Marks & Spencer

Digital transformation and cloud investment

Marks & Spencer has been progressing with its five-year digital transformation strategy as laid out in November 2017, launching its Technology Transformation Programme, implementing a new cloud-based supply chain portal and forming a strategic partnership with Microsoft. The retailer is planning a dramatic shift to digital, with 100 stores scheduled to close by 2022, and will need to become more streamlined and efficient to offset declining group sales.

Cloud investment: Implemented a new cloud-based portal with Logistics Reply, allowing incoming products to become instantly visible as they are dispatched by its suppliers. We expect the company to continue investing in cloud solutions that improve speed, efficiency and accuracy across its operations. The retailer currently uses a hybrid of infrastructure environments, including on-premise datacentres with VMware private cloud tools, shared colocation facilities, and public cloud services such as AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Data analytics: Hired a Head of Technology, Data in September to lead the development of analytics and BI tools. We expect the company to invest heavily in both data capture and data analytics tools next year so that it can intelligently determine which tech it should be investing in to maximise operational efficiencies.

Digital innovation: To ensure it is prepared for the future the company is planning to become a “digital first” retailer, on the bleeding-edge when it comes to innovative technology. In August it partnered with investment firm True, which will help drive its innovation agenda by providing access to 2,000 retail-specific tech providers every year. Additionally it has formed a tech startup accelerator in a joint venture with Founders Factory and partnered with Microsoft to test the capabilities of AI in a retail environment.

Revenue: £10.6bn

Number of employees: 84,900

Technology providers: TCS, IBM, AWS, VMware, Microsoft Azure

Financial year end: March 31st

New appointments this year:

Head of Technology, Data – Chris Waite

Head of Strategy & Architecture – James Halliwell

Other key contacts:

CIO – Carl Dawson

Head of IT Procurement – Rob Tyrell