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Case study: Waitrose migrates from XP to Windows 7

Case study: Waitrose migrates from XP to Windows 7
Friday June 13 2014

As the sun set on Windows XP, the UK grocery chain upgraded its head office to more recent version of Windows OS

UK grocery chain Waitrose recently rolled out over 3,000 new Windows 7 devices at its head office to ensure a smooth transition from Windows XP.

Waitrose is the sixth largest grocery retailer in the country with over 300 stores in the UK. The company is a part of the John Lewis Partnership, where its employees are co-owners of the organisation.

The large-scale transition was handled with the help of IT service provider Computacenter, which managed the logistics of the project and migrated users from an onsite configuration room with no more than 10 minutes downtime to users. 

The project was started in April 2013 and completed in December 2013.

Business challenge

The majority of Waitrose’ key business functions - including marketing, store design, property management and customer service - are run from its head office in Bracknell, Berkshire.

The retailer needed to ensure employees based at the site were equipped with the latest technologies.

The retailer’s existing IT environment was largely based on Windows XP. With Microsoft ending support for the operating system in April 2014, Waitrose was keen to upgrade to a newer platform not only to improve productivity, but also to reduce risk and cost.

“Retaining paid support from Microsoft for Windows XP would have been really costly,” said Lisa Smith, Project Manager at Waitrose. “But the risk of running an unsupported platform was also high, with the security threats increasing every month without patches or updates.”

More flexible mobile working

“Mobility, flexible working and employee expectations are all changing the requirements for workplace IT,” said Smith. “To safeguard Partner satisfaction and productivity, we need an IT environment that is fit for today’s workstyles.”

The updated and standardised platform has enabled Waitrose to simplify IT support and eliminate the risks and costs of running an unsupported operating system. In addition, 23% more employees can now work more flexibly with laptops instead of desktops.

Standardising the workplace 

As well as upgrading the operating system, Waitrose took the opportunity to standardise its workplace hardware, rationalise its applications and upgrade to Microsoft Office 2007.
 
The retailer selected two desktop and three laptop models from Lenovo as standard, chosen as lightweight high spec laptops with larger screens.

Employees had some choice over their device depending on their job role, with higher specification desktops for developers and IT support staff and higher specification laptops for mobile workers using high-performance applications.

Waitrose commented that the devices offer better performance for certain applications. “Employees designing stores in particular can process complicated drawings and plans faster with the 64-bit operating system. “
 
Recycling legagy hardware

Computacenter handled the migration of over 3,000 users across a five-building campus in an onsite room set-up to configure the devices and migrate data. The company provided floor-walking services to help employees adjust to the new operating system. 

It also arranged for the legacy hardware to be remarketed and recycled by its specialist subsidiary, RDC, following a five-day quarantine period to ensure there were no data issues. “Working with RDC to remarket and recycle the hardware meant we got a good return on devices that weren’t quite end-of-life,” said Smith.

John Lewis and Waitrose were recently revealed as the latest major UK retailers to adopt the cloud-based productivity package, Google Apps, with around 30,000 users each. 

Tagged as: Waitrose | John Lewis | Windows XP | Windows 7 | migration | mobile | IT | Google Apps | Lenovo | Computacenter