Xerox's global CIO Stephen Little says the cloud infrastructure model gives him a "little bit of a headache" due to the complexity of the organisation's worldwide IT environment and sheer number of integrated systems.

"It's an architectural issue for us," he said during a media briefing at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco.

"If you take the complexities of our ERP implementation, which is highly integrated with a lot of legacy systems, adding cloud applications in the middle of that isn't going to drive a lot of value for us.

"I understand the value of the cloud, there's no question about that but [it's about] where we are today and what's the best implementation option for us," he said.

"We understand there is a cost [reduction] opportunity but what I don't want to do is add cost on integration to having basically another infrastructure to manage."

Xerox runs a complex IT environment worldwide which includes Oracle and SAP ERP systems, the Salesforce.com customer relationship management system, and the Oracle Taleo talent management suite. It is gearing up to rollout Oracle Human Capital Management in the cloud.

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"When people say 'we are going to go to the cloud', my eyes glaze over. I look at it as more of a deployment option for us. Oracle HCM is a no-brainer for us, because we have a greenfield situation,"he said.

Oracle Human Capital Management will support Xerox's business processing outsourcing operations at transaction processing centres with high staff turnover. The organisation employs around 10,000 staff at centres in Manila in The Philippines and Jamaica.

"We believe that if we can understand the reasons why [staff leave], we can capture that and put programs in place [to retain them].

"Hiring and training people [is costly]. If someone is processing benefit transactions, we have to train them if they are going to answer the phone from one of the telecom companies.

"We [pay] $7 billion in compensation yearly. What if I could take 1 per cent out of that by having consistent compensation systems around the world? Do the math, it's a lot of money," he said.

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Little said he has seen "every technology" during his 40-plus year career in the IT industry.

"I remind people that PCs were a choice, Windows was a choice. As I've gone through my career, I feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz - you know she's in the tornado - it's me spinning around and all these new technologies show up and I've got to reach out and grab one.

"There's choices and cloud is one of those choices," he said. "We have to understand, PCs are still around even with all the smartphones and tablets. We have 140,000 PCs and 100,000 laptops. The challenge is 'what do you pick?'"

Byron Connolly travelled to Oracle OpenWorld as a guest of Oracle.

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