Rido - stock.adobe.com

Currys signs up Microsoft and Accenture to modernise IT

IT modernisation programme covers datacentre migration to Azure cloud and roll-out of AI to boost shopping experience

Currys has chosen Microsoft and Accenture to enable it to develop core cloud technology infrastructure to support artificial intelligence (AI)-powered initiatives.

The electronics retailer plans to use the latest AI technologies to enhance operations, elevate the shopping experience and improve the experience of its retail workforce.

Through the contract, Accenture and Microsoft, together with their joint venture, Avanade, will be working with Currys to modernise, secure and simplify the retailer’s IT systems, paving the way to the deployment of Microsoft AI technologies such as Azure OpenAI Service.

By leveraging these Microsoft AI technologies, Currys hopes to make it easier for consumers to shop by offering personalised relevant product information and suggestions tailored to their needs.

The AI software will also be used develop a better long-term understanding of customers, allowing Currys to offer an improved post-sales experience and warranty services.

To support retail staff, Currys hopes the AI will offer faster and easier access to information such as product availability, delivery costs and add-on services so they can better serve customers, while also identifying potential cross and upselling opportunities.

Currys said it will also be looking to harness AI for opportunities to improve omnichannel experiences.

Read more about retail IT stories

The IT modernisation aspect of the contract involves migrating nine existing datacentres with more than 2,000 servers and 200 applications onto Azure to create a more energy-efficient infrastructure, which Currys said will help it achieve its net-zero emissions target by 2040.

“AI is the biggest technological leap of our lifetime,” said Alex Baldock, group CEO of Currys. “Currys exists to help everyone enjoy amazing technology, so as well as bringing the benefits of AI to millions of customers, we’ll do the same to our own business.

“We couldn’t have better partners for this, and together we aim to put Currys at the forefront of digital transformation in retail. We’re just starting out here, but the possibilities are vast. I’m looking forward to unlocking big benefits for our colleagues, customers and shareholders.”

Over the past few years, the retailer has been on a technology refresh, which has included using Salesforce to support and improve the online shopping experience.

At the end of last year, Currys launched Connected Media, a platform that provides first-party customer data that brands such as Acer, Hisense and Samsung can use to better understand what people will be shopping for, and when.

“Building a strong digital core will enable Currys to take its customer service and employee experience to the next level, and more quickly harness the potential of AI and generative AI to drive its ongoing reinvention,” said Julie Sweet, chair and CEO of Accenture. “Together with Microsoft, we are helping Currys raise the bar in the retail industry, reach new frontiers of performance and efficiency, and create new value and growth.”

Read more on Artificial intelligence, automation and robotics

Data Center
Data Management