Tesco to standardise IT systems

Having grown through acquisition and picked up legacy systems along the way, the retail giant now plans to deploy standardised systems across its operations

Tesco is rolling out standardised IT systems across its international operations, with two major projects already underway.

The giant retailer is implementing a set of new systems — dubbed "Tesco in a box" — in Turkey and at its new US operation, due to open for business later this year.

Now in 13 countries, Tesco has grown through acquisition, which means picking up legacy processes and systems along the way, according to the company's group technology and architecture director Mike Yorwerth.

Standardising systems across its international operations can offer "dramatic benefits", he said.

The retailer has developed an operational model — a set of processes and technologies that it wants to use in its business around the world. For IT this involves four main areas: planning and architecture, development of systems, deploying systems, and operation and support of IT.

Yorwerth said Tesco is deploying the full operational model from scratch in the US, while in Turkey, at the supermarket chain Kipa, it is working on a migration plan from its existing systems to the "Tesco in a box" systems.

Speaking at the CA World user conference in Las Vegas, Yorwerth said: "We are doing US and Turkey this year and next year the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Malaysia and Thailand.

"It's a big job because, in certain circumstances, it's changing the core commercial supply chain systems — it's a 12- to 18-month project."

Having standard systems across the world means innovations developed anywhere can be shared by the other countries. He added: "We do it once and roll it out 13 times."

Tesco is using products from CA as part of the project, including desktop management and security software, and products called Service Desk, Support Bridge, and Network and Systems Management.

Yorwerth added: "Each company that we buy has a different stance on security and getting everyone to the same level is critical."