/// Why ADP Is the Biggest Cloud Company You’ve Never Heard Of

October 3, 2011  |  All Things Digital


Take a look at your last paycheck. If you work in the U.S., there’s a one-in-six chance that somewhere on it, or on the stub, you’ll find the logo of a company you’ve probably never heard of, never given much thought to, but which plays a significant role in the day-to-day lives of many companies around the world. It’s called ADP, and it’s a $10 billion (fiscal 2011 sales) outfit that processes the paychecks received last year by some 33 million people around the world — and which processed some $1.2 trillion in payments to workers in the U.S. And it does almost all of it in the cloud. Long before companies like Salesforce.com and Amazon popularized “the cloud” as the important technology force shaping business, before we even had the phrase “software as a service,” ADP was selling its clients on a service that in hindsight sounds very “cloudy.” Rather than shoulder the cost associated with running a payroll on their own, companies large and small would hire ADP to take that business function on for them, on a contract basis. “If you go back enough years, we were known as a ‘service bureau,’” says ADP’s CIO Mike Capone. “It was all run off a mainframe. Payrolls would come in on a Monday or a Tuesday, and paychecks would go out on a Friday. That was the model.” And though for a time it sold some traditional software, by early last decade ADP starting pushing its customers toward the Internet, with no software to install or manage on-site. It was so logical that no one really gave it any thought, Capone says. In the same way it made sense to outsource payroll to a third party, it also made sense to do it without selling any software, but rather let customers run it via the Web. “Back then, it was just obvious that this was the way to do it,” Capone says.

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Why ADP Is the Biggest Cloud Company You’ve Never Heard Of


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