Budgens spurns Microsoft platform over licence fears

Supermarket chain Budgens expects to cut running costs and improve in-store processes by rolling out a new electronic point of...

Supermarket chain Budgens expects to cut running costs and improve in-store processes by rolling out a new electronic point of sale system, based on Java software running on a Linux platform.

The retailer opted to avoid using a Microsoft platform because of fears over costly licensing terms and being locked into a undesirable up-grade cycle.

Budgens is replacing its six-year-old Epos system, which runs on a Unix platform, with the Vision Beanstore Epos system, from retail software provider PCMS, and a Linux platform from SCO.

The new system will allow store managers to focus on delivering value added services rather than administrative issues, said Garry Barr, IT director at Budgens.

"The idea is to take the store manager out of the back office and on to the shop floor," he said. "The new system will give us functionality that stores have not got, such as suggested ordering cycles.

"It will also help us cut the paper trail, with forms, such as planograms, linked to the intranet. We have identified £70,000 worth of savings on paper purchases alone."

The retailer chose SCO's Linux platform over the Microsoft alternative primarily because of cost, Barr said.

"We looked at the total cost of ownership over five years and we could not risk going with Microsoft," he said.

"With Microsoft's licensing regime you are dictated on upgrades by other forces. We wanted to remain in control."

Because the functionality for the end-user will be limited to common business tools, such as e-mails and spreadsheets, training staff in the Java system should not be an issue, Barr said.

"The main challenge will be change management," he said. "We have to identify the benefits to users, so they do not think their job is being made redundant. We have to reiterate that it will allow them to focus on value added services."

Budgens is currently testing the PCMS software, prior to a pilot in four stores in May.

The system is due to go live across all the company's 177 UK stores by the end of the year, Barr said.

Computer Weekly incorrectly reported (23 January) that Mark Trevorrow was replacing Garry Barr as IT director at Budgens.

Trevorrow has, in fact, been appointed senior controller for IT operations and infrastructure, while Barr remains as IT director at the retailer.

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