Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is piloting Google Docs and is set to roll it across the business as the next stage of its journey to the cloud. It is also rolling out a new cloud CRM system from Aplicor over the next year.
The automotive giant has been using Gmail from the Google Apps suite as its email system since December 2009, after it separated its IT operations from parent company Ford. Under Ford, the business-wide email system was Microsoft Exchange.
Jeremy Vincent, CIO at JLR, told the first-ever CIO Summit in London today: “We’ve turned on Google Docs as a pilot and we’re about to launch that across the enterprise, 15,500 users, this year.”
JLR has been trialling Google Docs with a group of people in the company over the last four months. Although it has been available to the business through Google Apps from the start, Vincent said that JLR decided initially to switch the function off because alongside the Gmail rollout, it was “too much change all at once”.
While JLR will not be taking out Microsoft Office when Google Docs is in place, Vincent said that the company will monitor the usage and take-up of Google’s application, with a view to achieving future cost savings.
“Over time, we will perhaps get to a position where I can reduce my Microsoft Office licence costs to a much lower cost,” said Vincent.
In addition, Vincent said that JLR had just selected a cloud CRM product from Aplicor, after a pilot programme that started in April. JLR does not currently have a single CRM solution, and so the Aplicor product will replace a range of in-house, legacy systems that at present provide different parts of CRM in a fragmented manner.
The company plans to go live with Aplicor’s CRM with the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, and for its customer response centre in the UK, in December. A global rollout of the system will take place after Christmas.
Meanwhile, Vincent is considering moving other aspects of the business to the cloud platform.
“We’re now talking to Google about their App Engine for Business, which gives us a massively scalable developer environment. But it’s very, very early days,” he said.
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