Morrisons' new IP network adds to IT overhaul

Morrisons has signed a three year deal for a Cable&Wireless IP network, as it rolls out Oracle across its stores, warehouses and offices.

The managed voice and data network, under a multimillion pound deal, will cover the retailer's 430 sites, including stores, petrol stations, distribution centres, datacentres and Morrisons's headquarters. It will connect 114,000 employees.

It will quadruple network capacity and improve reliability, the supermarket chain said, as well as easing the deployment of the new Oracle applications, which are aimed at improving reporting and decision making.

The supermarket chain will also deploy Cable&Wireless' Application Performance Management software, in order to monitor its applications more closely. This would help it reduce the bandwidth used by each program, and save money as a result, it said.

Morrisons was due to begin its £110 million Oracle-based IT overhaul this quarter, starting with payroll and IT systems. But the retailer could not immediately confirm to Computerworld UK whether work has begun.

It will install Oracle E-Business Suite, Siebel CRM, Oracle Identity Management and the Fusion and SOA middleware applications. The systems will run on HP hardware.

The overhaul looks set to become a larger task after Morrisons last week acquired 38 stores from the similarly Oracle-based Co-Operative Group chain.

Gary Barr, IT director at Morrisons, said the company wanted to make its business more efficient, adding that "proven" systems were vital, and the new network was an "essential part of our growth plans".

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