Co-operative Group is about three quarters of the way through a project to virtualise its server estate and improve the levels of service the IT function provides to the rest of the business. The project kicked off early last year.

The new HP computing platform will also be suitable to move Somerfield too, if Co-op decides to consolidate the IT platforms of the two firms. Somerfield presently outsources much of its IT operation to Tata Consultancy Services.

Co-operative Group director of trading group information services Ian Dyson explained that the company needed to reduce the number of systems outages and other issues that were affecting its users. He said: “When the merger occurred I was unhappy with the level of service we were giving the business and decided to rebuild the whole infrastructure.”

Dyson added that the business is still in the process of deciding whether Somerfield’s IT will be bought back in-house with Co-op. He said: “One thing that I like about IT provision being in-house is the control. You have tight control of cost, as well as service delivery to the end user.”
The project to replace Co-op’s ageing server estate with HP blade servers and storage systems should be completed by the end of the year. Co-op has also opened a second data centre to support its disaster recovery strategy.