Morrisons has signed a deal with Oracle for what is set to be the biggest retail IT transformation project agreed this year.

The grocer has purchased software that will span its operation, from manufacturing to merchandising and store systems.

The package includes Oracle Retail’s merchandising, planning and store applications, as well as its Siebel customer relationship management software. ERP software will be deployed for financial, payroll and manufacturing systems. In addition, Morrisons has purchased Oracle’s database technology and its middleware, which can help tie other applications together.

The retailer says it will take five years to implement these systems as part of its wider business transformation programme.

Morrisons IT director Gary Barr said: “Morrisons requires proven, world-class retail systems to achieve its business requirements for profitable growth today and in the future.
“We expect Oracle solutions to meet our needs, offering a breadth of functionality and a level of data that will promote a more accurate assessment of business performance. This will help us turn information into profitable business decisions and deliver an enhanced experience for our customers.”

The announcement follows Retail Week’s revelation that Morrisons plans to recruit more than 500 IT staff and consultants in the next two years to support the software implementation (RW Online, January 30).

At the grocer’s end-of-year results last year, chief executive Marc Bolland revealed that it would embark on a£110 million three-year IT investment project. At the time, he explained that the retailer’s systems had mostly been developed in-house and were up to 30 years old.

He said Morrisons had no desire to adopt leading-edge technology, because its competitive advantage comes from differentiators such as in-store service.

Morrisons has awarded Epos Engineers an annual contract to provide pump maintenance for 76 of its petrol-filling stations. The grocer is in the process of replacing legacy pumps at its forecourts and said it chose Epos Engineers to ensure all sites are operating at full capacity.