Waitrose and John Lewis are rolling out Google Apps to a combined total of 60,000 users in a bid to improve innovation at the two retailers.

Both are at different stages of implementing the technology, and say that using cloud systems will improve communication and collaboration between staff.

The project will give staff at both retailers access to systems such as video chat service Google Hangout, and it means teams can work from shared documents. Basic business systems such as email, staff calendars and word processing will all be housed in the cloud, which means they can be accessed anywhere via the internet.

John Lewis chief information officer Paul Coby said it has already helped the business better communicate its strategy to its staff, with video interviews of managing director Andy Street being uploaded to a central communication hub where staff can also ask questions and provide ideas.

He said: “It gives us access to the sort of functionality we have at home. It gives us flexibility.”  He added that once the roll out is complete, he hopes teams within the business will use the software to come up with localised ways to collaborate and make their lives easier.”

Waitrose chief information officer Cheryl Millington said her aim is to increase the speed and convenience of technology at Waitrose for staff and customers, and that using cloud-based systems helps to do this.

“We want technology that isn’t just about the technology but that we can use to transform the culture as well. We wanted something that provided the basics and allowed us to collaborate and innovate together.”

She added: “It’s about sharing knowledge and information in a modern and innovative way that helps people communicate wherever they are.”