Morrisons outsources IT process change

Virtual shopping pushing cart

Morrisons has turned to outsourcing to help transform its IT infrastructure at the same time as posting bumper, rival-beating financial results.

The UK's fourth largest supermarket embarked on a major IT systems transformation project last summer, after signing a 110-million Oracle deal to move over to its retail enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suite.

The deal announced yesterday with the global IT services business of Wipro will support the planning, management and delivery of large-scale systems and process change based on the Oracle ERP platform.

Richard Pennycook, Morrisons' chief financial officer (CFO), said: "Morrisons is making a major investment to give us the systems and processes to drive our business forward. Wipro Retail brings technology and retail business expertise to help us in this process."

Gary Barr, Morrisons' chef information officer (CIO), added: "This is more than a systems replacement programme. It is a business change programme enabled by the replacement of the existing IT systems."

Before making the decision as to who to work with, Oracle implementation references led the retailer to the outsourcer, according to Phil Goodwin, Morrisons' programme director. "They all said that we should be speaking to Wipro Retail," he said.

The engagement will make use of the outsourcer's near and offshore resources to deliver the change programme cost effectively. Wipro Retail is also leading planning and scoping work streams around manufacturing, testing, business intelligence and data warehousing.

The supermarket added that, by using Oracle's best-of-breed software to perform labour intensive, non value-add tasks, Morrisons aims to focus its key staff on higher value and customer-facing tasks, which in turn will help maintain its competitive advantage and support continued growth.

That growth was apparent only yesterday when Morrisons announced strong Christmas sales figures. The Bradford-based chain said like-for-like sales were up 8.2 per cent on 2007 levels in the six weeks to 4 January, outstripping the 2.5 per cent rise at Tesco, 4.5 per cent increase at Sainsbury's and 6.9 per cent improvement at Asda.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.