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Boots merger could pose IT headache

The £7bn merger of pharmaceutical chain Boots with Alliance UniChem will require the integration of very different IT infrastructures.

The Boots Group is a heavy user of SAP enterprise systems across its business divisions, and substantial parts of its IT infrastructure are outsourced to Xansa.

Four days before the merger announcement, Boots had extended its £90m outsourcing arrangement for a further two years to 2011. Xansa, which runs Boots' central applications development and support functions, will also run IT systems for Boots' Advantage Card business under the contract extension.

However, Alliance UniChem uses different suppliers. Its retail planning, replenishment and enterprise management software are provided by the Evant Replenishment system from Manhattan Associates.

Alliance UniChem awarded Manhattan Associates the contract to replace its existing replenishment and retail planning systems in June this year, just four months before the £7bn merger was announced. The first deployments are due later this year.

Alliance UniChem uses a financial management system from CodaSciSys.

The merged company, which will trade on the high street as Alliance Boots, will have nearly 2,400 stores in the UK.


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