Co-op drops outsourcing in a bid to cut costs

Bill Goodwin

High street retailer the Co-operative Wholesale Society plans to make big savings on IT costs, by bringing its operations...

Bill Goodwin

High street retailer the Co-operative Wholesale Society plans to make big savings on IT costs, by bringing its operations back in-house, following its merger with the Co-operative Retail Society.

CWS is talking to French company ATOS about bringing its £9m outsourcing agreement with the former retail society to an end.

CWS, a leading player in the co-operative movement, believes it will make substantial savings by transferring the CRS mainframe systems to CWS' Manchester-based midrange systems.

"We see midrange as the way to go. The CRS mainframe had costs attached, which would obviously be of benefit to remove," said general manager Keith Brydon.

The move is part of a programme to integrate the two retail groups' IT systems by the end of the year.

The biggest challenge will be moving the CWS and the CRS stores to a common set of product codes, essential to allow work on moving the CRS systems over to CWS hardware to begin. "We have a long tortuous path to go along," said Brydon.

CWS also plans to upgrade the till systems in the 460 former CRS stores to ICL's GlobalStore software. This will add facilities like cash management and automated ordering currently available in the CWS tills that run ICL's ISS400 software.

"We are trying to make sure the capability of both systems is virtually identical but that obviously gives us a problem of duplicated development further down track. Everything we develop in the CWS system has to be developed on GlobalStore," said Brydon.

CWS and CRS systems

CWS hardware

HP Unix Servers running

  • Central trading systems (Oracle)

  • Finance systems

  • Payroll systems

    AS/400 running outsourced to Syan running


  • Distribution systems

  • Supplies systems

    ICL Unix Servers running

  • Stores systems based on Vision/ISS300

    Datawarehouse Systems

  • Teradata/NCR and business objects

    CRS Hardware: Outsourced to ATOS

    VME Mainframe running:

  • Central trading systems

  • Finance systems

  • Distribution systems

    AS/400 running

    Supplies system

  • Windows NT

  • Stores system

  • This was last published in May 2000

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