This department is responsible for providing the IT infrastructure and support for the Group’s operations. The mission of the IT department is to add value to the Group through its people, practices and technology.
A significant milestone was achieved during the year with the rollout of the first phase of the new UCS retail furniture application to the 531 Ellerines/FurnCity and Town Talk South African branches in the Traditional Credit Retail division. This version of the application had been
substantially customised over the previous two years.
The system operates on the Wide Area Network and instore equipment infrastructure installed over the past year. As with any change initiative of this magnitude, the new system took some time to bed-down but is now fully operational.
The new application will be rolled out to the non-South African Ellerines stores early in the new calendar year.
The new system enhances operational efficiency by providing real-time updating and access to information. The automation of previously manual and paper-based tasks provides further improvements and efficiencies.
Customer service is enhanced through speedier creditgranting processes whilst improved scientific analysis of stock and sales will ensure better inventory management.
The merger with Relyant will pose significant challenges for the IT department over the next few years. Few business changes are achieved without impacting one or more IT systems and the IT department will have to simultaneously address:
- The ongoing support of both business entities during the merger process.
- The leveraging of the strengths of both systems infrastructures to achieve benefits for the merged entity.
- The merging of the organisation’s IT operations and platforms.
The new retail furniture application will provide an anchorpoint for this merger and assist with standardising and simplifying business operations.
The knowledge and experience of Allan Dickson, who heads up the department and will be fully responsible for achieving the systems integration, will be invaluable, as will the input from his dedicated and experienced team.