Executive insight: Marc Champsaur highlights the importance of effective collaboration

Karen McCandless talks to Accor’s vice president of Internet, Intranet, Franchise and Mobility about the impact the hotel operator’s new corporate intranet and social networking site is having on the company

Karen McCandless
Karen McCandless
By Karen McCandless on 28 August 2014
Executive insight: Marc Champsaur highlights the importance of effective collaboration

According to Accor’s Marc Champsaur, the world is changing very quickly – and so is the hospitality industry. To keep up, he says the hotel group needs to be more agile and enable its employees to be the same. Mobility is a cornerstone in transforming the business, and one priority is to easily allow employees to use solutions and apps, wherever they are in the world and on any device. To meet these needs, Accor introduced a new corporate intranet, AccorLive, and associated social networking site, AccorLounge, on SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online in early 2014. Karen McCandless spoke with Champsaur to find out more about these initiatives.

Why did you decide to relaunch your corporate intranet site?
We needed to ensure that all our employees could easily access corporate information in real time whenever and wherever they are on any device and that they can collaborate better and work more efficiently. This will allow us to achieve agility across the hotel group and to stay ahead of our competitors in the hospitality industry.

Why did you decide to choose SharePoint to power the site?
We were already using Microsoft SharePoint 2003 for our corporate intranet, which we launched at the beginning of 2005; when we decided to relaunch the site in 2012, it was a logical step to continue using SharePoint. We also wanted our intranet to have collaborative and social networking functionality, as well as allow our deskless workers to access it from anywhere in the world at any time. Previously they couldn’t access the intranet at all. That is why we choose a hybrid platform of SharePoint Server 2013 on premise, as well as SharePoint Online to power our new AccorLive corporate intranet and AccorLounge social network.

What were the timescales on this – when did you start the deployment and how long did it take to roll out?
We deployed the AccorLive corporate intranet and AccorLounge social network at our French headquarters in January and we will finish the global deployment in July. On the new social network, we already have more than 3,700 people connected and more than 220 communities and collaborative sites.

What benefits does your new corporate intranet and social networking site provide?
We are able to personalise content and push relevant information to each user and they can also access specific applications and intranet sites in a more efficient way. The platform allows employees to collaborate better, as they can create communities and sites in an easy and user-friendly way and work on documents at the same time. One of the most important points was to be able to give access to the sites for people without a desktop PC so we needed a cloud solution that would be accessible on mobile devices. The use of OneDrive for Business online file storage also allows our employees to more easily share documents in a more secure way. For example, marketing teams can store and share very large and sensitive documents and videos in OneDrive and have the peace of mind the information is secure. And, because this is a cloud solution, they can access the information anywhere and on any device.

How have your employees reacted to the new sites?
We have had very positive feedback and our employees find the intranet more user friendly; it also provides more of a sense of community. They can share ideas and expertise in an efficient way, join projects and view job postings, as well as accessing our Accor business apps quickly and get information that is useful to them and tailored to their role, location, hotel brand and interests. Our franchisees can also access the intranet now, which means they have better access to information and can collaborate more efficiently with head office.

Can you give any specific examples of how the sites are improving the way employees work?
Chefs across our Sofitel hotels are sharing recipe ideas to meet the needs of health conscious customers. This is also an example of how we can improve the experience for your guests.

Tell me about how you are using Windows 8?
Our sales force have been using HP Revolve Windows 8 tablets since the end of 2013 to enable them to work better when they are travelling and more easily deliver presentations to their clients. We are also working on a new system on Windows 8 for the front desk in our hotel and we want our guests to be able to use tablets in the hotel as well to do things, such as check in and order room service.

Why did you choose Windows 8 as opposed to any other operating systems?
It was easy for us to integrate Windows 8 with our existing information systems, as we already use Windows on our PCs and back-end systems. It also means we can still access the legacy applications we already have on our systems and we don’t have to do any customisation.

Are you using any other Microsoft technology in your business?
We are working on the deployment of Office 365 across all of our employees. The cloud is also very important and we are using Dynamics CRM Online to manage relations with franchisees.

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