Agilysys And IBM i Still A Gaming Industry Force
October 11, 2017 Dan Burger
It’s both legacy and legendary. In Las Vegas, the gaming capital of the world, the Lodging Management System (LMS) by Agilysys has been a fixture for decades in many of the largest casinos and resorts in the town with more than 150,000 hotel rooms. Like a three-day weekend in Sin City, the key to LMS is endurance. The gaming industry made LMS what it is today and to a large degree LMS made the gaming industry what it is today, at least with regard to what IT can do for a rapidly expanding business. And the combination of LMS and IBM’s successful midrange platforms have made IBM i professionals easier to find in Vegas than Elvis impersonators.
Recently Agilysys introduced LMS 7.4, a point release that augments the core system with new features and add-on functionality designed to improve operations and bolster the security of guest financial data. Mobile capabilities for pre-check-in and upsell, mobile check-out and housekeeping, as well as integration with Agilysys’ rGuest dining reservations highlight the list of enhancements.
LMS property management automation has always included hotel operations such as reservations and credit card processing, accounting and housekeeping, activities scheduling, food and beverage sales, online reservations, and remote check-in. Increased productivity related to staff and operational workflows, upsell automation, maximized revenue per guest and improving the amount of repeat business are high on the list of hotel-casino business priorities.
At the top of the LMS 7.4 enhancements is improved ACSC (slot machine monitoring, marketing, casino accounting, and hotel functions) integration that allows separate LMS and ACSC instances. This allows LMS upgrades to be done without taking down ACSC — a welcome convenience for sure.
Along with this comes smoother integration with multiple casino management systems. For many years, LMS integration with various gaming systems has been one of its strengths. LMS is also closely integrated with InfoGenesis, the X86-based point of sale system developed by Agilysys.
Another important integration point is with the Agilysys inventory and procurement software known as Stratton Warren System (SWS), which also runs on the IBM i operating system and Power Systems hardware.
SWS relies on a strong accounting foundation and digital document management to control the inventory and procure-to-pay process across multiple departments and locations. It’s a rock-solid, enterprise-proven backend system that’s been an industry leader for many years. The complete package includes optional modules for barcoding; menu and recipe analysis; retail; and online shopping cart software.
There’s also a new Web view of in-house guest and audit reports; larger cashiering screen size, which presents more information at a glance; and the capability to automatically capture and direct-bill guests at check-out.
Optional modules that integrate with LMS include an online credit card approval and express check-in; HTML-based correspondence, marketing, advertising, and customer surveys; a mobile dashboard app for managers; and a Web-based ticket purchasing system for attraction management.
The Apache Web server can handle the Web-based pieces of the software.
In contrast to the innovations added to LMS, it is still heavily dependent on the green-screen interface. Hundreds of the most commonly used screens have been converted from green-screen to Web interfaces, but the set up and configuration screens remain old school green text on a black background. Staff at the front desk of a hotel, navigate through both environments.
LMS is offered with traditional software licensing and as a hosted service.
“LMS on premise is popular with our large enterprise customers,” says Luke Pfeifer, an Agilysys director of product management. “But we are hearing more often that finding teams to maintain these systems is not easy. Las Vegas is an exception to that rule. The talent is there because there are so many businesses running on i. The system resiliency is still important to enterprise customers.
“LMS cloud was introduced about a year and half ago,” he continues. “Customers on cloud are less than 10 percent of LMS customers. But as the casino business consolidates properties, the hosted option is attractive. Some looking at Op Ex vs Cap Ex financial advantages, but more often it’s a case of wanting to run their team without having to run IT systems.”
Agilysys has three property management systems. LMS, which runs only on IBM i; VisualOne, which runs on Windows/SQL Server; and rGuest Stay, a guest-facing, self-service application.