Cadbury Schweppes suffers go-live delay to £200m revamp

Cadbury Schweppes has suffered a delay to a key go-live date for its £200m global IT reorganisation project.

Cadbury Schweppes has suffered a delay to a key go-live date for its £200m global IT reorganisation project.

The roll-out of the five-year IT and business process reorganisation, Project Probe, was expected to be complete for the group's Australian food and beverages division this month but has been put back to October, a spokesperson said last week.

The food and drink manufacturer expects to get a £500m return on investment from the project, which will eventually see its existing 54 datacentres cut to three. The spokesperson added that the project would be completed on time.

The project is among several global IT reorganisations being carried out by multinationals. Analysts said that delays are quite common owing to the sheer size of the projects.

Simon Bragg, European research director with ARC Consulting, said, "Three months' delay on a project of this complexity isn't too bad. There are technical risks, which emerge at a late date when you are testing interfaces - the scalability or response time might need tweaking, or inconsistencies can emerge with different implementation consultants working on different modules.

"Sometimes the data in legacy systems is so bad that it requires considerable cleaning before transferring it to the new system. Worse are people problems - for instance, the process designs might not be totally appropriate, or training staff might take longer than expected," he added.

Cadbury Schweppes decided to rationalise its IT systems because its infrastructure was fragmented after a series of acquisitions and failed attempts at harmonising sprawling systems.

Project Probe is Cadbury Schweppes' global reworking of its IT systems. As well as the massive reduction in the number of datacentres, it has said it expects to gain the £500m return on investment as it consolidates 27 instances of SAP and harmonises business processes globally.

In the five-year project set for completion in 2005, the company will work with PricewaterhouseCoopers to establish three datacentres housing 107 RS/6000 AIX servers and 90 Windows 2000 servers situated in Birmingham, Melbourne and Dallas which will provide the basis for a common operating platform.

The company has 40,000 suppliers, 25,000 employees and more than 100 production sites around the world.

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