M&S signs up troubled telco

High street retailer Marks & Spencer has contracted Cable & Wireless to host its new internal datacentre, despite growing fears...

High street retailer Marks & Spencer has contracted Cable & Wireless to host its new internal datacentre, despite growing fears about the troubled telecoms firm's financial wellbeing.

Analysts have advised C&W customers to ensure they have a second source for their telecoms services, suggesting the company is "in turmoil" following chief executive Graham Wallace's resignation last month.

However, M&S said it is confident the telco will be able to support its new datacentre, in Stockley Park, Middlesex, as well as host its growing range of web-based business applications. "We have satisfied ourselves as to Cable & Wireless' financial standing and its ability to provide us with a quality service in this area," said an M&S spokeswoman.

Under the terms of the agreement, which forms part of M&S' preparations for relocation to a new head office in 2004, the C&W datacentre in Swindon will operate in tandem with the M&S datacentre to host services, creating a single communications platform.

This "dual datacentre" should improve the efficiency of M&S' business processes, providing users with secure access to the retailer's IP virtual private network, said Adrian Pratt, technical consultant at M&S.

"We believe the continuing e-enablement of our infrastructure gives us a real competitive advantage as it enables us to operate more efficiently and develop more effective ways to interact with our customers and suppliers," he said.

C&W will also implement and manage an IP local area network at M&S' datacentre which will be capable of supporting IP telephony and wireless terminals.

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