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Wednesday, 10 June 2020 05:15

UK grocery giant Iceland Foods contracts Australia’s Wardy IT for data systems overhaul Featured

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UK grocery brands, Iceland Foods, has contracted Australian-based WARDY IT Solutions to migrate its 20-year-old legacy data system onto a new and more agile data platform.

Wardy IT - which was originally approached on referral by Microsoft UK - says Iceland Foods has implemented Microsoft Azure Synapse from the existing Teradata solution, which says it has opened the door to new alternative options for managing a modern data warehouse,” the likes of which had previously not been available to them”.

“Moving from such an established system to a brand new, revolutionary platform was definitely daunting because there are some unknowns.” Mr Phil Oldfield, Database Administrator at Iceland Foods said.

“The old platform was difficult for new staff to understand and access and posed a challenge for recruitment. A lot of our staff had experience working with Microsoft products, so Microsoft seemed like a possible option.”

Iceland Foods employs over 23,000 in some 900 stores throughout the UK, 40 owned or franchised stores in Europe, and operates a global export business.

General Manager of WARDY IT Solutions, Peter Ward, said the dilemma faced by Iceland Foods is not an isolated one, with busineses sighting an increase of well-established organisations recognising that a technology overhaul of their data estate has become unavoidable.

“Iceland Foods’ previous data estate had been in place for over two decades and, in addition to systematic improvements, the organisation could not tap into the evolutions of Cloud technology and advanced analytics during that time. They knew they required increased agility of the data platform in order to drive more value from the data but the perceived risks and downtime kept pushing the process to the back-burner,” he said.

“This is consistent with a number of organisations we have been working with, and we are definitely experiencing an acceleration of businesses coming to terms with the fact that their ageing data systems are simply not suitable to meet the demands of modern business practices. By delaying the upgrade, they are effectively holding their operations back from a myriad of opportunities that could improve the functionality and flexibility of their data. In the case of Iceland Foods this also translated to their bottom line.

“By creating a new modern data warehouse using Azure Synapse, WARDY IT Solutions was able to accelerate the company’s journey to the Cloud and enable advanced analytics capabilities. The modern data warehouse transformed Iceland Foods from an expensive capital expenditure model to a cost-effective operational expenditure model.”

According to Oldfield, “The WARDY IT Solutions team were able to demonstrate their skills very quickly. They reviewed elements of the estate and were quick to suggest improvements, changes and provide an overview. Other organisations we met with were much more reactive and did not have the strategic outlook that Peter and his team have.

“Our initial brief was to recreate the estate we had before, now we want to continue to leverage the platform to drive ongoing efficiency and greater customer insights.

“Moving from such an established system to a brand new, revolutionary platform was definitely daunting because there are some unknowns.

“The old platform was difficult for new staff to understand and access and posed a challenge for recruitment. A lot of our staff had experience working with Microsoft products, so Microsoft seemed like a possible option.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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