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Leveraging cloud for backend ops

Leveraging cloud for backend ops

At Dallas-based TopGolf, CIO Tom LaPlante is one IT leader who goes well beyond lip service when it comes to innovation.  In just over year since he was named the golf entertainment company’s first CIO, he has brought new life to business and change management processes, seen the opening of two new venues and a technology lab and he’s gearing up launch an innovation think tank with employees dedicated to focusing on what’s next.

With so much focus on innovation, LaPlante seeks to make it as relatively simple as possible to run backend operations. Freeing up employees to work on more innovation-focused projects is often cited as a potential perk of leveraging cloud solutions. For LaPlante, embracing cloud has meant keeping the innovation focus while avoiding additional hires.

“Our philosophy is to be lean and mean, so if I were to do a certain thing in-house I might have to add three people versus letting someone implement that technology and let the cloud vendor deal with the rest.”

LaPlante currently runs Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud and several of TopGolf’s site-specific solutions are cloud based or run on software-as-a-service (SaaS). It’s proved a good way to get solutions tailored for TopGolf’s sites and get them scaled up faster than they could by building and hosting them in-house.

“Thus far we’re seeing cost that’s if not neutral, slightly lower, because I don’t have to staff up and house a big data center,” he said. “We use colo facilities and for our data warehouse initiative we’re still deciding whether to host that in the cloud or stand up our own, but we try to make as much use of cloud capabilities and technologies as possible.”

Click here to read the full SearchCIO Innovator profile of Tom LaPlante .

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