Public cloud deployment causes complexity ‘headache’, says Xerox CIO

Printer and copier firm Xerox is adopting Oracle’s cloud HR tools to standardise its global IT environment, as it attempts to transform itself and become a supplier of outsourcing services.

Share

Printer and copier firm Xerox is adopting Oracle’s cloud HR tools to standardise its global IT environment, as it attempts to transform itself and become a supplier of outsourcing services.

To support its new direction, the company, which employs 145,000, is in the midst of a project to implement a global HR system that can simplify its infrastructure and provide visibility into its workforce operations. This involves deploying Oracle HCM Fusion software as a service (Saas) platform, along with its existing implementation of Taleo cloud talent management software.

However CIO Steve Little has warned that adopting cloud public is not easy for a large international business with extensive legacy IT infrastructure. 

“From my perspective I have a lot conversations around the cloud, and it gives me a little bit of a headache when I think about the environment we have and the complexity that we have,” he told press at Oracle OpenWorld.

“We understand that there is a cost opportunity for it, but what I don’t want to do is add cost on integration, having basically another sort of infrastructure to manage.”

New direction

Xerox has been attempting to move away from its traditional printer business since purchasing outsourcing firm Affiliated Computer Solutions (ACS) for £4.1 billion in 2010. 

While it completes this transformation, Xerox has begun rationalising its legacy IT estate with more than 1,400 applications, including 150 HR and payroll systems globally, and various Oracle and SAP implementations.

The IT sprawl has resulted in cost inefficiencies, and a lack of knowledge of how many staff are employed at any one time, Little said.  

It has also made it difficult to manage the high turnover of staff engaged in transaction processing at call centres across the world as part of its outsourcing business, with 6,000 employees in Manilla and 5,000 in Jamaica. It is hoped that standardised HR tools will help the company address this.

“We believe if that if we can understand the reason [for the high staff turnover] and put programmes in place [we can help fix it]. So it could be a big opportunity for us," he said. 

He added that a unified cloud system could help save on the $7 billion the company pays in compensation to staff yearly.

“What if I could take one percent out, or ten percent? That is a lot of money," he said.

“But the only way to do that is to put in common compensation systems. It is the process that is important - that is the conversation we had with the HR team, it is standardising how they do HR.”

Partnering with the wider business

Little said that working along side colleagues in other parts of the organisation has been vital to launching such as large project. This has involved partnering with the firm’s CMO, and setting up joint teams.

“You can’t have IT projects - you need to have IT and business projects, partnering together to really drive value in terms of looking at how we manage common processes worldwide,” he said, 

One advantage of having a joined up approach is that it is easier to prevent other departments from circumventing IT.

“One of the things I have learned is that people have a tendency to believe that they can do my job better than I can, and that is how a lot of shadow IT projects show up. I can’t tell you how many I have had to go and fix, because managing IT projects is hard.”

Promoted