Improving project management and corporate governance has become a vital issue at boardroom and IT department level in the wake of the various accounting scandals in the US.
Tesco, which has more than 700 stores in the UK and more than 250 outlets in the Republic of Ireland, central Europe and South-East Asia, implemented the project management software from supplier Business Engine to improve the way its UK teams monitor and document processes and procedures.
"With hundreds of projects going on at any one time, maintaining control and visibility is important," said Ben Wishart, development director at Tesco. "This was proving difficult because there was a broad array of different methods being used to manage projects, with different databases and spreadsheets being created all the time."
The web-based Business Engine system, currently used by about 1,200 Tesco employees in the UK, stores all project information in a common repository, making tracking the time and money spent and the risks taken easier, Wishart said.
"The new system makes managing budgets and milestones much simpler," he said. "With unified project repositories you can get under the skin of issues and know exactly what is going on and to what timescale."
Although measuring the success of an implementation such as this is difficult in purely financial terms, there are other metrics Tesco can use, Wishart said.
"I know it is successful when somebody tells me that managing a project has been made much easier," he said. "It is also easier to compare forecasts and actual spend under a common system."
Tesco signed an agreement with Business Engine for up to 4,000 users and expects to roll the software out across its European operations later this year, Wishart said.
"We are going through another one or two step-ups with our UK implementation before rolling out in Europe," he said. "This will probably be completed by the end of the year."
In a separate development, software firm Retek announced last week that Tesco has rolled out its warehouse management and enterprise application integration package at two distribution centres in South Korea and Malaysia. The implementations will support Tesco's growth plans in Asia Pacific and serve as the standard for new global warehouse and distribution management systems, Retek said.