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Glocal Webworks — The Future of a History - By Dietmar Müller-Elmau
HITEC - Celebrating 30 Years of Hospitality Technology

Dietmar Müller-Elmau

When we founded FIDELIO in 1987 with a plan to become a global leader in hotel information technology, we knew that we had to develop a global standard that could be customized to meet the ever-changing needs of an extremely heterogeneous local market and do it in a very short period of time. FIDELIO succeeded because it provided its customers with a hitherto unknown freedom in the definition of its customer profiles, their specific rates and unique selling strategies, and individual reporting requirements. No other standard application provided such flexibility. We wanted to enable our customers to increase their competitive edge by customizing their product and customer information to meet their specific needs. Unfortunately, the increased heterogeneity and complexity of the product, services and rate information, created at the local level, could not adequately be matched at the global level, despite various, more or less complex though reliable interfaces and switches (one-way, two-way and seamless).

To address this "digital divide" we started to develop FIDELIO OPERA in 1994, an all-in-one, enterprise-wide application intended to seamlessly integrate reservations and sales and catering functions on the global, local and even remote customer level. OPERA, however, would have required a homogenous systems world at both the local and central level; an idea that proved difficult, if not impossible to achieve in an increasingly heterogeneous, fragmented and ever-changing world of hotel ownership, management and product distribution channels. In addition, the development of Fidelio OPERA lost momentum after Fidelio Software was sold to Micros at the end of 1995.

I resigned as CEO from Micros-Fidelio in 1996. I did it to get involved in politics to bring about a change in Germany's immigration regime. Within a few years I managed to turn the mountain resort of my family, Schloss Elmau, into one of the most prominent Think Tank Institutes for Political Philosophy and Contemporary History in Germany. A conference on "Globalization and Immigration," which I had organized in 1998, eventually led to a change in legislation in 2000. For the first time ever, "green cards" were offered in Germany to computer specialists from all over the world.

In an effort to concentrate R&D on OPERA, MICROS decided to close the FIDELIO R&D center in Israel that was doing development work on Windows Version 7. Kaweh Niroomand, Micros-Fidelio executive vice president EAME, managed to save FIDELIO Version 7 by moving its development in 2001 from Israel to Hamburg, under the control of Toni Heuer (president FIDELIO CRUISE). The Green Card legislation had opened the door for Toni to hire a number of development specialists from India and Eastern Europe. This enabled him to embark on the extremely ambitious and promising development of FIDELIO Version 8 (integrating Front Office and Sales and Catering) and the Internet/GDS link MyFIDELIO.NET.

Since the Internet makes local information global and vice versa, the problem of data, business logic and functionality being mismatched between a local product and the global distribution level will become obsolete. A communication link embedded with a Global Customer and Product Index, and local applications interoperating with WebServices, will completely localize product and customer Information at all levels — even across heterogeneous systems. It is my bet, that FIDELIO will move the limits of hotel software technology beyond the Local and Global Networks of the past to the Global Webworks of the future.

Dietmar Müller-Elmau is founder of Fidelio Software and is a recipient of the HFTP Technology Award of Merit.

30 Years HITEC - Recollections - Pioneers recount their experiences in laying the foundation for technology in the hospitality industry
Click here for more HITEC 30 Years Coverage!

newsletter - HITECHITEC®, produced by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), is the most comprehensive meeting of its kind in the hospitality industry. It addresses the use of technology in the industry and brings together buyers and sellers of technology under one roof. Each year, more than 5,500 hospitality executives and exhibitors from around the world attend this three-day conference and exposition. For more information go to www.hitec.org.

The Bottomline (HFTP Magazine)The Bottomline, published bimonthly, is the official publication of HFTP, and is received by HFTP members as a member benefit. The editorial content of The Bottomline is determined by a team of experts. Members of the HFTP Communications Committee represent a variety of industry segments and areas of expertise in accounting, finance and technology. Besides the magazine's six regular issues, two special issues are published yearly. The Bottomline is an HFTP member benefit and is only received regularly by members. Go to www.hftp.org to get more information on HFTP membership.

HFTP LogoBased in Austin, Texas, HFTP is the professional association for financial and IT personnel working in hotels, resorts, clubs, casinos, restaurants, and other hospitality-related businesses. The association provides continuing education and networking opportunities to more than 4,300 members around the world. HFTP also administers the examination and awards the certification for the Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE) and the Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) designations. HFTP was founded in 1952 as the National Association of Hospitality Accountants.

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Hospitality NetHITEC 30 Years - HFTP

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