Shop Direct extends partnership with IBM Cloud to accelerate digital transformation

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IBM thas signed a 10-year, large-scale services agreement with Shop Direct to move the multi-brand digital retailer to a hybrid cloud model to increase flexibility and quickly respond to changes in demand as it grows. IBM’s cloud will underpin the delivery of a suite of analytics, mobile, social and security offerings that will enable Shop Direct to improve its customers’ online shopping experience while empowering its workforce to collaborate more easily and improve productivity.


With a number of digital department stores including £800m flagship brand, Very.co.uk, Shop Direct is one of the UK’s largest online retailers, delivering more than 48 million products a year and welcoming over a million daily visitors across a variety of online and mobile platforms. The company’s 4,000 employees work with a diverse network of partners and vendors to provide its customers with a seamless shopping experience – from online browsing to point-of-purchase to delivery.

IBM will deliver services utilizing a range of technology platforms that enable Shop Direct to continue building its leadership in a digital and mobile world. The agreement focuses on improving the company’s customer experience in two distinct areas.

First, the use of a hybrid cloud infrastructure will provide capacity on demand so that Shop Direct can react to market changes quickly and support digital initiatives for its strategic agenda, such as an ever easier and more personalized customer experience. Secondly, IBM will provide new, enhanced end user services for Shop Direct employees and partners across a broad range of devices to improve satisfaction as well as productivity aligned to key business processes such as order taking and fulfilment. These end user services include new desktops and laptops along with secure mobile device management and support for tablets and smartphones to support a mobile workforce.

“As the UK and Ireland’s leading multi-brand digital retailer, we’re looking to tap IBM’s cloud computing expertise to allow us to innovate and add value to both the experience we deliver to customers and the working experience we offer our people,” said Andy Wolfe, Shop Direct CIO.

The new cloud platform enables Shop Direct to evolve and improve customer service by being better prepared to tackle challenges such as high site traffic on Black Friday. IBM teams will work as part of Shop Direct’s IT organisation to deliver high availability management and ensure resilience of platforms and applications. Over the next ten years, IBM Cloud will provide Shop Direct with a more efficient and cost-effective service. As more of their applications leverage IBM’s cloud computing, the company will be able to respond quickly to change through peak periods so that it can meet the growing demands of its customers. The hybrid cloud model will enable Shop Direct to seamlessly scale to support peaks in demand when online traffic spikes, while only paying for the infrastructure that it needs.

The new agreement between IBM and Shop Direct reacts to the shifting demands in a mobile connected, cloud enabled world. SoftLayer, IBM’s cloud infrastructure platform, will provide an enterprise strength computing platform with managed services from IBM Global Technology Services integrated with dedicated high availability systems. MaaS360 from Fiberlink will underpin mobile productivity to enable secure access for Apple and Android devices.

“This announcement is a significant milestone in the deployment of enterprise cloud and extends IBM’s position as the premier global cloud platform,” said Tony Morgan, client chief innovation officer strategic outsourcing Europe. “Our secure, open enterprise cloud platform will enable Shop Direct to quickly deliver new innovations to its customers and staff and continue to build its leadership as a digital retailer.”