Collaborative Success

Jan. 7, 2004
Online Project Management Is a Win-win At Wyndham International
Founded in 1981, the story of Wyndham International is one of rapid expansion. By the late 1990s, it was the fastest-growing hotel brand in the United States, acquiring nine hotel companies in a seven-month period. “Melding nine hotel companies into one cohesive operation has been quite a challenge,” recalls John Campbell, Wyndham’s regional director of capital properties. “The primary reason we looked into Autodesk® Buzzsaw™ [project management] (see Information Sharing, below, for explanation on Autodesk and Buzzsaw) was that we needed a tool to smooth communications and keep us connected.”Wyndham controls virtually all of its capital spending from its corporate headquarters in Dallas. Given the diversity of possible physical needs of each hotel, easy, two-way communication is essential between Wyndham’s corporate office and individual properties. As might be expected with over 200 properties, the volume of capital projects to be managed is incredible. At the same time every year, the general manager at each property completes a capital plan that must be accessible to a wide array of people in the organization. And as projects evolved, monthly status reports must be disseminated. “Getting the yearly capital planning forms compiled and distributed took as long as three weeks, and the monthly reports ate up two days each month,” says Campbell. “Time aside, the process was costly: We were spending $3,000 per month just to photocopy the status reports, and, of course, that mountain of paper had to be delivered all over the world.”Wyndham decided to begin using the Buzzsaw service in 2000. “I found Buzzsaw particularly attractive because of its flexibility. Other options seemed to require that we modify our processes to fit the structure the software supported,” notes Richard Senechal, AIA, Wyndham’s senior vice president of design and construction. “We’re using it for much more than just the management of construction projects. We have 800 people at 300 different locations using Buzzsaw … to exchange critical information.”Buzzsaw is being used to manage projects and collaborate year-round, but during capital planning season at Wyndham, use is heavy throughout the organization. Forms in a variety of formats – Microsoft Excel, Access, and Word – are entered into each property’s project site in Buzzsaw. The property managers fill out the forms and decision-makers in Dallas consider and collaborate with the properties and each other on the plans. As approved capital projects progress, status reports are maintained in the Buzzsaw project site. “We use Buzzsaw as an interactive communication tool,” says Campbell. “We just set permission levels, and any user with a legitimate interest in a project can access real-time information about the status of the work.”According to Senechal, Buzzsaw hasn’t just been useful; the Wyndham team has also enjoyed significant savings on time and money ($36,000 annually in photocopying savings, and initiating the capital planning project now takes three days instead of three weeks). By expanding the use of Buzzsaw beyond project management, Wyndham is changing the way its people work together. “We’re using Buzzsaw over an incredibly broad spectrum and extending collaboration throughout our entire organization,” says John Bryant, Wyndham’s capital asset manager. “Buzzsaw allows us to bring the expertise of our most experienced people to bear on almost every project.”

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