Untitled Essay Research Paper SNI has been

Untitled Essay, Research Paper

SNI has been sought out to implement a Management Information System for

Park Place Hotels in South Korea. The MIS project, part of a hotel management

system, will be an integral part of positioning Park Place Hotels as a world

class facility appealing to affluent business travelers. We have researched the

project with respect to technical requirements and cultural risks of conducting

business in South Korea. SNI has successful, relevant experience in developing

and installing a similar system for Comfort Suites in Texas eighteen months ago.

Based on this experience and the close parallel in system requirements, we

believe SNI possesses the technical expertise to be successful. The project is

expected to generate $1.28 million in revenue. Doing business in a foreign

country will be new to SNI. South Korea is an excellent place for this expansion

of our market. "Korea, with its abundant skilled workforce, well-developed

social infrastructure, and large domestic market?will create an environment in

which business can prosper" (American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, 1998).

We have explored the extensive research available on Korean culture and protocol

and believe that with proper preparation our technicians and managers will

succeed in building successful working relationships. We believe this project

presents a unique opportunity for SNI to expand its market and will likely

result in additional opportunities in Korea and potentially other countries. We

recommend a team be assigned to negotiate an agreement with Park Place Hotels

for the development, installation, training, and maintenance of their Hotel

Management System. TABLE OF CONTENTS Page I. Introduction 6 II. Method and

Criteria 6 Sources of information 6 Project elements 6 Technical 6 Cultural 6

III. Evaluation and Analysis 7 About SNI 7 Mission Statement and Vision 7

Organizational Chart 7 Strategic Business Plan 8 Management Strategy 8 Project

Description and Purpose (Goal) 8 Overview 8 Current Situation and Project

Objective 9 Proposed System 10 Software Hardware, Manpower Resources Required 10

Financial Breakdown and Implications 11 Critical Success Factors 12 Design,

Training, and Implementation 12 Anticipated Difficulties in Development and

Implementation 12 Cultural Success Factors 13 Overview 13 Language, Education,

and Work Ethic 14 Legal and Financial Issues 15 Social and Ethical Issues 16

Korean Business Practices 17 Customs and Protocols 18 IV. Conclusions and

Recommendations 20 V. Annotated Bibliography 22 VI. Appendix A. Capabilities of

LMS PRO 1.4 24 B. Financial Breakdown of Park Place Hotel Project 26 C. Gantt

Chart 27 I. INTRODUCTION Strategic Networking, Inc. (SNI) is an innovative

information services and business solutions company. This feasibility study

explores the advantages, disadvantages, and critical success factors in

expanding our reach beyond the borders of the United States into the global

marketplace. Specifically, SNI was approached to implement a Management

Information System for a hotel chain in South Korea. Remarkably, the project is

nearly identical to the Comfort Suites Project SNI completed eighteen months ago

in Dallas, TX. Our success and reputation resulting from that project came to

the attention of our potential Korean partners. Does SNI have the capability and

available resources to implement this project? Absolutely! This paper explores

the financial benefits and risks associated with conducting business in Korea.

Extensive research was conducted concerning the cultural, political, and social

environment in Korea. It is our belief that the financial rewards of this

project outweigh the numerous challenges we will face. II. METHOD AND CRITERIA

Sources of Information Information in this paper should be considered extremely

reliable. It is based on extensive research on American/Korean business

practices conducted through the U. S. Department of State, U.S. Embassy, Seoul,

Korea, U.S. Department of Commerce, Korea-U.S. Committee on Business Cooperation

(CBC), Korean American Chamber of Commerce, Central Intelligence Agency, area

Korean business leaders, as well as traditional library and internet sources.

Project Elements There are two elements to this feasibility study: 1. Technical

? Does SNI have the software, hardware, manpower, and training assets

available to successfully implement the project? 2. Cultural ? The cultural

"risks" associated with this project are immense. We will assess

political, legal, ethical, and social issues and how they may impact the

project. III. EVALUATION AND ANALYSIS About SNI Mission Statement and Vision SNI

is an innovative information services and business solutions company. SNI helps

companies become more productive. SNI helps create new business lines and enter

new markets. SNI delivers services and solutions focused on each client?s

needs, with particular emphasis on helping clients more effectively serve their

customers. SNI integrates three core disciplines in providing solutions and

services to its clients: business integration, systems integration and

applications development, and information technology infrastructure services.

Strategic Networking, Inc. Organizational Chart Figure 1. Strategic Business

Plan SNI?s business strategy is controlled growth through selective

partnering. SNI believes that quality vs. quantity at an affordable price will

separate SNI from other, larger MIS consulting firms. While numerous

opportunities exist domestically, SNI has recognized the value of the Internet

and the growing global economy. SNI participates in numerous international trade

shows in order to develop business contacts. Management Strategy At SNI, people

are our most valuable assets. SNI LISTENS attentively to our customers. Every

member of our team, including our CEO, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a

week, to go anywhere, anytime, to SERVE OUR CUSTOMERS. Strategic Networking,

Inc.? ? LEADS by example ? Understands that today?s business problems

require a MULTI-DISCIPLINARY approach to finding the best solutions. ? Will not

accept a project that we can not deliver the EXPECTED RESULTS at the EXPECTED

TIME. Project Description and Purpose (Goal) Overview SNI was introduced to Mr.

Park Chon He at the annual Hospitality Industry Technology Show in Los Angeles,

CA in December 1998. Park Chon He is the son of Mr. Park Soon Lee, founder and

owner of Park Place Hotels, Inc. of Seoul, Korea. Park Place Hotels, Ltd. is an

upscale, family owned, super-deluxe hotel chain in South Korea. The chain

consists of three properties located in Seoul, Puson, and Inchon. The

69-year-old family patriarch heads the business with Mr. Park?s three son?s

co-managing the properties. The hotel chain caters to the affluent business

traveler. Each hotel is ideally located in major business districts. The younger

Park Chon He believes that a competitive advantage can be achieved through the

use of information technology by enhancing their ability to deal with

competitive hotel chains penetrating their marketplace. He believes that their

long-term strategic success ultimately depends on how well Park Hotels executes

their primary mission of delivering the lowest cost, highest quality travel

experience to their business customers. Park Chon He has gained the confidence

of his father to save the ailing family business and has been tasked to

modernize the family hotel chain. Current Situation and Project Objective

Foreign hotel chains such as Hyatt and Hilton are encroaching on Park Place

Hotel?s established client base. Business travelers from the United States,

Europe, and other Asian countries are accustomed to business amenities such as

secretarial, translation and interpretation services, telecommunications,

in-room Internet access, business services, and sophisticated reservation

systems. Traditional Korean "ambiance", the hallmark of Park Place

Hotels, is not enough to attract critical (and profitable) business meetings and

conventions. Bookings are down 22% from a year ago. This is a hotel chain in

trouble. Hotels in Korea are classified into five groups: super-deluxe, deluxe,

first class, second class, and third class. In order for Park Place Hotels to

compete in the profitable super deluxe (business) segment, they must modernize

their information systems capabilities to meet the needs of their business

customers. If they slide down the "quality scale", their profitability

and future existence will be impacted. Mr. Park Chon He is the change agent for

this modernization. His goal is to turn Park Place Hotels into a world class

hotel chain by computerizing their guest management system, modernizing their

telecommunications capabilities, and increasing awareness of his facilities via

the World Wide Web. SNI?s objective would be to develop and install the guest

management system and Internet portal. Proposed System Software, Hardware,

Manpower Resources Required The software program selected for the project is an

off the shelf program called LMS PRO 1.4. manufactured by Inter-America Company.

LMS includes the following functions. (See Appendix A. for details). *

Reservations * Registration * Charge Posting * Guest Services * Guest Settlement

* Housekeeping * Travel Agency Accounting * Telephone Service * Package Plans *

Night Audits *Management Reporting * Guest History SNI installed the LMS PRO 1.4

software in a large hotel chain headquartered in Dallas, TX eighteen months ago.

Our experience with its capabilities offers SNI a huge competitive advantage.

Mr. Park Chon He, hearing of our reputation, sought SNI out at the Hospitality

Industry Technology Show. We recommend using the IBM AS 400 running NT Network.

The Dallas project continues to run smoothly using this hardware. However, since

Koreans use 220 volts as their power source, converters with power stabilizers

to ensure the computer doesn?t see power bumps will also be required. Our on

site Korea team will consist of four programmers and one project manager from

SNI. A local, Korean programmer and interpreter will be hired to supplement our

work team. Two Internet programmers and one lead project manager will be

utilized domestically. Financial Breakdown and Implications Project cost

breakdown is as follows: (See Appendix B. for detailed breakout) Chart 1. Total

Project Revenues Chart 2. Source of Revenue as % of Total Project Critical

Success Factors Design, Training, and Implementation The actual design of the

system is fairly straightforward. LMS PRO 1.4 is a proven software program that

we have experience implementing. Even though Mr. Park Chon He is the change

agent for this project, his father exerts considerable influence on the project.

It is critical Mr. Park Soon Lee be involved in all phases of the project. We

recommend doubling the normal planning and design phase of the project in order

to ensure: ? An adequate role of user in the implementation process ? Complete

management support for the implementation effort ? Increased user involvement

in the design and operation of the hotel information system. Involving users in

development offers opportunities to design the system according to their

priorities and business requirements. They are more likely to respond positively

because they have been actively involved. Cultural differences between SNI and

the client need to be considered in the analysis, design, programming, testing,

and conversion phases of the implementation. Anticipated Difficulties in

Development and Implementation The following issues summarize the anticipated

difficulties in development and implementation of the Park Place Hotel MIS

system: ? Implementation team must include Korean representatives, preferably

support personnel and end users. ? LMS PRO 1.4 is an off-the-shelf program. We

must build flexibility into the program to anticipate future needs of the

organization. ? Time and money required for software development is often

underestimated. ? Time and money required for proper testing is often

underestimated. ? Users must be significantly involved in testing. ? Training

must be completed prior to conversion. ? To compensate for cost overruns and

delays, we should factor in an additional 25% in man months. ? Performance and

training standards must be established with proper documentation written in both

English and Korean. ? Provisions for system maintenance after our three-year

service agreement must be established. It is clear that SNI has the capability

to implement such a project in the United States. Our performance at Comfort

Suites, a much larger project in scope, demonstrates this. Our biggest challenge

with Park Place Hotels is the Cultural Success Factors that we must adapt to.

Cultural Success Factors Country Overview No foreign business enterprise can

hope for success in Korea without a thorough understanding of the people. The

Republic of Korea, better known as South Korea, or "Land of the Morning

Calm", has a rich history spanning over 5,000 years. Today, Korea is an

important trading partner for the United States. Korea?s population of

forty-five million people inhabits an area slightly larger than Indiana.

"As one of the Four Dragons of East Asia, South Korea has achieved an

incredible record of growth. Three decades ago its GDP [Gross Domestic Product]

per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and

Asia. Today, its GDP is already up with the lesser economies of the European

Union. This success through the late 1980s was achieved by a system of close

government business ties, including directed credit, import restrictions,

sponsorship of specific industries, and a strong labor effort. The government

promoted the import of raw materials and technology at the expense of consumer

goods and encouraged savings and investment over consumption. The Asian

financial crisis of 1997/98 exposed certain longstanding weaknesses in South

Korea’s development model, including high debt/equity ratios, massive foreign

borrowing, and an undisciplined financial sector. Also, a number of private

sector conglomerates are near bankruptcy. At yearend 1997, an international

effort, spearheaded by the IMF, was underway to shore up reserves and stabilize

the economy. Growth in 1998 was sharply cut. Long-term growth will depend on how

successfully South Korea implements planned economic reforms that would bolster

the financial sector, improve corporate management, and open the economy further

to foreign participation" (CIA World Fact Book, 1999). Language, Education

and Work Ethic Korean is the spoken language in South Korea and Hangul the

written language. English is widely taught in Junior High and High School. Korea

enjoys a 98% literacy rate (CIA, 1999). "Most Korean professionals speak

English, and most meetings can be conducted in English without an interpreter.

Generally speaking, catalogs, promotional literature, and instructional material

are acceptable in English. Don?t take it for granted that those who speak

English will understand everything you say. If a statement is met with silence,

it may mean that you were not understood" (Van Horn, 1989 page 211-212).

Koreans have a very strong work ethic, working, on the average, over 54.7 hours

per week. "It has been said that the Koreans are the only people in the

world who can make the Japanese look lazy" (Van Horn, page 211). Because we

will be working with the hotel service industry, we expect few language barriers

requiring the use of interpreters on site. However, tight social and business

inner circles make it extremely difficult to enter the Korean market without a

qualified Korean representative. "Local representation is essential for

foreign firms hoping to be successful in the Korean market" (Dept. of State

Country Commercial Guide ? FY 99). We will be required to appoint a registered

agent in order to handle government import paperwork. Their commission rate of

7-10% has been factored into the overall project costs. Legal and Financial

Issues Legal advice in setting up our contract is strongly recommended.

"Though Americans may regard a written contract as legally binding, a

Korean may regard the same contract as a ?gentlemen?s agreement? which is

subject to further negotiations dependent upon new circumstances (Dept. of

State)." "If a contract is violated in Korea, the legal procedures in

Korea can be lengthy, cumbersome and expensive (Dept of State)." We must

extensively research our mutual requirements, understandings, and

responsibilities, record it on paper, and be prepared to modify the meanings of

the terms afterwards. The estimated cost of legal representation is $20,000. The

Park Place Hotel project will exceed $1.28 million and is financially attractive

to SNI. SNI, of course, must ensure payment. The continuing slowdown of the

Korean economy, increasing deficit, and falling won add to Korea?s economic

difficulties which makes Korean banks hesitant to extend credit for businesses.

"U.S. companies should consider dealing only on a confirmed letter of

credit basis with new and even familiar clientele. A confirmed l/c [letter of

credit] through a U.S. bank is recommended because it prevents unwanted changes

of the original l/c, and it shifts responsibility for collection onto the

familiar banks involved, rather than onto the seller" (Dept. of State).

Bank of America, SNI?s current bank, has a branch in Seoul and has agreed to

handle the letter of credit for a modest fee of $5,000. Social and Ethical

Issues The Korean culture is over 5000 years old. Modern societal values remain

firmly rooted in the values of Confucianism. Confucianism is not a religion, but

a philosophy of social conduct, that originated in ancient China. In many

respects, the Korean people base many of their decisions on emotion, ethical

social relationships, and the three qualities – love of humanity, sensitivity

for feelings and justice for society rather than on sound business sense or

reason" (Fordham). "Koreans have a great respect for the family and

hierarchy, and for anyone senior in age. They will intuitively establish their

hierarchical position relative to others based on age and social position"

(Business America, 1997). There are defined familial roles in Korea. "In

the majority of Korean households, the father is the primary bread winner, while

the mother stays at home. The majority of working women, many with top

university degrees, are still relegated in Korean companies to secretarial jobs,

assembly work positions, or educational work" (Dept. of State, 1999). The

eldest male of a family would be the patriarch and is revered and respected as

an elder of the family. Even while a Korean is dealing with non-Korean cultures

it is preferable that there be a correlation between the Korean and non-Korean

representative on the hierarchical totem. The belief system used in personal and

business relationships dictates that respect and dignity be shown in all

circumstances. An unwritten code of behavior exists in both informal and formal

settings. Koreans are excessively hospitable people and will treat visitors with

the utmost deference and kindness. Their politeness does not mean that you have

won their trust and loyalty, or that you are a particularly important

individual. It only means that you are also required to be polite in a similar

manner. It is important to remember that the Korean Culture, and the Korean

people, are a homogeneous society with strong ties to their families and

country. Whereas Americans may think in individual terms – ?What is in my best

interest?? Koreans often think in group terms – ?what is in the best

interest of the group?? Koreans tend to do what is good for the country rather

than for themselves. Setting up a system that benefits the owners without

defining benefits to the country may be difficult. Older Koreans have a

difficult time understanding the concept seeing the benefits the Internet and

Intranet. This will be an important consideration when communicating with Mr.

Park Soon Lee. Korean Business Practices Americans should be ready to mix

business with pleasure as the Koreans base their business relationships on

personal ones. "The heavy drinking of the Korean alcohol, Soju, beer, or

other liquor is commonplace in establishing a personal, business

relationship" (Dept of State, 1999). If one does not wish to consume

alcohol it is advisable to attribute the decision to a medical condition or a

conflict with medication. Koreans will understand and be sympathetic. "Also

commonplace is the ?no-ray-bang? where a group of businesspeople go to an

establishment to drink and sing along to a video machine playing music. As most

no-ray-bang machines come equipped with songs in English, a businessperson may

want to be prepared to sing at least one song in order to gain social favor with

their Korean counterpart" (Dept of State, 1999). The exchange of business

cards is a very important means by which Koreans learn about the name, position

and status of the other person. Koreans observe a very strict hierarchical code

and will generally meet to discuss business with persons of the same or parallel

rank. Businesspersons should always have their business card ready (preferably

bilingual) and should treat the exchange of Korean counterpart’s card with

respect. It is a sign of respect to receive and present items with both hands,

followed by passing and receiving a card with the right hand. One should never

give a card, or anything else for that matter, with the left hand as it shows

disrespect (Dept of State, 1999). A man generally receives more respect and

affinity in the business world than a woman, though foreign businesswomen

(especially, non-Asian looking women) are accorded almost an equal amount of

respect as foreign businessmen. Single women generally receive less respect than

married women whose ties to their husband oftentimes establish their position in

society. The American businessperson, as a foreigner, is generally exempt from

the above societal classification system, though one should be prepared to

answer what may be regarded as personal, such as questions of age, marital

status, religion, and education. An American businesswoman will most likely not

be included in business dinners. "Kibun places harmony and maintenance of

good feelings as the highest order in any relationship. Your counterpart may

always appear to be good-natured and friendly and will exert their full efforts

in avoiding saying no or delivering bad news. As such, the foreign

businessperson must learn to read between the lines or interpret hints of the

slightest business difficulties. Indeed, a ?yes? or nod of the head may mean

?maybe? or ?I understand." A ?maybe? usually means ?no? while

a negative response is sometimes indicated by a squint of the eyes or by tipping

the head back while drawing air in through the teeth and waiting for you to

speak again." (Fordham) Customs and Protocols A Korean has a family name

and one given name. Traditionally, the given name has two parts. Koreans

normally write their family name first, however, they may reverse the order when

dealing with Westerners. Although women do not change their name on marriage,

Mr. Park may refer to his wife as "Mrs. Park" to avoid confusing

Westerners. There is no general equivalent of "Mr." Various respectful

titles are used in the Korean language, which do not get translated into

English. The English word "Mr." is used in Korean only to address

social inferiors, but there is no objection to foreigners using it as a term of

respect in English correspondence. It will be important to be sensitive to this

particularly when dealing with the elder Park. Among themselves, Korean business

people are more likely to address each other by job title. We should plan to

have our people follow this protocol while in Korea. Greetings and thank-yous

are very important to Koreans. Words of greeting and thanks always are said with

a bow of the head. The depth of the bow required depends upon the relative

seniority of the two speakers. Koreans generally limit direct physical contact

to no more than a courteous handshake. "Koreans tend to avoid too much eye

contact and consider it bad manners to look straight into another?s eyes while

conversing" (Hoare, 1996). "Avoid the following topics in your

conversation: Japan, local politics, socialism, communism, and your host?s

wife. Among good conversational topics include Korean cultural heritage, kites,

sports (especially the Olympics), and the health of their family (do not talk

about their families unless these have something to do with their health).

Always be modest about your position and your accomplishments" (Fordham).

Koreans traditionally sit, eat and sleep on the floor, so shoes are always

removed when entering a Korean home. It is impolite to talk much or blow your

nose during a meal. Food is placed on the table all at once. Food need not be

consumed in any order. Rice and soup are eaten with a spoon while other dishes

are eaten with chopsticks. Chopsticks should not be left sticking in the food.

Koreans always wait to begin eating until the eldest person begins and wait to

leave the table until the eldest is finished. (Korea Travel Manual, 1995) When

dining out, Korean customs allow for either party to be the host or the guest

but "Dutch treat" is not practiced. IV. CONCLUSIONS AND

RECOMMENDATIONS SNI has the technical capability and available resources to

implement the LMS PRO 1.4 Hotel Management System at Park Place Hotels in South

Korea. Our success at Comfort Suites demonstrates our ability to develop,

design, implement, train, and maintain such a system. The Korean project

represents a significant source of revenue for SNI exceeding $1.28 million over

four years. A letter of credit from the Seoul branch of our current banker, Bank

of America, will ensure that SNI is paid according to our contract. The economic

unrest in Korea would prohibit implementing the system without the assurances of

guaranteed payment. SNI?s biggest obstacle will be understanding and

functioning under different cultural expectations. Since two of the four SNI

programmers going to Korea will be women, we must be sensitive to their needs

and well being. Our staff must dress in business attire (we recommend a $1,000

clothing allowance for each team member) and be willing to conduct business in a

social environment that involves heavy drinking and "karoke style"

singing. Business and social skills, too numerous to mention in this report,

must be learned and adhered to in order to ensure a successful outcome. We

recommend that all SNI personnel going to Korea attend a two day "finishing

school" sponsored by Barlitz Language School. SNI personnel are limited to

stay only 90 consecutive days on a business/ tourist visa and must be rotated.

The greatest risk to SNI is the political instability caused by aggressive North

Korean leadership resulting from food shortages and starvation in the North. The

South Korean government has made significant strides in reducing political

corruption prevalent in the 80?s. The Korean government has the full backing

of the American government so the risks, although present, should be minimal. We

believe this project presents a unique opportunity for SNI to expand its global

presence and will likely result in additional opportunities in Korea and

potentially other countries. For this reason, SNI should proceed with

negotiating an agreement with Park Place Hotels for the development,

installation, training, and maintenance of their Hotel Management System.

APPENDIX A. CAPABILITIES OF LMS PRO 1.4 Reservations – The reservation system

allows easy booking and inventory management for individuals and groups. Room

numbers and the type of suite and their availability are readily accessible. Run

of the house inventory and overbooking controls are easy to use and understand

and provide safeguards from embarrassing mix-ups. Registration – At registration

an entire group or convention can be registered with a single command key saving

individual members of the group as well as the hotel large amounts of time.

Individual registration within the group is also provided. The system allows

access to the data base by individual or company name, or arrival date.

Application of advance deposits is automatic and posts directly to the bill on

registration. Charge Posting – Daily charges are posted to each room account for

individuals or to a single account as an option for groups and conventions. All

charges are transferred to the company ledger automatically with references that

track back to the reservation and registration information. Guest Services -

Special requests for service can be entered at the registration or reservation

screen allowing the earliest recording of special customer needs. Wake-up calls

are automated from the quests room or can be entered from the registration desk.

Guest Settlement – The system allows for inquiry and posting by group or

individual. Group check out like group check in provides for an efficient

timesaving alternative. All major credit cards and after event billing in

addition to cash and checks are provided as options for settlement. Housekeeping

- Room status alerts the maid staff of unusual requests or scheduling needs. On

check out, housekeeping is alerted that the room is ready for service. Travel

agency accounting – The reservation system can be set to allow travel agencies

to search for available rooms. Access can be global. Telephone service – An

automated telephone service allows callers from outside and inside the hotel to

access a data base which will connect the caller to the guest by name. Voice

mail as an option for quests. Each room will be configured for internet access.

Package plans – Bundled services including lodging and other travel options can

be recorded into the system with automatic posting to the general ledger.

Special features are noted on the screen at check in and vouchers for tickets,

car rentals and other options can be mailed with the confirmation of lodging.

Night audits – No shutdown is required for night audits. Charges and corrections

are posted automatically to the financial system. Hotel management reporting -

Numerous created reports are available on request. A report writer is also

included to allow for customized reporting options. Guest history – Special

requests and account history is maintained by individual and group. This allows

special needs and desires to be anticipated with repeat customers. Frequent

customers can be coded with special considerations. Demographic reporting is

provided as an option to assist in marketing the hotel and in meeting the needs



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