Reed.co.uk, the job site extension of the high street recruitment agency, has chosen cloud-based SAP Business ByDesign as part of an overhaul of its business applications strategy.
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Mark Ridley, director of technology at reed.co.uk, said the company’s web development ethos had informed this technology choice, which is part of a wider, cloud-based IT strategy.
“Ours is a high-growth business”, he said. Five years ago it had 25 employees, now it has 250.
In January 2012, the Reed.co.uk board gave the go-ahead for reed.co.uk to overhaul its IT estate. “It was a factor of growth,” said Ridley. “Cloud technologies – especially for HR and finance – were getting to the right point of maturity.”
The company deployed Salesforce cloud technology five years ago. This followed a McKinsey engagement which advised a shift to selling subscriptions to recruiting companies and recruitment agencies.
Ridley puts this option for cloud, and the company’s general approach, down to its being a web development company. “We always outsourced hosting to focus on website development.”
His team have extended that “web development mentality” to the project that has selected SAP Business ByDesign. “It has been practitioner-led, not technology-led”. The company’s HR and finance workers have been involved in workshops and sandboxed testing of the applications.
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SAP emerged ahead of Oracle, Sage, Microsoft Great Plains and others, in part because Business ByDesign could do both HR and finance well, he said.
There was another factor. “SAP has mobile apps delivering up to date charts to tablets and smart phones. Consumerisation of IT does have value here. We are seeing a new found enthusiasm for IT,” said Ridley. “People are responding in emotive ways.
“There are no easy wins, but if you focus on your end-users, humanise the systems and see the technology as just an enabler, you will have happier staff. It has to be a pleasure to work with the technology. And nor should you just assume that everyone needs to have Office and Windows. We’re very granular in understanding our IT costs,” he said.
The Business ByDesign project will go live by May 2013 and fully installed by July, said Ridley.
Reed has been working with SAP reseller G3 Global. Greg Whitaker, from G3, said: “We are delighted that reed.co.uk has chosen SAP Business ByDesign as the cornerstone of its IT strategy. Cloud, mobility and data analytics are three of the key areas businesses must address in 2013, and with SAP Business ByDesign Reed addresses all three”.
Gareth Whiting, head of channel Business ByDesign at SAP said: “Forward-thinking enterprises, such as reed.co.uk, continue to recognise the enormous potential of the cloud as a delivery platform for data analytics”.