The client: A Leading Luxury Hotel Group

Overview

The client is renowned worldwide for its distinctive standards of hospitality and services. To ensure that these standards are consistently maintained, the client conducts regular internal audits of all its hotels and resorts worldwide. A team of up to 25 auditors travels to over 100 global locations, armed with pre-defined audit checklists and criteria to evaluate various aspects of each hotel, including Rooms, Food and Beverage, Engineering, HR, IT, Finance, Purchasing, Projects, Marketing, Spa and Health Centers, and Executive Offices.

Considering that there are so many auditable and sub-auditable entities (the total number of rooms alone runs into tens of thousands), it was challenging for the client to plan, manage, execute, report, and follow up on audits without an advanced automated system and streamlined processes. Previously, most audit processes were managed manually - an approach that was time-consuming and complex.

With plans to aggressively expand their global reach and build new hotels in new locations, the client realized that they needed to proactively improve the efficiency and agility of their audit processes. After considering several audit software providers, the company chose MetricStream.

Today, MetricStream Audit Management Solution is enabling the client to automate all audit activities, shift audit processes online for better collaboration and information-sharing, and integrate global audit processes and data on a centralized platform for greater top-level visibility and control.

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Solution

MetricStream Audit Management Solution enabled the client to adopt a centralized, Web-based approach to managing the complete audit lifecycle – including audit planning, scheduling, execution, reporting, and issue and action management. The solution extends across the client’s global enterprise, integrating all auditable entities, audit processes, and data in a single point of reference. This has made it easier and efficient for audit managers to plan, schedule, and manage global audits. It has also simplified audit execution for the auditors, as all they have to do is log onto the system from the field, irrespective of their location, and directly enter their findings and recommendations. The solution has thus improved the efficiency and accuracy of the audit process. Audit reporting has also been strengthened with MetricStream’s powerful reports and dashboards that provide real-time information.

Below in greater detail are the capabilities of the MetricStream solution:

Audit Planning and Scheduling
Through MetricStream’s centralized system, audit team leads can plan and schedule audits (either periodically or on an ad hoc basis), and route them for review and approval. All audit plans are organized in a logical structure with detailed checklists for each auditable entity or sub-entity (e.g. Rooms, Finance, Spa), along with evaluation criteria and task assignments. Audit managers can efficiently allocate and distribute audit budgets as part of the planning process.

A set of inbuilt tools for audit scheduling, such as a centralized pool of auditor profiles and timesheet reporting capabilities, enable active management of globally dispersed audit staff based on their individual skill sets.  Audit managers can easily select the appropriate auditors from the pool of resources, and assign tasks along with due dates for completion. In addition, a time-tracking capability captures the time spent in audits, and enables optimal resource utilization. Automatic email notifications and alerts are sent to the selected auditors to ensure timely completion of tasks.

Audit Execution
When auditors travel to a global location, they directly log onto the MetricStream online solution, and access audit tasks and checklists to perform their audits. The system maintains a set of standard checklists with pre-defined questions for each sub-auditable entity (e.g. Food and Beverage, or Sports and Recreation). Based on the checklist selected, auditors can record their audit findings, along with observations and recommendations. Capabilities for version control and checklist change tracking help ensure that audit updates are streamlined and consistent.

Throughout the audit, team leads and audit managers can track the status of each activity and measure its progress against pre-defined milestones to ensure timely execution.

Going forward, the solution will also support offline audits through a MetricStream briefcase functionality which allows auditors to download their audit forms before going to an onsite location. They can then efficiently capture their audit findings on their handheld devices even when the audit site does not have access to the corporate network. This data can automatically be synchronized with the central audit repository later, and routed to audit managers for review and subsequent action, or to auditees for their responses on specific issues observed.

Issue Management
Any issues that arise during the audit process are identified, documented, and prioritized in the MetricStream solution. The system then triggers a systematic process of investigation and remedial action to mitigate these issues. Automatic notifications and alert keep the issue management process on track, and help ensure that it is closed in a timely manner.

Audit Reporting
The MetricStream solution provided the flexibility to be configured to the client’s specific requirements around draft and final audit reports. It also offers a Reports Wizard tool which the client can use to build their own audit reports and dashboards without any programming.

During each audit, the solution provides complete, real-time visibility into audit activities as well as audit data and history. In addition, graphical dashboards with drill-down capabilities provide in-depth insights into audit metrics by a variety of parameters such as by entities, schedules, findings, and issues.

Challenges

Before collaborating with MetricStream, the client encountered the following challenges:

  • Cumbersome manual approach: Internal auditors had to haul multiple bulky papers and files to various locations to enter their audit findings - this was cumbersome and inconvenient.
  • Complex audit reporting: Audit findings and other data were scattered across multiple spreadsheets. Therefore, consolidating the data into reports and performing analyses took significant time and effort.
  • Lack of sufficient visibility: Since there were more than 100 hotels and resorts to audit across the globe, it became increasingly difficult for audit managers to track the status of each audit at the enterprise level.
  • Limited scalability: As the number of auditable locations grew, audit managers found it challenging to plan, schedule, and assign tasks globally without a centralized audit management system to provide organizational-level visibility.           

Why MetricStream was Selected?

The client chose MetricStream because:

MetricStream’s solution could centralize internal audit processes and data, and shift them online, improving the efficiency and productivity of audit processes.

Automated tools support, enable, and strengthen the entire audit lifecycle.

Reporting capabilities have the flexibility to be customized, enabling the client to build their own audit reports without any programming.

The underlying GRC platform is scalable and extensible i.e. other MetricStream solutions such as risk management and compliance solutions can be integrated with the audit management solution.

Benefits

  • Greater audit efficiency and cost savings
    Bulky audit spreadsheets and papers have been replaced with MetricStream’s Web-based system. Therefore, auditors traveling to global hotel locations simply need to log onto the system from where they are, and directly record their findings online.
  • Audit process automation
    The MetricStream solution has replaced multiple manual processes with automated tools. For instance, it supports pre-population of audit data from previous audits for reference, and also generates automatic reports capturing audit data (e.g. findings, issues) for analysis. This automation helps accelerate audit activities, and saves auditors significant time and effort.
  • Streamlined audit processes, minimal redundancies
    The MetricStream solution enables a work-flow based approach to the entire audit lifecycle - ranging from audit planning and scheduling, to audit reporting and issue management. This approach has made audit processes streamlined, standardized, and consistent across worldwide hotels and resorts.
  • Improved audit visibility and collaboration
    Since all audit processes, auditors, auditable entities, findings, and other data are maintained in a centralized system, it has become easier to search, share, and access information, as well as collaborate on schedules and audit findings, and track the status and results of each audit in real time.
  • Flexibility to perform offline audits
    MetricStream’s offline briefcase capability will soon enable auditors to perform their audit activities even at remote field sites where there is no connectivity to the corporate network. Auditors will simply need to enter their audit data on their laptops, and later integrate it with the central audit repository.
  • Scalability to support business growth
    The MetricStream solution is used by 25 auditors to perform 100-150 audits every year across the global enterprise. The system also offers the scalability to include more auditors, auditable entities, and audit processes as the client’s hotels and resorts grow and expand to new locations.

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