Starwood Hotels: a CTO's journey into the API economy

Thought leadership on using cloud and APIs to evolve customer-facing services

Published on 15 Aug 2016

We can go into Cloud very quickly, implement a different scenario, test it out in the marketplace, get immediate results, inform ourselves from what works or doesn't work, make the decisions and then build the right solution in the long run.

Christos Kotsakis, chief technology and innovation officer, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Travel & Transportation

Deployment country
United States


According to a recent Gartner survey, improving the customer experience is the most pressing mandate for marketers and is one of the top areas of marketing technology investment. In fact, a recent Gartner the survey found that in 2016, 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, versus 36% four years ago. Gartner goes on to predict that by 2017, 50% of consumer product investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations.

Business need
With tools like APIs and the cloud, IT now stands at the forefront of creating those innovations. Technologies like these open the door to new ways of leveraging customer data and of becoming ever-more finely tuned to - and capable of – continually improving the customer experience. It’s about redefining customer relationships, differentiating from competitors and speeding solution delivery to-market, all while reducing cost and risk to the business.

Meet Christos Kotsakis, CTO of Starwood Hotels. Christos’s personal story shows how he leverages cloud technology and APIs to drive an iterative, low-cost and low-risk approach to developing and deploying new services for Starwood guests and personalizing the guest experience.

Christos's IT team at Starwood delivers new solutions to the business approximately 50 percent faster than they could a couple of years ago. As a result, the business can try more, and innovate faster, with less risk. Where Starwood used to have to make a "big bet" on one solution, it can now take the more agile cloud approach and try multiple solutions at less cost, identifying the best fit for the long run.


IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Cloud Computing, Middleware - Integration - Connectivity, Integration, Connectivity and Integration

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