Editor's note: Please welcome today’s guest blogger, Michael Rodger, Director of Digital Innovation for Delta Hotels and Resorts. Mike oversees technology strategy, development and operations and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Delta boasts a diversified portfolio of 44 city center, airport and resort properties, and employs more than 7,000 people. The company is at the forefront of cloud computing, not only for email and collaboration, but also for building social networks that encourage employee collaboration.

Mike will be telling more about Delta's transition at a
live webcast this Thursday, November 19, 2009, 2:00 p.m. EST / 11:00 a.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. GMT.

At Delta Hotels and Resorts, we continually look for ways to enhance the relationships we have built with our guests, colleagues, and owners. As a people-centric organization, we have a vibrant colleague community which is empowered to deliver honest and genuine service on a daily basis. One of our technology goals is to provide innovative ways in which our employees can strengthen the Delta community.

Our talented and hard-working colleagues are, undoubtedly, the difference-maker for our brand. Collectively, the spirit, creativity and passion for service that personify our staff enables Delta Hotels and Resorts to rank as one of Canada's top employers and maintain one of the lowest employee turnover rates in the hotel industry. Within our culture, we affectionately comment that our colleagues have "Delta in their DNA."

To support our colleagues and optimize the way in which they work, our IT department develops ideas that improve collaboration and push the boundaries of technology. One recent implementation involved the wholesale replacement of a static and outdated Intranet platform with an engaging employee social networking site. The general idea was that our colleagues would embrace a user-generated content platform that truly permits information sharing across the hotel and the entire company. The results have been staggeringly successful! So much so that our IT team is now developing enhancements which are intended to take the platform to even greater heights.

Delta Hotels and Resorts decision to embrace Google Apps is another example of our commitment to improving collaboration and breaking down conventional technology bottlenecks. The pain points of conventional, on-premise solutions include desktop software licensing, private wide area networks, and never-ending storage requirements.

Conventional solutions are simply too expensive and too rigid to support progressive organizations such as Delta. From a cost perspective alone, the move to Google has cost us 75% less than a comparable on-premise messaging and calendaring solution.

While the switch to Google has created new opportunities for colleagues, it has also enabled IT to remove bottlenecks on technology processes and resources. Extensible storage, message archiving and built-in disaster recovery are three basic examples of situations where Delta Hotels and Resorts has saved significant sums of money by choosing a cloud-based solution to replace an on-site headache.

You can see more in our video, here:

To date, Delta Hotels and Resorts has provided Google Apps accounts to more than 4,000 colleagues across 44 hotels. One out of two staff has a Google Apps account and we're striving to improve that ratio. In order to reach staff who may not otherwise touch a computer on a day-to-day basis (e.g. doormen, housekeepers, banquet servers and others), we've deployed Apple iMacs across all employee cafeterias. In addition, we've developed programs which encourage our staff to connect from home computers, smartphones or any browser with an Internet connection.

We are proud of our decision to embrace the cloud and implement Google Apps. I am delighted to share some of the insights we’ve gained from our move and supporting a multilingual workforce, during a live webcast, "From Microsoft Exchange 2007 to Google Apps: The Delta Hotels and Resorts Story."

Join us for this LIVE Event on:

Thursday, November 19, 2009
2:00 p.m. EST / 11:00 a.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. GMT
(please note that you will be registering on the webinar host's site)

Posted by Serena Satyasai, the Google Apps team

Find customer stories and research product information on our resource sites for current users of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes/Domino.