REDMOND, Wash., and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 5, 2000 — Running a ski resort is like running a small city, according to Matthew Dunn, senior vice president and chief information officer for Intrawest, a leading developer and operator of village-centered destination resorts across North America.
“It takes a whole supply and demand chain to feed people, put a roof over their heads, entertain them and give them social spaces to gather,”
“And that’s before you handle the operational complexities of getting thousands of folks up and down a mountain or hundreds of people out on a golf course.”
To help enterprises like Intrawest connect every participant in their demand chain, including partners, employees and customers, Microsoft and Pivotal Corp. have embarked on a three-year, multi-million dollar initiative to jointly market and sell
“demand chain network solutions”
that combine Microsoft’s .NET enterprise servers and Pivotal’s XML-based enterprise applications. The solutions will provide Global 2000 companies like Intrawest with business infrastructures to fully integrate their e-commerce Web sites with all of their sales, marketing and service processes.
“We’re deepening our relationship with Pivotal to accelerate an entirely new way of doing business over the Web,”
said Steve Ballmer, president and CEO of Microsoft.
“By combining Pivotal’s breakthrough solutions with the power of new technologies like XML and Microsoft .NET enterprise servers, we will enable companies to achieve an unprecedented level of business agility and integration with customers and partners. We’re very excited to work with a pioneer like Pivotal to open up tremendous revenue opportunity for companies around the world.”
The Microsoft-Pivotal initiative will allow companies to form new partnerships with retail outlets, indirect sales channels, wholesalers, manufacturers, e-marketplaces and Internet auctions to create and fulfill customer demand.
“If you’re a bank, or a manufacturer, or any company, you can’t just have an employee-facing system that tracks and serves customers,”
said Norm Francis, CEO of Pivotal Corp.
“Companies need an entire e-business relationship with their customers, and that’s what we call a demand chain network. That will really be the core of e-business in the next 10 years, and that’s why we fully embrace the goal Microsoft is shooting for with its .NET strategy.”
Matthew Dunn turned to Pivotal after realizing that traditional customer relationship management (CRM) solutions did not address his vision of a demand-driven service relationship with resort customers. His decision to abandon a Sun, Oracle and Broadvision deployment for Microsoft-Pivotal technology came down to several factors, including cost-effectiveness, time to market, scalability, usability and a vision for the future that leapfrogs companies stuck in a CRM rut.
“What we’ve developed with Pivotal and Microsoft takes the different components of our business and enables them to work together in a way that’s unified around the guests and what they want,”
“Pivotal’s solutions allow us to personally engage our guests over the Internet and in our resorts to provide a level of service that is unmatched in our industry. We’re redefining our business around our customers instead of around our mountains.”
Intrawest had been looking for the right partner and technology to transform its people- and activity-centered resort business, Dunn explained.
“The ideas and technologies that Norm has built at Pivotal, it turns out, were way out in front,”
“What he’s envisioned is driving business based on the dynamics of demand, not supply. This idea, combined with Pivotal’s technology, has transformed my thinking about our business.”
Dunn moved quickly to implement a demand chain network (DCN) at Whistler/Blackcomb, North America’s largest mountain resort, and an Intrawest operation. Once the network is implemented, skiers at Whistler will have a range of conveniences, and Intrawest will have a complete picture of customer preferences as well as the ability to customize the Whistler experience for all of its visitors, Dunn said.
With the assistance of the Pivotal-Microsoft technology, Whistler customers can use the Internet to reserve hotel rooms, reserve ski equipment, set up ski lessons and make restaurant reservations. In the future, they will be able to use a smart card to access their rooms, rent boots, buy lunch, purchase gifts at a shop within the resort complex and see movies. Having so much data available about their guests allows staff at Whistler to offer customer service that is completely individual and convenient, he said.
Pivotal’s Francis views demand chain management as the natural progression of CRM. And he believes that unless companies consider the big picture and take an approach that integrates their customer applications with their current systems and databases, they will ultimately fail.
“All this complexity and integration needs to be very simple to use,”
“It needs to be extremely secure, and it needs to provide the right access to the right information for the right people at the right time.”
Finally, it needs to connect all participants in the demand chain, whether they’re at the company’s office, visiting the Whistler Web site or sitting in the back of a cab using a portable device.
“It’s not easy,”
“but it’s critical for businesses that want to win in the new economy.”