June 15, 2020

Create a Culture of Agility, Place These Five Tech Bets

HFTP Hangouts
Written by Briana Gilmore

Phil Le-Brun, director, enterprise strategy at Amazon Web Services, says there is one word that is mentioned, on average, every six minutes during executive meetings: agility. How can you do more, and faster, with less?

Agile companies have a few things in common: they have a clear vision or mission that everyone knows, clear key performance indicators (KPIs), and a culture of experimentation and innovation. Agile organizations are able to adapt quickly to change and accelerate technological growth.

In the past, the typical process of implementing new technology was to pilot the new solution over many years. Today, it is critical to employ technology that can be scaled up both rapidly and massively but also appeal to each customer. It may feel more comfortable to have a plan, but your organization needs to be able to pivot quickly rather than being tied into large, multi-year initiatives.

So, how do you take tech to market more rapidly and in a way that enhances customer experience and engagement? During the most recent HFTP European Hangout, London-based Le-Brun outlined five tech bets you should place for the next five years to help you on your quest to rapidly scale technology and galvanize your organization to become more agile.


"Without data, you're just another person with an opinion."

W. Edwards Deming

Data is essential to enhancing the customer experience, improving customer engagement and uncovering new opportunities. Through data, you can find new ideas, launch them with customers and find out if you are on the right track ⁠—in or the wrong one. Data allows you to make better decisions. Are you prepared to find out you are wrong based on that data?Do not get married to any one idea; be prepared to pivot based on your customer feedback.


Did you know that 95 percent of challenges to business adoption of data are cultural? You need to create and scale a data-driven culture within your organization. Oftentimes, data is collected and then siloed in a single department when it should be shared across the entire organization.

Data gives you better understanding about your customer behavior, and even your internal organizational behavior. It is a necessary driver for change. You need to engage in data-driven decision-making and enable data-driven front line action. This means that you should educate everyone in data literacy from the CEO all the way down. All of your employees should be comfortable working with data. Find and eliminate any barriers or blockers to becoming data-driven.

Le-Brun noted that the hospitality industry, and specifically the hotel segment, has already been able to demonstrate a data-driven culture. He observed that hotels already have a strong understanding of their customer journey. They use data to understand how the customer makes decisions; they have a valuable 360-degree view of the customer and can use that to refine and personalize the customer experience. There is a level of personalization throughout the entire experience, from greeting a guest by name before it is even given and following up with an appropriate bestowal that appeals directly to that individual.


Technology is not meant to replace your people. It should allow you to take the people you do have and use them in the most effective ways, such as engaging with your guests. Self-service kiosks are not designed to replace people; they are meant to take the pressure off of customers, allowing them to order or check in at their own pace or in their own language.

Data and insights are the enablers of automation. They help you figure out what you need to automate and how. To be effective, you need to envision the entire process and automate end-to-end rather than focusing on a single part of the process. De-silo process ownership and understand holistically the implications and needs of automation.

Also, be sure to balance efficiency and effectiveness. Do not optimize so much that it is rendered ineffective in enhancing customer engagement.

Cloud and Edge Computing

You need a platform and infrastructure that supports a culture of agility and the rapid scalability of tech initiatives. Both cloud and edge computing have transformed the way that data is collected, processed and used.

Agile companies can keep 10 times the workload in the cloud and increase internal capacity, while edge computing provides:

  1. Relocatable services.

  2. Infrastructure resilience.

  3. Appropriate fail-over mechanisms.

Keep these five tech bets in mind as you work to instill a culture of agility at your organization. Are you part of the restaurant business? Check out this article written by Le-Brun that focuses on these five tech trends for restaurants.

About HFTP Hangouts

HFTP Europe-focused Hangouts will continue each Wednesday in June at 15:00 UK / 9:00 a.m. CT. Visit the HFTP website to view the schedule of upcoming Hangouts and sign up to attend today.

2020 agility Amazon Cloud Data flexibility HFTP HFTP Hangout hospitality innovation insights June scalability technology