Helping a leading UK retailer to deliver its biggest ever single change initiative

| minute read

Enabling consistency and cost reduction with fine-tuned and standardised processes, through the implementation of the Oracle Retail Merchandising System.

Key points

  • Global Finance Transformation Programme
  • End-to-end retail Oracle solution
  • Agile model enabling delivery across two regions
  • Delivering a single source of truth through integrated data flows

The challenge

Sopra Steria’s client is a leading UK retailer that also has international business operations across Asia and Central Europe. Its Finance Team has embarked on what the retailer describes as ‘arguably the biggest single change initiative’ Finance has ever undertaken. The Global Finance Transformation Programme is ranked by the company’s executive board as the No 1 business priority for 2018. Its aim is to reduce operating costs by fine-tuning and standardising key processes and using integrated standard software applications to improve invoice matching/supplier payment.

A key element of this transformation specified by the executive board is the replacement of the legacy and non-supported systems underpinning Finance operations. In their place, the retailer is implementing the Oracle Retail Merchandising System. This will greatly improve the processes and workflow activities for invoice matching and stock ledger into the retailer’s International Business (Asia and Central Europe). Further, the removal of legacy financial solutions will simplify IT support for the company’s streamlined global systems.

Our solution

As a long-term strategic partner to the retailer, Sopra Steria is playing a key role in delivering the Finance Transformation Programme. Our role includes the provision of project planning and consulting services to implement the Oracle Retail Merchandising System (ORMS). This replaces the legacy systems, off system spreadsheets and databases, while reducing the need for manual adjustments.

Working closely with the retailer’s own Technology team, Sopra Steria began by planning and understanding the requirements of the company’s International Business units. The complete solution (deployed in two phases) incorporates:

  • Replacement of two stock ledger systems (for the International Business)
  • Implementation of the integrated ORMS to automate manual tasks, replacing the work performed by administrators in Asia and Central Europe
  • End-to-end cycle of requirements gathering, testing and training users on the system.

In the first deployment phase, Sopra Steria implemented a Financial Valuation Product to both geographic territories: Asia in November 2017, with the final aspects of the solution to be implemented later in 2018; and Central Europe during February 2018. The second phase entails a full business implementation/ roll out, giving end users complete access to all applications. This phase will be completed in 2018/19.

How we work together

Sopra Steria has been providing IT services to the retailer for more than 30 years. This long-standing relationship ensured there was a solid understanding of the retailer’s client’s business processes and requirements. We worked (and continue to work) with both the company’s International Group Finance function and its Technology team.

Careful planning of project personnel, resources, conference calls, meetings and training was required to manage the parallel project timescales for Asia (Thailand, Malaysia) and Central Europe (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia) across multiple locations and time zones.

Sopra Steria adopted a distributed Agile Delivery Model to the two geographic transitions from legacy to the new solution, working through 2-week scrum cycles. We were also responsible for:

  • Programme Management
  • User Acceptance Testing Management
  • Training
  • Live Cutover Management.

Our wholly collaborative engagement model ensured seamless connectivity with the retailer’s own teams and 3rd party suppliers, including Oracle, to keep the project on track.

Results and benefits

Sopra Steria has maintained a focus on optimising current processes so that the retailer can reduce unnecessary overhead costs. This is improving the company’s current financial position, which increases its ability to outperform the market in a highly competitive retail segment.

We successfully delivered Phase 1, implementing the Oracle Retail Merchandising Stock Ledger solution to achieve Weighted Average Cost valuation of stock in the Asia and Central Europe territories by the financial year-end in February 2018. This meets International Accounting standards and those required by the company’s auditors.

Other results and benefits delivered in Phase 1 (Financial Valuation Product):

  • Transition from a legacy unsupported system to a supported COTS package (Oracle Retail Merchandising)
  • Removed issue of unsupported product versions – applications are now on a stable platform
  • Enabled the process of decommissioning legacy systems
  • Provided resource augmentation for specialist skills as required to maintain project momentum.

Phase 2 is under way, on completion of which we will have delivered full integration to the retailer’s financial systems. This transformation will deliver key business objectives, including a group best practice for stock accounting, along with a standard invoice processing solution and consistent ways of working. A review of end-to-end processes will enable the retailer to drive operational improvements, supported by a consolidated set of reports. Our client will benefit from single source of truth through standardised data flows; and a global solution for managing commercial income. Further, the solution will enable data to flow properly between Oracle systems (Retail and Fusion) governing, for example, Matching Invoice and Pay Invoice processes. Finally, by removing legacy financial solutions, the retailer will simplify IT support for its streamlined global systems.




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