Monday, March 12, 2007

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 for hospitality

In today's high-stakes marketplace, hospitality organizations need as much knowledge about guest preferences as possible. The deeper your insight into historical data, the better you can analyze, report on, and forecast future trends and sales. Microsoft SQL Server 2005—the next generation of Microsoft data management and analysis software—delivers a multitude of new and enhanced business intelligence features designed to give hospitality businesses deeper insight—and with it, competitive advantage.

Whether you're upgrading, migrating, or adopting an enterprise database application for the first time, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 offers businesses:

Heightened system performance, scalability, and reliability

A rich family of new business analytics and reporting tools

A means to significantly increase operational productivity and profitability

What Microsoft SQL Server does for hospitality

The premier relational database management system on the market today, Microsoft SQL Server helps companies succeed by providing them with a robust, security-enhanced, fully-integrated application for managing and mining their enterprise data.

Hospitality businesses have come to rely on Microsoft SQL Server for two primary functions: Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) and business intelligence. OLTP lies at the heart of any transactional database application, enabling hoteliers to retain and manage data about product inventory and sales. When these data warehousing capabilities are combined with business intelligence features, a company can track and interpret patterns in its historical data. The result is valuable information that enables the company to make more knowledgeable business decisions that can lead to reduced operational costs and increased revenue.

Using the extensive data warehousing (or storage) and business intelligence capabilities of Microsoft SQL Server, a company can closely examine “guest buying habits, sales, and philosophies by region,” says Rich Johnson, solutions architect for Microsoft Consulting Services. “Based on that, [a hospitality business] can better meet local, regional, and national trends.”

How Microsoft SQL Server 2005 benefits business

Building on the success of SQL Server 2000, customers are now taking advantage of the new reporting, analytical, and forecasting features offered in Microsoft SQL Server 2005, including hotel giant Hilton Hotels.

The benefits users are seeing are both vast and immediate, including:

Improved, faster application performance: “One of the biggest, immediate out-of-the-box performance benefits is in the area of user queries,” Johnson says. “They're typically completed 20-percent faster.” In addition, range queries, which enable you to manage and manipulate data in bulk, can be 50 to 100 percent faster with Microsoft SQL Server 2005.

More streamlined, effective analysis and reporting processes: Equipped with an enhanced set of data collection and forecasting tools (many of which are new), hospitality businesses can better anticipate and react to guest spending patterns. Doing so enables you to provision human resources, stock inventory, and deliver a higher quality of service—all while reducing cost due to bad planning.

Savings in time, costs, and human resources: Faster performance and improved data management can significantly reduce the amount of time your IT staff spends developing and maintaining your databases. Also, users can reach guest, order, and inventory data more quickly. So they can keep focused on their jobs and not on using the software.

Superior integration with third-party applications and tools: Another significant advantage in this release of SQL Server, Johnson says, is its exceptional capability to comprehensively integrate with databases and applications from other vendors such as IBM and Teradata. This critical capability can help you extend the value of your existing applications, regardless of your underlying platform.

What's new in Microsoft SQL Server 2005

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 offers a number of improved data management capabilities and business intelligence tools. These components can get vital, timely information into the hands of employees throughout your business, helping them to make better decisions faster. Here are a few highlights.

Simplified management of large databases

A noteworthy improvement in SQL Server 2005 is true table and index partitioning, which, as Johnson says, makes for simpler, swifter database management of very large databases, from hundreds of gigabytes to terabytes and beyond. What it means for users of large databases is that they can now increase their productivity by working with smaller, more manageable chunks of data.

“In SQL Server 2005, we're able to take five years of weekly sales tables, which is roughly 250 tables, and move that into a single partition table,” Johnson explains. “This makes [the data] much easier to manage because you're looking at one object instead of 250.” The result: Much faster performance of range queries (up to 100 percent). In addition, code maintenance and development time is reduced because it's much easier to write reports against a single partition table.

New set of business intelligence tools

According to Johnson, three business intelligence tools either debuting or updated in Microsoft SQL Server 2005 make data forecasting much easier.

SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS): This new tool can enable you to easily integrate and analyze data across a wide array of operational systems, giving you a more holistic understanding of your business. The ability to mine and quickly interpret data from multiple sources across the enterprise can save your business countless human resource hours.

Report Builder: Featuring a user-friendly interface with a look similar to Microsoft Office system programs, this new component of SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services makes it easy for employees to create, edit, and publish their own reports.

Analysis Services: Improved from Microsoft SQL Server 2000, this component is now a much more flexible and richer environment for data reporting, analysis, and mining. Johnson says, “You can now report on dozens if not hundreds of dimensions [of data tables] or attributes.”

For more information

Learn more about how this next-generation data management and analysis solution can help your business prosper. Also get technical tools and resources to help you make the move to this latest release of Microsoft SQL Server.

How to buy
Learn about licensing options and requirements for the various editions of Microsoft SQL Server 2005

Migrate to SQL Server
Compare Microsoft SQL Server with other databases and get tools such as the SQL Server Migration Assistant that help make migration simpler

Hilton sets the table for increases in catering revenue with new database solution

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 TechCenter on TechNet, offering white papers and more for IT professionals

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Developer Center on MSDN, offering white papers and more for developers

Gartner report: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 raises product to competitive level

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Web site

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 product demos

Business intelligence with Microsoft SQL Server 2005: Transform data into decisions on-demand webcasts