Budgens has reorganised its IT department in a drive to align its work more closely to its business needs and to ensure that projects produce a return on investment.
The move follows a review last year, which showed that overstretched IT staff were wasting time developing systems that Budgens staff were not using and which did not meet the needs of the business.
"We have taken a step back and looked at the overall role of IT in the business. Whereas in the past IT has been seen as a service, we are looking much more to operate as an in-house software house," said Ray Kwist, who took over as logistics and IT director this month.
The retailer has appointed four business analysts to sit down with Budgens staff to hammer out what they actually need from IT rather than what they think they need.
"The development was taking place without proper user requirements. There was a percentage - and not a small percentage - of projects that were not being used," said Kwist.
The restructuring will ensure that the IT department and its clients within the retailer know the full cost of each IT project commissioned and the business benefits it is expected to produce.
Projects have to be signed-off by the finance director and the chief executive officer before they can be given the go-ahead. "It makes everyone very careful," said Kwist. "Every bit of work now has to have a cost justification."
The IT department has adopted a structured approach to each project, which now has to go through formal project definition, costing, documentation, testing and implementation and version management.
"Before the change it was a partly structured approach. IT tended to put out long lists of priorities for the business and the business was not good at implementing them. We had lost sight of cost benefit," said Kwist.
"I have no doubt that it is going to substantially improve project deliverables," he added. "It clearly helps users define more closely what they want."
Kwist also intends to add a formal project review, which will analyse the cost benefit of each project and evaluate whether it has achieved its objectives.