Agilysys Kills Guest360 Hotel System, Launches New Project
October 16, 2012 Alex Woodie
Agilysys has killed Guest360, its next-generation property management system that was originally designed to help Agilysys sell software to midsize hotels and casinos. With the Guest360 code firmly in the can, Agilysys executives have given the green light for a new group of developers to create a new property management system for midsize properties, most likely using Java.
Agilysys revealed Guest360 to the world more than four years ago. The software, which was being developed primarily in the Visual LANSA fourth generation language (4GL) development environment from LANSA, was slated to provide a multi-platform alternative to Agilysys’ IBM i-based Lodging Management System (LMS), which runs only on the IBM i server, and a Windows-based hotel package called Visual One that was developed in Visual Basic and has its own legacy issues.
While the expectations were high for Guest360, development was slow from the start. Originally, the company slated the software to ship by the end of 2008. The GA date slipped to June 2010, when the product finally shipped, but without such key hotel features as activities management, dining management, reservations, transportation services, or support for multiple languages.
According to an anonymous source, Agilysys struggled with performance issues with Guest360. The interfaces were slow, and as a result the product only attracted a handful of customers. Instead of working through the bugs, Agilysys elected to wipe the slate clean and start fresh.
Most of the developers who worked on Guest360 have left the company, according to our source. Agilysys senior VP Tina Stehle, who had been with the company since its acquisition of Inter-American Data (IAD) back in 2003, left the company in April. In May, Agilysys hired former Microsoft manager Larry Steinberg to the position of senior vice president of technology.
Steinberg has been tapped to lead development of the new Java product. “Larry’s expertise will be instrumental in guiding our development team as we embark on the development of new solutions with a market-leading technology architecture,” Agilysys CEO and President James Dennedy said in May.
Agilysys wouldn’t confirm that the new product will be written in Java, but says “that is the likely direction.” The big problem with Guest360 was that it wasn’t flexible enough, Dennedy tells IT Jungle in an email statement.
“The [Guest360] project embraced a services oriented architecture, but did not take it far enough for the market’s demand,” Dennedy says. “It not only needed to be services oriented, but also be able to support a flexible deployment model (above prem, on prem, mixed mode). The effort to engineer that outcome would be easier and faster to achieve by pulling the product from the market to re-envision it, versus trying to sell, support, and re-envision the product.”
Agilysys laid the technological foundation for Guest360 more than six years ago, and a lot has changed since then. “That technology dependency did not keep up with the changing dynamics of the market such that continued reliance would have limited our addressable market,” Dennedy says. “What we learned from the 360 investment was the importance of open services, open data, cloud enabled, and multi-property capabilities.”
About a dozen customers had adopted Guest360 before Agilysys pulled the plug. All but two of them have migrated to another Agilysys property management system, the company says. The new product will be developed with input from customers who join an advisory board, to make sure that the technology, architecture, and features of the new product “are in line with their needs and separate investments they are making in technology,” Dennedy says.
In the meantime, most of the references to Guest360 on the Agilysys website have been taken down. Google site search still shows plenty of Guest360 collateral on the website, but it’s hidden from view.