• Marks & Spencer has revealed a new Technology Transformation Programme as part of its efforts to transition to a digital first business.
  • Unveiled as part of the company's five-year transformation plan, the move is designed to create a more agile, faster and commercial technology function that will work with the business to deliver growth.
  • It will deliver annual efficiencies of GBP30m US$40.6m) by 2021/22, but will cost GBP25m to implement.
Unveiled as part of the companys five-year transformation plan, the Programme is designed to create a more agile, faster and commercial technology function that will work with the business to deliver growth

Unveiled as part of the company's five-year transformation plan, the Programme is designed to create a more agile, faster and commercial technology function that will work with the business to deliver growth

UK retail group Marks & Spencer has announced a new technology transformation initiative that will enable it to become a digital first business and deliver an improvement in customer experience – but will also lead to the consolidation of its technology supplier base.

Unveiled as part of the company's five-year Technology Transformation Programme, the move is designed to create a more agile, faster and commercial technology function that will work with the business to deliver growth.

According to M&S, the initiative will deliver annual efficiencies of GBP30m (US$40.6m) by 2021/22 and drive clearer accountabilities and a more customer-centric approach to technology services. However, the British retailer notes there is a one-off cost to implement of GBP25m.

"We are committed to transforming M&S for our colleagues, customers and shareholders by delivering digital-first retailing across our stores and offices," explains CEO Steve Rowe. "Technology plays a huge role in this transformation – and having the right partners and model will enable us to be more agile, flexible and responsive. Through our Technology Transformation Programme our business will be faster, simpler and more focused on achieving a seamless customer experience." 

The new changes will include:

  • The creation of a new Technology Operating Model, which will drive significant efficiencies in how M&S exploits new technology, including the adoption of industry agile methods, effective from 1 March 2018.
  • The appointment of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) – one of the world's leading technology companies – as M&S's principal technology partner.
  • A simplification and consolidation of M&S's technology supplier base. Core supplier services will transfer directly to TCS and the day-to-day relationship and project management of specialist suppliers will move under the control of TCS.

Meanwhile, as a result of the new Technology Operating Model, 250 existing M&S technology jobs will transfer to become TCS roles. M&S says that in the future it will retain a smaller, more technical and commercially focused technology team that will lead and drive technology to support the business.

The retailer is working on a wider restructuring plan to try to turn around its fortunes amid falling profits and a challenging market. In November it said it was undertaking a "significant" review of its cost base with the aim of generating a "substantial" reduction in legacy and structural costs.

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