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Reed Online trials Chromeboxes and opts for SAP in the cloud

Reed Online trials Chromeboxes and opts for SAP in the cloud

Mark Ridley is trying to make the browser the access point for all business apps

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The UK’s largest online job site, Reed.co.uk, is currently undergoing a major overhaul of its IT estate where it has opted to put its HR and finance systems in the cloud using SAP Business ByDesign and is in the process of trialling Google’s Chromeboxes.

Mark Ridley, Reed.co.uk’s director of technology, is in the midst of a major project to make the browser the most common access point for business applications and systems in order to give the business greater flexibility and drive efficiencies, which has been made possible by separating from Reed’s corporate group in 2007 to become a standalone company.

Up until this point Reed.co.uk had been a business of 25 people operating on Reed Corporate’s IT systems, where it was using a number of legacy systems, including Oracle for HR and Finance, and Lotus Notes for email.

Since breaking away, and now operating as an independent company, Reed.co.uk has grown to 250 people and is cutting the ties with Reed Corporate’s systems by pushing almost everything into the cloud.

“In January of last year my role expanded to take on the replacement of systems we were consuming from corporate IT. In reality that meant every part of the technology that was provided to us, we were looking at removing,” Ridley told Computerworld UK.

“Our aim is to move the entire company to a position where a browser is the lowest common denominator of access that’s needed for any of the systems that we have.”

He added: “I think we are in a very fortunate position because we are a very young company that is creating our own processes. We are very stable and we have enough cash to be talking to the big vendors in the market place, but there’s no real pressure on us to move.”

Reed.co.uk has already selected and gone live with a number of cloud providers, including Salesforce.com for their pure CRM – a company that Ridley says the cloud market owes a lot of gratitude to for their success in making public cloud acceptable in the enterprise.

However, Ridley began looking at options for moving away from Reed Corporate’s Oracle HR and finance systems in January last year and settled on SAP’s Business ByDesign, after Ridley found that a number of the other vendors on the shortlist weren’t what he considers true public cloud.

“The other vendors we were considering all had a ‘cloud offering’, but it was delivered in various ways. Some vendors weren’t so advanced in their approach as others. Some would provision servers for you which you could access securely, but it wasn’t true multi-tenancy,” said Ridley.

“We have a browser first mentality and we found that the SAP piece works really well with that. We believe that ByDesign works really well via a browser. What this means is that it makes an enormous difference to our disaster recovery and business continuity processes, because we can control everything from the cloud.”

He added: “The aim is to get to the stage where employees have one login for all systems (it’s approximately five at the moment) so that friction is reduced with the business and the products are easier to use. So if the office burned down, in theory we could flick a switch and turn on the out of office policy.”

Ridley is hoping that Reed.co.uk will be able to break away from Corporate’s Oracle systems in June of this year and go live with SAP Business ByDesign.

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