Morrisons will push ahead with its business and IT transformation programme in 2009, having signed Wipro Retail to assist it with its plans.

The grocer first announced a£110 million IT investment in 2007 and confirmed in early 2008 that it would implement Oracle systems across its business in a project that would take five years.

Morrisons programme director Phil Goodwin told Retail Week: “We have spent the lion’s share of 2008 planning and mobilising the teams. Now we have an implementation roadmap that’s been signed off by the board. We are as confident as we can be that it will allow us to be successful and manage risk to the business.”

Goodwin explained that the implementation process will begin in the first quarter with some financial modules of the Oracle applications. By the end of the year the grocer hopes to have at least completed a pilot of the Retalix EPoS system and begun work on other finance modules, including one to support not-for-resale procurement.

Morrisons is keen to minimise the risks associated with such a large project and chose Wipro Retail as it was impressed with the work it completed during the project planning and scoping phase.

Goodwin added that another key factor was the flexible approach Wipro Retail took to the project and its understanding that plans might change before the project is completed. “The plan we are working to in three to five years’ time won’t be the plan that we have now,” he said.
In addition to the 100 or so staff from Wipro Retail involved with the project, Goodwin said Morrisons has directly hired extra staff to help manage change in the business.

Goodwin said that in some ways the technology aspect of the project will be the easier part, with the organisational change, training and staff buy-in harder to achieve.