When pest-control-to-parcel-delivery outfit Rentokil Initial announced last year that it planned to move 35,000 staff onto web-based Googlemail accounts, it become at a stroke one of the largest corporate users of Cloud applications in the world. You might think that adopting such a cutting edge position was a big risk for a company like Rentokil to take. After all, its brand is not necessarily one associated with the very latest tech, so why make such a high-profile move?
But you’d be wrong. As CIO Bryan Kinsella explains in this MT Workplace Technology Visions interview, it was pretty much a no-brainer – not least because the firm’s existing mail set-up was increasingly hard to manage. With 35 different email products and 180 domains across the business, it was well overdue for rationalisation. ‘Because it is in the Cloud, Googlemail allows us to provide email on a single platform, accessible to everyone who needs it, and from multiple devices too. We ran some user trials, and the message was "We like it."' he says.
As major IT roll outs go, this one has been fast, smooth and relatively painless, he adds. One of the great strengths of the Cloud, he believes, is the way it allows firms to move infrastructure and apps to an on-demand model in a piecemeal fashion. With traditional architectures, this is a recipe for a mish-mash of platforms and serious legacy and integration problems.
But with the Cloud you can simply add more apps, or more users, to the same platform as and when you wish. Just as Rentokil has done. And having started with email and calendar apps, the firm plans to roll out more cloud apps in future as time, and the investment cycle, allow. ‘We’ve adopted email so far, but this may well change. Apps which in many firms are currently restricted to servers and workstations will become much more accessible in the next five years’ he says. Rentokil’s Googlemail roll out should be complete by the end of the year, and there’s more to come - the firm’s 45 intranets will now be transferred to a Google Cloud platform too.
Other highlights of MT's exclusive interview include:
- How the Cloud enabled Rentokil Initial’s Singapore operation to recover overnight from a major failure in its traditional email system.
- Why Kinsella believes concerns over the security of the Cloud may be exaggerated.
- How linking up Cloud apps with existing corporate databases is leading to the emergence of brand new business models.
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