Supermarket chain Asda has signed a deal with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to help it remove legacy systems from its former parent company Walmart and implement a new cloud-first digital infrastructure. The digital transformation project comes two years after the British retailer was sold by Walmart to TDR Capital and the Issa Brothers, and sees Asda’s new systems built from the ground up with no legacy technology.
It isn’t clear how much of the project, which has a total budget of £189m has gone to TCS, but the Indian ITSP will lead the multi-year digital transformation, implement a new organisation-wide IT operating model and oversee the final removal of legacy Walmart infrastructure.
Named Project Future, it comes at the end of the three-year transitional period TDR Capital agreed with Walmart. Instead of signing an ongoing agreement or partnering with another retail service provider, Asda opted to create a new system.
Writing in its annual report last year, Asda leadership said the lack of legacy systems would provide a “significant competitive advantage, deliver operating efficiencies, enable better use of data, and agility in taking on growth opportunities and in responding to customers’ needs”.
It will include the use of the TCS cloud, AI and security solutions and see a new digital core built and implemented by the ITSP. This will involve a multi-cloud ERP platform that it claims will streamline supply chain forecasting. It is also expected to improve buying and merchandising processes, warehouse management and e-commerce.
The company says the work will enable Asda to transition smoothly, on time and to do so in a secure way. Once the transition is complete, TCS will work with Asda to further enhance its customer experience and innovation capabilities.
Asda plans AI and cloud rollout
Asda’s new digital core will be built on the TCS Machine First Delivery Model, which includes automation functionality. This will allow Asda to automate more of its IT operations and provide a resilient back-end system.
“We will leverage the power of data and AI, and deliver innovative, industry-leading retail technology solutions to transform their core retail operations, employee experience, supply chain and create opportunities for new business models,” said Abhijit Niyogi, business head of retail for UK and Europe at TCS.
Asda CEO Mohsin Issa said there is a long-term ambition to grow Asda by bringing in its heritage and “price leader” position, and technology will be central to delivering the vision. “We have partnered with TCS because they bring experience in retail technology transformation and innovation. We look forward to working with them to accelerate our digital transformation journey and to unlock the potential of our business,” he added.
Carl Dawson, chief digital and technology officer at Asda, added that the collaboration would help them deliver such a large and significant digital transformation. “We are in the process of reimagining retail,” he said. “TCS is going to bring together the cutting-edged technologies and help Asda employees and customers have a seamless experience.”