The Grill: ADP's CIO on the granddaddy of SaaS

Even with continued success, ADP's CIO keeps the pressure on to avoid complacency.

By , Computerworld |  On-demand Software, hosted services

ADP was a pioneer of the software-as-a-service model.How has that business changed? The most fundamental shift I've seen is the consumerization phenomenon. For many years, our clients -- the people who I support both internally and externally -- were people who were paid to come in and use our systems. Sometimes those IT systems were fairly ugly, but it mattered less because people had to use them. Now many of the people we are dealing with are end users because we're doing more user self-service. So the mobile and social components of this have taken off. People expect an excellent experience with technology. That puts a lot of pressure on IT on the usability and innovation front. We have to make sure we're keeping up.

How does ADP's legacy as the granddaddy of SaaS affect how you do IT internally? We push out as much as we can to the cloud, including expense reporting, procurement and salesforce automation. Every conversation I have starts with, "Can we do this in a SaaS model?" It takes a lot of convincing for me to do something internally.

What aren't you willing to move to a SaaS provider? Back-office financial systems. We're waiting for that industry to mature. But I would not be surprised if in another year or two we're having a conversation about why that can't be pushed out into an on-demand model.

What other cloud services are you using? We've already built an internal cloud both for our clients and for all of the services we provide to our R&D organization and our business community. R&D people can provision their own servers. And even though we have two Tier 4 data centers, we still leverage infrastructure as a service. We use Amazon [EC2], for example, for some of our mobile development so that the ecosystem of partners we work with are in the cloud, not coming into our infrastructure.

What technology projects does your company plan to roll out in the next 12 months? We're going to roll out analytics to our clients. Not only will they get their data back and see some pretty cool visualization analytics, but they will be able to benchmark against other companies. Think of it as a kind of workforce index that an HR person can have on their desktop. So for example, you can see if you're below market for a given job code, and there will be a dashboard you can drill into to get additional benchmarks.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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