Sun, 14 Jan 2001

See the world with Fidelio, a leader in property management

By Vishnu K. Mahmud

JAKARTA (JP): Four years ago, Feri Kurniawan was bored. He had been in the hotel industry for seven years, working his way up from Bell Boy to Front Office Manager after graduating from a hotel school.

"At the end of the day, I felt that I did not learn that much anymore, so I become bored with the entire routine," he recalled. Today, Feri is a Project Manager with PT Filosoft Indosistem, the Indonesian subsidiary of Micros Fidelio. The Columbia, Maryland- based company is the global leader in advanced property management and central systems with more than 10,000 systems installed.

Property Management Systems (PMS) is the Information Technology (IT) backbone for a hotel or restaurant establishment. It not only provides networked computer systems that checks in and checks out guests, but it also handles back office accounting, reservations system, guest history and guest recognition programs to name a few. Property Management Systems are basically efficient tools to help the hotel employees provide excellent service to their guests.

"Micros-Fidelio has one of the largest user bases in the world as most international hotel chains use Fidelio as their PMS," says Chris Surjaseputra, Filosoft's Operations Manager.

"As the software is used worldwide, the Fidelio program is more dynamic since it incorporates inputs and requests from many different hotels and restaurants. Fidelio can also be customized according to each individual property's requirements."

In addition to it's worldwide user base, hotel schools around the world are also beginning to teach the Fidelio hotel system. Currently, two Indonesian hotel schools (located in Jakarta and Surabaya) are planning to install Fidelio in order to give their students an advantage in the hospitality job market. And it is the Project Manager's duty to install the Fidelio system and train all the members of staff (or students).

Feri's job has taken him around the regions. He goes to the hotel, trains the staff in the new hotel system, sets up the computer programs and eases the hotel into "going live" from their old PMS to Fidelio. But the job is by no means monotonous.

"Before, as the EDP (Electronic Data Processing) Manager at a hotel, I had to maintain the network, take care of payroll and do the monthly closing. It was routine," remarks Rovian Rusmin, Filosoft's Back Office and F&B specialist. "Now, I get to travel around the world and install in different hotels, meeting new people. Each property install is always a different experience."

Most Fidelio Installers are not Computer Science graduates. "Mostly Hotel D3 is the minimum but what counts the most is the work experience, which is hotel operations background." says Chris.

Having a hotel background allows the Project Manager to anticipate and understand the concerns of the hotel employee learning a new computer system. He/she would also understand the needs and requirements of the guests, front line staff and management.

And most Project Managers have travel stories to tell. Endang Sunarya, Filosoft's network wizard, recently completed an installation in North Korea. His journey back was dreadful. He had to wait and walk across the border to China (straight out of a Cold War movie!), spend the night at the border town, take the only flight to Beijing (the rest was canceled due to a typhoon), wait another night, take a flight to Singapore, missed his connection, and waited another 13 hours before reaching Jakarta. Four days to travel the equivalent distance of Jakarta - Tokyo. For the same amount of time, one could travel around the world twice!

Bram Marzuki, formerly of the Shangri-La Jakarta, has also had his share of travel woes. While traveling from Bombay to Singapore, he transited in the small city of Chennai, Madras, where you must identify your luggage prior to boarding (after check in but before they load the luggage on the plane). He forgot to do so and lost his luggage for about six hours. He still does not understand why one must identify their luggage after checking them in at the counter!

When asked about the current crisis in the Indonesian hotel industry, Chris states that Fidelio Jakarta will continue to provide technical support for the hotels in Indonesia. There are no new projects as yet since most hotel owners and operators are in a "wait and see" mode before deciding on investing.

In the meanwhile, Feri and the other Project Managers at Filosoft will continue to help install Fidelio in other countries, spreading goodwill and being ambassadors for Indonesia. Hopefully they can come back with their luggage intact! (