Coop Norway inks infrastructure deal with Wipro

Norway's Coop becomes the latest Nordic firm to outsource IT to an Indian company after the retailer penned a deal with Wipro

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Norwegian supermarket group Coop has signed a five-year infrastructure and managed services agreement with Indian IT services provider Wipro.

Coop Norge Handel AS (Coop Norway) is a leading retailer in Norway, with a market share of 33% and over 1,500 stores. Wipro will transform Coop Norway’s enterprise SAP software environment and replace the company's data centre infrastructure. In particular the programme aims to improve supply chain and distribution operations.

No Coop Norway employees will be affected by the deal, that replaces a previous partnership with HP. Most service delivery will take place from Wipro headquarters in Bangalore, with only some project management based at the Coop premises in Oslo.

Earlier this year Coop Norway completed a controversial takeover of rival supermarket chain ICA, which was approved by the competition authorities only on the condition the organisation sold 93 stores to rival retail groups Bunnpris and NorgesGruppen.

According to Magne Solberg, CIO at Coop Norway, the infrastructure replacement programme was planned long before the acquisition of ICA. By April 2016, operations of all ICA stores will be switched over to the Coop IT environment, which by then will be operated by Wipro.

“Two years ago we planned a more comprehensive outsourcing deal and invited bids from a large number of players, both in the Nordics and further afield,” explained Solberg. “Our business strategy changed but we were impressed with a small group of companies during the process, including Wipro. When we decided to initiate this deal, we approached this smaller group of candidates directly.”

Wipro has global experience with supermarket retailers, most notably a business transformation programme for UK chain Morrisons. It was tasked with moving from legacy-based systems to an Oracle-based platform and retail application suite in a bid to save £7m in annual costs.

Read more about IT outsourcing in the Nordics

“We were looking for a partner who can bring innovation to our retail operations. Wipro has proven global experience working for major retail brands in exciting areas,” added Solberg. “This experience, combined with the ability of Wipro to reduce our running costs, was the key decision factor.

“With our SAP and datacentre infrastructure supported by Wipro, we can drive further efficiencies and, most importantly, bring about joint innovations to serve our customers better.”

Some of Wipro’s systems for the retail industry include omnichannel technology, Promax PX for supply chain management, in-store energy management and the video-based store optimisation solution Wipro Sight.

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