Hilton is evaluating a cloud computing model for certain parts of its workforce. Like many big enterprises, Hilton does not plan a wholesale move to a cloud model, but rather a hybrid environment.
"We like the flexibility of mixing both on-premise and a hosted cloud model," says Webb. "And we would not limit it to one cloud provider. We plan to have a mixed environment where some services are delivered from an IBM cloud and some are from a Microsoft cloud."
But a hybrid approach calls for a deeper examination of Hilton's workforce to see who can get by on cloud-based apps like those in Microsoft's Office 365 online service, and who cannot, says Webb.
SharePoint and Outlook for Social Networking
While Webb sees SharePoint as an important part of its collaboration tool set, it is not the only tool, and his goal is to keep the focus on SharePoint's social networking and document sharing features a natural part of Hilton employees' workflow.
"We want employees to use SharePoint MySites and TeamSites [which create a Facebook-like environment] to share information or jointly edit documents with people in their departments," says Webb.
"We've been tying SharePoint features and the chat and presence features of Office Communicator into Outlook, and will push that integrated package out in January," says Webb.
Presence Without Distraction
As Webb rolls out the presence features of OCS into Outlook across the company, he understands the potential that having voice, video and chat features at their fingertips could be a distraction for workers who are not used to it.
"I think having the 'free' and 'busy' indicators is helpful to keep it from being too much of a distraction," says Webb. "But at the same time our IT and training groups have an obligation to educate people on how to most effectively use these tools, and not just throw more technology at employees and expect them to know how to use it all."
Webb adds that the good news is that workers have an established familiarity with Microsoft products, but there will be a learning curve for new features in Office 2010.
"It's up to IT to help manage information overload," he says.