur.
Vijay Choudhary, General Manager – Information Technology, HRH Hotels shares his Success Mantra with magazine, IT Next
You can also read the text in the article below:
A Soldier in IT
“An MBA (Finance) gives me a bird’s-eye view of an organization, which will help in the role of a CIO,” says Vijay Choudhary, General Manager-IT, HRH Group of Hotels
“I found my dream job in IT and consider myself a soldier to serve my country, users and organizations”
BY MANU SHARMA
“Hailing from Rajasthan, I always dreamed of serving in the Indian defense services from my early school days. In fact ,I got through my CDSE written exams and group discussion. However, due to unfavorable family conditions, I had to give up, “says Choudhary.
“But by God’s grace, I joined IT since I had a B.Sc. in Computer Science; and there have been no regrets so far,” he adds..He later completed his M.Sc. in Computer Science from Udaipur University, “I found my dream job in IT and consider myself a soldier equipped to serve my country, users and organizations.”
In 1996, Choudhary joined the Choksi Group of Companies, Udaipur as EDP in charge and was responsible for process automation for HR. manufacturing and finance .Later, in 1999, he joined the HRH Group “I joined as a programmer during the K2K scenario and had to handle a lot of bugs in the existing software. But I handled them and have since grown in the same company over the last 13 years. Today, I am the GM-IT and responsible for the entire IT implementation –not only within the hotels but also the group’s other companies like education etc.”
IT learning and recognition go parallel, feel Choudhary. “Every day is new day and opens doors to lot of new opportunities for learning –facing new, unexpected problems and designing strategies to solve them. You need to continuously increase your efficiency and stamina like in the Army,” he remarks.
He developed the Central Reservation System (CRS) and Central Management Management (CRM) from scratch. The systems work on the Window Sequel server and all the applications are hosted in the company’s own data center which Choudhary and team setup in Udaipur.
He aims to join the excursive club of CIOs over the next few years and says he has been continuously upgrading his skills. In fact, he finished an MBA (Finance) recently and now understands the financial skills required for a CIO. “The MBA gives me a bird view of the organization .while I am already equipped with B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Computer Science; these will help in the role of a CIO. I would like to pursue my future in the hospitality industry itself.” he says.
He believes that these are the future technologies to look forward to and master: everything As a Service, Cloud, Virtualization, App on demand, Business Intelligence on App, BI with predictive analysis leveraging Big Data advantage, Ipv6 and social network. To overcome stress, he gets up at 4.45am on all week days to practice pranayams/yoga for one and-a-half hours. “But my kids do not allow me to get up early on Sunday.” he jokes.
“Besides, in the middle of my working day. I practice deep breathing at times when I feel overburdened with challenges… it gives me immediate energy.”
Choudhary admires his CMD, Maharana Shriji Arvind Singhji Mewar.”It has been a huge privilege to work with him closely. Also I admire Steve Job’s life history; the great man came from the toughest situation and left us with so much.” he concludes.
GM IT HEAD IT
BUSINESS AND TECHOLONGY ALIGNMENT IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
A PERSON CAN AND WILL BE SUCCESFUL WITH OR WITHOUT FORMAL EDUCATION IF HE HAS THE 5CS CHARACTER, COMMITMNET, CONVICTION, COURTESY, AND COURAGE.
Extraordinary IT innovations at the HRH Group of Hotels recognized by APAC CXO Forum at Bangkok, Thailand
HRH Group of Hotels participated in a prestigious Asia Pacific level “Business – Technology – Leadership Event” – The CIO Leadership Retreat and CISO Forum 2012 at Bangkok, Thailand, from Oct 25th – 27th, 2012. The event was organized by the ‘APAC CXO forum’, an international forum, which invited the top 100 IT leaders and eminent I.T. service providers in the Asia Pacific region. The theme of the conference was “Innovate, Secure & Transform”.
The event had Workshops ‘by CIOs – for CIOs’, lessons on Leadership, Technology Sessions by eminent speakers from India as well as Thailand. It was followed by a grand ceremony of the prestigious Awards for CIOs, CISOs and Data Center Experts, hosted at the ‘Menam Seminar and Convention Center, Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside, Bangkok’.
Mr. Vijay Choudhary, Head IT, HRH Group of Hotels was honored with the award ‘CIO-Leader’, presented by Mr. Ajay K. Dhir, Chairman and Founder of the APAC CXO Forum. The award recognizes a trusted guide, influential mentor and a strategic executive. It recognizes someone who is instrumental in the successful turnaround of his company & is an exceptional leader who has played an important role in his specific sector development on various levels, implemented innovative strategies in order to improve performance, and contributed to the growth of the community, environment & region as well.
To maintain transparency, proper governance and a structured process of selection, the awards were judged by an independent panel of prominent society and industry leaders.
It’s another landmark in the journey of technological achievements for HRH Group of Hotels, EternalMewar, Udaipur.
World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry – is a vibrant must attend four-day business-to-business event presenting a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to UK and International travel professionals. It is a unique opportunity for the whole global travel trade to meet, network, negotiate and conduct business under one roof.
The event held annually, this year is happening on 5th-8th November 2012 in London where deals are negotiated that will ultimately decide which destinations appear in holiday brochures, travel agents and on travel websites. HRH Group of Hotels is being represented by Ms. Padmaja Kumari Parmar, Executive Director Marketing, USA along with Mr. Kunal Singh, GM Sales – Travel Trade, Udaipur, Ms. Sabina Bailey, Public Affairs and Marketing Consultant, London and Mr. Yashwant Singh Jadeja, General Manager, Sales USA at the exhibition this year.
HRH Group of Hotels has received the prestigious EDGE award in the field of Information technology.
The EDGE (Enterprises Driving Growth and Excellence through IT) award is an initiative of ‘Information week’ magazine is an effort to identify, recognize and honor end-user companies in India that have demonstrated the best use of technology to solve a business problem, improve their business competitiveness and deliver quantifiable results to stakeholders. ‘Information week’ is an International I.T. media group headquartered at New York, has presence in India through its Indian edition of ‘Information week’ since 2009.
The independent jury for this award includes who’s who of the Indian IT Industry, renowned leaders/academician of Management and Technology institutions like IITs and IIMs, and Group Editors of the Magazine.
On a bright celebrating evening, it has been given by Mr. Brian Pereira, Editor-in-Chief ‘Information Week’ to Mr. Vijay Choudhary, Head IT, HRH Group of Hotels, Udaipur at the grant ceremony held at ‘Bombay Convention and Exhibition center’, Mumbai on 11/Oct/2012. According to Mr. Choudhary, it’s the result of putting best efforts and hard work continuously by all the team members of the I.T. Department, EternalMewar.
Mr. Vijay Choudhary, DGM-IT, HRH Group Of Hotels talks about his Dream Project, Dream Industry, Dream Courses and Dream Role in the ‘Leadership Next 100′ Column of ITNext, September 2012 Issue.
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“My dream role would be that of a ‘CIO’ sitting in the co-driver’s seat, helping the CEO to drive business agility and transformation”
Your Dream Project
I have always aspired to lead a dream project whenever I notice business problems and then tried my best to apply technology to fix it. Being in the hospitality industry and management of IT infrastructure, my dream project is something which can be a BI tool, where in the system draws up the future strategies, while taking inputs from the environment, industry, research organisations, in-house data. It will be about coping with Big Data advantage and its analytical capabilities.
Your Dream industry
The service industry accounts for the maximum in our GDP growth. Hospitality and tourism is one of the prime drivers of this segment, and I have been working in this segment for the past 13 plus years, it’s my favorite as technology is always at the forefront playing a big role. The reasons I love to be part of the hospitality industry are:
Exposure: Being in the hospitality industry, we face/learn about varied processes/people/technology stakeholders.
Unique Work flow integration: The IT department is like an organisation in itself,running within an organisation. Even the smallest department is integrated with the main core application/platform because the most important factor is uninterrupted guest services.
Respect given to IT: High and deserving.
Team work: In this sector, the team’s work is immediately reflected in quick ‘guest/client feedback.’ It’s required as a strong KPI measuring business insight.
I have enrolled myself for research, for a Ph.D. I also plan to do ITIL, CISM and PMP, the globally accredited and accepted certifications. To achieve academic excellence and to acquire a research mindset, I am pursuing my dream course – a Ph.D. and getting into intricacies of how research work is done. The aim is to cover various methodologies, report writing, study statistics and analytics, mentor the next generation of IT leaders and beneficiary communities. The Ph.D. is already under way. I will start on other professional certifications from January 2013 onwards.
Your Dream Role
My dream role would be that of a ‘CIO’ sitting in the co-driver’s seat helping the CEO towards complete business agility/transformation/innovation. I’ll look forward to wearing a business cap in addition to technology responsibility. It is indeed my favorite, as it offers greater space for innovation. ITNext has already geared me up by bestowing the ITnext100 award in 2011. As a Next100 winner. I was able to recognize my potential and I am now putting in more efforts to understand what inventory of skills really matters to reach a CIO’s position
Vijay Choudhary, General Manager – Information Technology, I.T. Department, HRH Group of Hotels, Eternal Mewar, pens down an article for ‘Hotelier India’ September 2012 Issue.
He talks about ‘How heritage hotels provide the perfect blend of old-world and new-age experiences’ in the article, “Exploring Heritage, Hospitality and High-tech environments”
You can also read the content of the entire article below:
Exploring Heritage, Hospitality and High-tech environments
How heritage hotels provide the perfect blend of old-world and new-age experiences.
– By Vijay Choudhary, Head IT, HRH Group of Hotels
Blending tradition with innovation, technol¬ogy is a must-have for resource optimisation, monitoring, customer acquisition and guest-feedback processing for the heritage hotel industry. It finds applications in this sector for man, machine and materials. In heritage hotels, we need to continuously look for av¬enues to fulfill our promises of delivering perfectly gracious In¬dian hospitality, in part through high-tech technology.
Travellers’ needs do not begin or end with the amenities like room, food, laundry or spa, but with technology like high-speed wi-fi to experience better info¬tainment and luxury. At heritage properties, mostly located in remote areas, providing uninter¬rupted technology is a big chal¬lenge. The connectivity technol¬ogy in the hospitality industry, including VSAT and high-speed broadband using radio frequen¬cies, are preferred in these areas.
Technologies that are being implemented among heritage brands tend to be dependent on the a number of key initiatives and areas, that I list below. INFRASTRUCTURE BACKBONE It is always a big challenge to install and deploy necessary IT infrastruc¬ture, especially when it comes to laying and connecting cables for various services, and keep the prop¬erty’s architecture undamaged. the physical-layer infrastructure are basically consist of a number of technological components. WORKFLOW INTEGRATION
All guest services start process¬ing from the first point of demand generation, such as from the heri¬tage hotel’s website. Prospective visitors look for value in terms of both a heritage experience and the availability of technology-driven services.
Similarly, back-end services, which guests may not experience directly, are prime factors for effi¬cient operations. These include an automated process flow for service delivery using integrated software that covers eCRM, cen¬tral reservations systems, front-office management, point of sales, housekeeping, laundry, back-end accounting and finance, material management and HRM. This workflow is automated keeping in mind the three As: accessibil¬ity, accountability and authorisa¬tion, and is accelerated towards quick and efficient service to heri¬tage hotel guests. It also delivers a way to monitor various KPIs in terms of RevPAR, ADRs, future projections and occupancy, cost and consumption per unit of efficiency.
Across heritage properties, there is major communication deploy¬ment which takes place: IP phones, high-speed wi-fi, voice¬mail and social-platform enabled HDTVs.
Surveillance enabled by tech¬nology through CCTV moni¬toring systems is necessary for properties that have guests, in-room guests, staff and service-providers constantly coming in. Digital security policies are being implemented and infrastructure is building up to keep the delicate nature of the architecture of heri¬tage properties in mind.
Also being considered steadily are P2P videoconferencing solu¬tions, audio-video infrastruc¬ture, modern BMS comprising of fire alarms, energy monitoring, access control, biometric finger print machines for monitoring, control and compliance for the ultimate benefit of guests. HI
The writer is deputy general man¬ager – information technology at the IT department of HRH Group of Hotels.
Global communication and technology has transformed the way heritage hotels market themselves. More steps are bgeing taken for greater property visibility within global markets to generate customer demand. These include:
• Adopting web strategies, competing at OTA/GDS/IDS platforms, e-marketing initia¬tives, integration of online payment gateways through websites, bulk SMS campaign¬ing, eNewsletters, e-greetings and brand-building using social media platforms.
• Integrated BI tools are being used for revenue optimisation and monitoring, and building demands through technology.
Critical success factors for technology at heritage properties:
• A technology roadmap and strategy should be in complete sync with business strategies, clearly defined roles and ROI matrices.
• The CIO or technology head should directly report to the board of directors.
• Information and awareness of regulatory compliance to the technology department.
• Competency of the IT team, with domain expertise of the industry.
• A considerable stakeholder acceptance level and technological awareness.