M&S outsources office networks

Marks and Spencer (M&S) has outsourced its UK network to managed services provider Logicalis in a multi-million pound, four-year contract.

Logicalis will handle all aspects of the IT networks across the retailer's 591 stores and offices, as well as looking at new ways to keep the retailer competitive. Tom Kelly, managing director of Logicalis, said: "Marks is a leading high street retailer that's done fantastically well in the past three years... they've really picked themselves up," said Kelly.

Indeed, that success lead them to examine how to further improve their business. They felt comfortable outsourcing their backend IT because they consider it non-core. Previously, that aspect of their infrastructure was partially managed in-house, with several providers handling the rest. They decided to move to a single provider to find better value, Kelly said.

The Logicalis system will cover the networks from the backend all the way down to tills. "With this deployment, we're also managing the whole aspect, including security, to make sure no one is doing anything untoward," said Kelly.

Logicalis will manage the wired and wireless networks for all shops and offices, as well as help optimise existing infrastructure and support the M&S' in house IT team with transaction and point-of-sale processes.

Damone Quigley, head of infrastructure and application services for M&S, said: "It wasn't simply a case of finding a supplier that could deliver technology services. We sought a partner with the ability to align IT performance to the needs of the business, can demonstrate innovation in service delivery, can share in risk and reward, and is flexible enough to adapt to the future demands of the retail environment."

In the future, M&S and Logicalis could expand their partnership, said Kelly. "Marks has openly come out and said that they want to be as carbon neutral as they can be by 2009 or 2010," Kelly said. That pledge covers their IT, as well. "We're also engaged in second level conversations with them about another solution we have to drive down carbon footprint by turning off tills and servers that are not being used," he said.

With the Logicalis solution, M&S would be able to compare in real-time their current carbon output compared to how it was before, Kelly said.