How Ocado Retail harnessed cloud migration for newfound independence

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Ocado Retail is touting its successful modernization journey by announcing the migration of its key business systems to the cloud via two of Oracle’s enterprise-focused platforms. 

The retail giant was able to generate improved decision-making insights through the project,  as well as streamlined business processes by modernizing its platforms. 

The impetus for the project was one of pragmatism, as says Rebecca Burn, Oracle systems manager at Ocado Retail, in conversation with ITPro

As a joint venture between Marks & Spencer and Ocado Group, Ocado Retail’s systems were previously located within Ocado Group's on-premises infrastructure.

“The requirement really was to give us that independence … we knew that we needed to move off that system,” Burn tells ITPro, adding that, as Ocado Group had already undergone its cloud transformation, the retail wing needed to make its own move to negate the necessity for Ocado Group’s existing “legacy infrastructure”.

This move was all about a drive towards an independent platform for Ocado Retail, Burn says. With over 961,000 active customers and continued growth, Ocado Retail now uses Oracle Fusion Applications to drive more efficient business processes.

How Ocado Retail revamped its cloud infrastructure 

Ocado Retail deployed both Oracle Fusion Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) and Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP, the firm’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution in its migration efforts. These platforms helped shift Ocado’s infrastructure over to the cloud in slightly different ways. 

The use of Oracle Fusion EPM was very much an upgrade, Burn says, as Ocado Retail had already been using the previous version of Oracle’s EPM. The company knew that it needed the updated version and saw that this was a “really good opportunity” to get it. 

With Oracle Cloud EPM, Ocado Retail was able to overhaul several of its key business requirements, allowing it to greatly improve decision-making, as well as scenario modeling, and built-in advanced analytics. Enhanced financial reporting was also a positive result of using EPM, Burn says, alongside enhanced syncing with the other Oracle system, Oracle Fusion ERP.


“It meant that we could have a more real time feed from ERP to the EPM which we didn't have before,” Burn says. 

Through the migration, Ocado Retail has harnessed the ability to automate its financial processes, streamline its procurement framework, and improve controls. This has primarily come about as a result of it consolidating several business systems into one enterprise-scale software as a service (SaaS) application.

Burn describes the move to ERP with enthusiasm, saying it put Ocado Retail “on a modern platform” fit for continued evolution and improvement. As part of the move, Ocado Retail can also now choose from Oracle’s updates in areas such as AI and machine learning (ML).

A smooth migration, but still a learning curve

Ocado’s cloud transformation was fairly straightforward, according to Burn. “From an implementation perspective, it was really painless … it was really smooth,” Burn says. 

Part of the reason for this was down to the fact the firm made sure it was “really prepared” beforehand, having laid groundwork for around a year ahead of the move. Burn says this involved, among other things, a total data cleanse to get it in a good place for future expansion.

That’s not to say that Ocado Retail wouldn’t have done a few things differently if it were to undertake the challenge again, Burn elaborates, citing the issue of moving transactions as part of cloud migration.  

“An invoice could have been added in [two] months ago but now it's … sitting in this period, which just means it looks a bit different,” Burn says.

The ramifications of this, she adds, is that finance users may be confused as to why their transactions look different from what they expected. This issue put “change management” front and center as a learning experience for Burn. 

Managing the overall change was made easier by the presence of Oracle’s “guided learning” system, Burn adds, which she describes as “priceless” in its ability to direct users through specific queries.

As Ocado Retail moves forward with its new systems in place, the firm will continue to see positive results and enhancements in productivity, better placing the firm for future success and modernization.

George Fitzmaurice
Staff Writer

George Fitzmaurice is a staff writer at ITPro, ChannelPro, and CloudPro, with a particular interest in AI regulation, data legislation, and market development. After graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in English Language and Literature, he undertook an internship at the New Statesman before starting at ITPro. Outside of the office, George is both an aspiring musician and an avid reader.