Leadership

How Specsavers is setting its sights on global IT

Specsavers' European IT director Karl de Bruijn on Google Apps, open source and mobile working

...other technology in the Google Apps Marketplace Specsavers could make use of in the near future.

De Bruijn said the idea is to get people comfortable with using the initial functionality of Google Apps before introducing more options.

Project management and change management are two areas the innovation team is considering in the short term with customer management a possibility in the longer term.

"It's very early days and I think we'll look at that as we go on," de Bruijn told silicon.com.

Making the move to more cloud-based services

The work with Google Apps is seen as a stepping stone for Specsavers to get a better understanding of cloud computing and explore the possibility of doing more with Google App Engine to host and develop applications.

"It was about aligning ourselves with the whole Google approach to cloud-based computing where it's not necessarily just email and collaboration you're getting but you're actually investing in cloud infrastructure that you can use in a number of different ways, which we see as quite a core strategy in terms of using that capability to service our organisation on a global basis," de Bruijn said.

Specsavers has had a presence in Australia for three years and chose to roll out Google Apps in the southern hemisphere before its more established markets

Specsavers has had a presence in Australia for three years and chose to roll out Google Apps in the southern hemisphere before its more established markets
(Photo credit: Specsavers)

He added that starting with Google Apps meant the company could modernise its email and collaboration technology while allowing its technology and business teams to get involved in cloud computing with minimal upfront investment.

"I think the areas [to host in App Engine] that really interest us are where we have systems like rules engines and that type of capability that we may want to share across multiple functions and collaboration. Will we look at larger systems and applications [in the future]? Definitely. It's part of our interest to know more about how that would work," de Bruijn said.

For now though, the company is on a learning curve with cloud technology: "At the moment we would run those things internally until we understood more about that type of infrastructure."

As for private cloud, de Bruijn said it wasn't on the company's "short-term radar" as it can afford to delay decisions about this kind of technology until the company has a better understanding of "the most appropriate time and places to use cloud-based computing services".

Going mobile with iPads and Android

The Google Apps project will also provide a boost for Specsavers' mobile workers who will be able to access the technology via browsers on devices such as...

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