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Denis Edwards and his IT team have a strategy for where cloud computing works best. For those types of applications and tasks, the question becomes, 'Why wouldn't we?'

Chris Murphy

May 25, 2010

2 Min Read

An ideal cloud-based application is a brand-new business-to-consumer application--"those things we hope will go viral, but we aren't quite sure if they will or not," Edwards says. Manpower doesn't mind paying a per-hour rate in return for that unpredictable capacity. "Certainly for prototypes and proof of concept, we'll look to target as many of those to an elastic cloud as possible," Edwards says. He tells his IT team, "Let's get comfortable with 'Why wouldn't we do that in an elastic environment?'"

But if that app's a long-term hit, Edwards thinks it usually will make sense to bring that in-house. Manpower runs data centers in co-location facilities, with its own staff running some of the operation and an outsourcer running other parts. With that view, infrastructure-as-a-service just becomes a new end point along the outsourcing spectrum, seen as higher-priced variable capacity needed at launch, before moving to a more conventional outsourcing or in-house model at a lower long-term cost once the app is at a large but more predictable scale. Cloud In The Budget Process Last year, Manpower considered SaaS on a case-by-case basis as needs arose--such as implementing Salesforce for CRM. But there wasn't a guiding strategy for how and when to consider cloud. As the IT team did due diligence for those projects, it built a list of characteristics that help determine if a project or application makes sense for SaaS or cloud infrastructure. This June, as Manpower starts its annual budgeting and planning process, it'll have a different approach to cloud. "This planning cycle, now that we have the guidelines of what makes sense from a cloud perspective or not, we'll start targeting specific pieces and go out and see if there's a cloud solution for this," Edwards says. "We didn't do that last year." Here are some of the filters that will steer projects toward or away from cloud computing.

About the Author(s)

Chris Murphy

Editor, InformationWeek

Chris Murphy is editor of InformationWeek and co-chair of the InformationWeek Conference. He has been covering technology leadership and CIO strategy issues for InformationWeek since 1999. Before that, he was editor of the Budapest Business Journal, a business newspaper in Hungary; and a daily newspaper reporter in Michigan, where he covered everything from crime to the car industry. Murphy studied economics and journalism at Michigan State University, has an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia, and has passed the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams.

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