In this article, we are going to overview the main differences between VM Desktop and VM Cloud. We will show where to find in the Cloud what you are used to finding on the Desktop. We will also do a quick overview of some new features that are only available on the Cloud.
Product Technical Overviews
VM Desktop is a Visual Matrix program and could be qualified as a more isolated and local property management system. The view that you interact with is inside a larger program and there are several other programs and many interfaces that run in the background as well. Data is generated, stored, and managed all on-site via the main computer called the Server. In the Desktop version of Visual Matrix, what allows it to function, generate reports, grids, and the functionality of buttons is our own code. The hotel has a locally installed database called a Server and the data does not have to travel far within the program and reports render right on the spot; The database engine can build and deliver a report without going across the internet. If there is a performance issue it is always isolated to the hotel's computer or local network.
VM Cloud is one where data is stored, generated, and managed in a cloud environment and is not stored locally on a Server machine on the Property. This also means that it can be accessed from off-site, as long as the user has permission settings to log in from locations other than the hotel's network. Being a website inside a web browser, the program running on the computer is the internet browser. Although any (up to date) browser based on Chromium (Chrome) should work for VM Cloud, provided it is up to date, Chrome (advised) and Edge are being commonly used. A browser is a program and need regular updates to be maintained and fix issues as they come up. In the Cloud version, all the tasks we saw above (rendering reports, drawing visual data on the screen, etc.) are taking place inside the browser vs the Visual Matrix program itself. If there is a performance issue, the first things to look at would be the hotel's internet speed, general networking issues (like a firewall blocking some service from communicating), or the size of the data itself.
Main Login Page
In the Desktop, the login page shows every Section of Visual Matrix even if you do not have access to that department. The Support button gives you access to Restart your devices, open a ticket or make for a feature request.
In the Cloud, you go to a unique URL - login.vmcloudpms.com. A shortcut should be created in your browser favorites or bookmarks. The Cloud has IP access restrictions unless the user is set to be remote. A Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) can also be enabled.
VM Desktop and Cloud will not let you log into multiple computers with the same login at the same time. However, with VM Cloud, you can open multiple tabs on the same computer under the same login.
Each tab open will generate its own auto-logoff timer. If one tab is not used and gets to the auto logoff # of minutes, then all tabs will be logged out, even if one is currently being updated.
The Cloud Dashboard
The Dashboard is the first page you will get to after logging in. It can be divided into 5 sections (red numbers).
1- User Features and Support
This section has two new features that are only available in the Cloud:
- A click on the username gives the possibility for a user to reset its own password before it expires.
- The Search Today field: unique search field for any in-house guests or current day arrival by room number, name, or phone number.
The On-Call button serves to activate and deactivate a user for the guest texting feature.
The Support link will give you access to the same choices than in the desktop with 2 more:
- Message Log: will show a log of every email and internal text sent through Visual Matrix. It will also show a log of any guest texting when the feature is activated (only in Cloud).
- Recent Errors: When an error message shows on the screen, this is where it will be found. Only our product Support can open the logs.
- Support Request: This gives the user the possibility to open a ticket with our Product Support.
- Feature Request: This gives the user the possibility to ask for a Feature request.
-Release Notes: This link will show an update of any updates, new features, bugs corrected that have been released.
2- Visual Matrix Departments/Categories and Sub-Categories
In the Cloud, a user will only see the departments (Front Office, Housekeeping, Maintenance, ...) he has access privileges for in the User Settings. The user can navigate to any accessible department without coming back to the main dashboard.
3- The Dashboard Tiles in the Cloud are the Quicklinks in VM Desktop
Those tiles are the Cloud version of the Quick Link feature in the Desktop. In addition to giving numbers, the tiles are also interactive, and clicking on each of them will open the associated page. For example:
- The occupancy tile will open the Room Rack page.
- The Rooms available tile will open the availability page.
- The Departure tile will open the cashiering in-house guest page already sorted on due-outs only.
4- The Widgets in the Cloud are the Info link in VM Desktop
Those widgets are the Cloud version of the Info button in the Desktop. From left to right:
- The logbook: to leave and see logs for a specific department.
- The Inbox/Outbox messages: Internal messages between users.
- Calendar (Rolodex in Desktop): Shows you when events are scheduled by changing the date in green. Click on the date and the events will show for that day.
- Work Schedule: This will show the user schedule if the VM Schedule feature is used.
5- Integrated Learning Support - The Question Mark and Ask Porter
From the dashboard, you can access the knowledge base, VM community, chat with a the Client Experience team and, last resort, open a ticket.
Another help available, "Ask Porter" is available to guide you in various tasks.
In the Desktop, you have to go back on the login page every time you need to go to another department in the software. The categories of the department will start from the top of the page (1), then you will click on the tabs to go to a specific sub-category (2), finally, sub-sub-categories will open on the left side (3).
In the Cloud, you do not need to come back to the main dashboard to navigate to another department, you can do it from any page (A). The categories of the department will start from the top of the page (1), and each category will unveil a set of sub-categories right under it (2). More sub-sub-categories will then show on the right side of the page, most of the time under the cover of icons (3). By hovering the mouse over the icons, it will show what the icon is for (3). An Icon that will come back on many pages is the Tools icon, as shown on the screenshot above (3).
Another very important difference will be data saving. In the Cloud, everything that is availability-affecting is ongoing auto-saved. However, any other setup, as well as a new local reservation is to be saved by clicking either the green floppy disk or the Save button as shown below. A warning will pop up if the user navigates away without saving.
The only category difference
The only difference in the organization is going to be in the Management section. VM Desktop organizes the Management department into two categories: Admin and Setup.
VM Cloud goes straight to the categories of the department:
- Admin (1) includes User Settings and Reports.
- Setup (2) includes Property Settings, Accounting Settings, Rooms, Rates, and Interfaces.
Guest Reminder: This feature goes with the guest texting feature (free).
Housekeeping Locator: This feature goes with the Mobile App (free).
Work Order Pictures: You can now add pictures in work orders, either from your computer or directly from the Mobile App.
Guest Texting: The Guest Texting feature in the Cloud offers more responses, including some automatic custom responses.
IP Security/Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): These features will not only limit from where someone without remote authorization can access, but the MFA gives an additional layer of security.
VM MOP is an application interfaced with VM Cloud to manage housekeeping and maintenance task very effectively. The application also provides guest interaction and a panic button.
VM Mobile is an app only available and accessible with VM Cloud.
A Manager can access the Hotel Status report, the Daily Report, and also update Manual Tiering. The Manager also has access to all the Housekeeping and Maintenance sections.
A Housekeeper can see the list of rooms that he/she has to clean and update the status of her work directly on the website. This will also update the Locator in the App and on the website.
An Engineer can not only create a work order but can also update the status of a work order once completed. The user can also see a list of all pending work orders.