Monday, December 3rd, 2018.
I couldn’t remember anything about that day, except that I spent quite a while queuing at the elevator before finally making my way into a compact meeting room. But I do remember the excitement. Worried but excited that we (I & 8 other team members that day) got a chance to build something could be a lot bigger than ourselves.
I didn’t know much about hospitality (OK, I didn’t know Anything about hospitality; the many nights I spent on the road for AWS shouldn’t count) but I thought the opportunity was too big to ignore. Looking back, the success of VinHMS didn’t occupy my thoughts that day. We just tried, as much as we could, to stay focused on the vision of transforming hotel operations instead of wondering whether it could work.
In the beginning, we planned to build the software in 2 years, “then we’ll see”… It made sense, because the amount of work was huge when you want to replace the Number 1 hotel ERP in the world plus 20 different softwares. Unfortunately, that plan didn’t go well with our benefactor, who was (and still is) well known for Speed. The response was, putting it politely, “Get everything done and deployed for Vinpearl in 20 months or just get the F out”. It sounded impossible, but that impossibility turned out to become our most compelling tool for recruitment. Rock start developers loved to make the “impossible” possible.
Days turned into months, quarters turned into years. A few lines of code turned into 400 microservices across multiple clouds, a team of 8 once grew to more than 400. A pilot hotel turned into the whole group and many local & international clients. A bunch of “test transactions” turned into 70M transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars, millions of bookings, ten millions customer profiles and much much more.
The last 5 years was an amazing journey and I’m grateful for all the supports, all the encouragements and even all the criticisms. We jumped headfirst into an “impossible” task but we got out stronger, with a much better chance to compete globally. We made mistakes, but we also did many things right. Most importantly, I’m proud to say that we did transform hotel operations by innovations. Not many, but it’s a start and we are far from done.
The next 5 years may not be easier, but for now, we deserve a pat on the back for this milestone. A big thank you for our team, our partners, our customers, and Happy 5th anniversary VinHMS!