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Manpower, Tampa General Embrace the Cloud

Juan Carlos Perez | March 10, 2011
Several companies, including Manpower and Tampa General Hospital, are announcing on Thursday their adoption of Microsoft BPOS applications, pointing to progress the software giant is making in the cloud realm and also to new features and pricing models users would like to see as such software becomes a bigger part corporate IT.

At Tampa General Hospital, the IT department recently started moving 7,000 employees away from an old, creaky and unstable on-premise e-mail platform to Exchange Online, with a target of migrating eventually a total of 9,000 users, said Shane Ochotny, technology architect at the Florida hospital.

"We knew that the cloud was the way we wanted to go because we're in the health-care business. E-mail is e-mail and calendaring is calendaring and it should be a service like electricity or water: you pay a bill and it's there and available," he said. "We don't want an entire team of e-mail administrators just making sure e-mail is up and running when we can have them doing something far more innovative."

However, the project's scope extends beyond e-mail. Tampa General Hospital is looking at BPOS, and eventually Office 365, to anchor the implementation of an ambitious unified communications platform tailored to the concept of a "deskless worker."

That will involve moving several terabytes worth of files stored in legacy servers over to a SharePoint-based system, with Lync Online tying together a variety of communications services, including a brand new third-party video conferencing platform.

"Our goal is to have one website people can go to, log in and have their e-mail, calendar, contacts, IM and all their files: everything they need to do their jobs will be available from any computer anywhere, including from a mobile phone," Ochotny said.

Currently, employees store documents on the file servers, which are "a mess of duplicates and stuff you can't find," he said. That has made e-mail the main collaboration tool, creating the dreaded situation of having multiple versions of files being sent around e-mail, as opposed to working on them on a central server-based repository.

"We're trying to get people to break away from that old way of collaborating," he said.

While enterprises have had multiple concerns over the years about the viability, security and performance of cloud-based applications and services, CIOs and IT managers increasingly take the plunge, and similar testimonies are provided now regularly by other large companies adopting cloud-based products from vendors like Google (GOOG), (CRM), IBM (IBM), Cisco and others.

Shell and Advocate Health Care are also announcing on Thursday their adoption of BPOS.


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