When Carlson Hospitality—which franchises, owns, and manages hotels such as Country Inns & Suites, Radisson, and Regent—considered getting rid of its binder-size monthly status reports and replacing them with sleek handhelds that would deliver real-time information about occupancy, VIP visits, and overbooking, the company knew the project wouldn't be a walk in the park. Any system that the company built would eventually have to work at 750 hotels in 55 countries and accommodate more than 2,000 users. For many global corporations, the very thought of offering so many far-flung people access to so much information would place the project on the chopping block, ready to be scaled down, but Carlson scaled up.During the last three years, the Minneapolis-based company spent $21 million re- architecting its core systems and integrating data from at least six databases. And while
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