Kingfisher, which owns the DIY brands B&Q and Screwfix, has revealed it will start a four-year, IT change programme that involves implementing SAP across the group in 2014/15.
Board director Steve Willett, who took over the IT responsibilities from former CIO Mike Bell last year, will be leading the project. Willett is already in charge of B&Q’s omni-channel operation.
Bell had talked about centralising and standardising the company on SAP Business Suite on the HANA platform to get a single view of its product and supply chain data for the first time, just before he left. When he joined Kingfisher, there were multiple forms of customised SAP systems across the group, he said.
The IT change programme involves rolling out a standard SAP as a core application that enables group-wide integration, and refreshing the physical infrastructure that is “nearing end of life”, including servers, tills and store and office devices. In preparation for the SAP rollout, Kingfisher carried out IT process mapping analysis at its French subsidiary, Castorama France last year.
According to Kingfisher’s preliminary results for the year ended 1 February 2014, the IT programme is an “opportunity to step change IT across the group” and is part of a “need to move to web and mobile-based solutions”.
“Flexibility for the future is our key working principle,” the company said, as it reported pre-tax profits up 4.1 percent to £744 million for the year.
The company spent 32 percent (£117.44 million) of its capital expenditure (£367 million) in 2013/14 on "IT, supply chain, omni-channel and other". It plans to increase this to 40 percent (between £140 million to £160 million) of an expected total capex of £350 million to £400 million in 2014/15.
Extending omni-channel capabilities across the company is one of Kingfisher’s targets for 2014/15, after having carried out the first implementation of the group omni-channel platform at B&Q.
B&Q’s omni-channel is showing “encouraging” early signs, the company said, with its trade building supplies website trade-point.co.uk up and running.
The retailer’s diy.com upgrade also continues, using the Screwfix omni-channel infrastructure, with enhanced home page, navigation and usability. The firm plans to launch a ‘click, pay and collect’ service in the summer, a common trend for retailers looking to bridge their online and bricks and mortars channels.
In January, Kingfisher unveiled some of the infrastructure upgrades, which includes commoditising its predominantly IBM storage estate. It deployed a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) system from X-IO that saved it 40 percent on hardware costs.
Kingfisher has typically been an IBM house, using products ranging from x86 servers to storage systems including DS4800 and DS300 arrays. It currently uses around one petabyte of storage across its two data centres in Fairham, comprising mostly of IBM 600GB or 900GB SAS 10k mid-range disk arrays, with storage requirements growing at a rate of approximately 20 percent each year.
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