Debenhams awards IT contract to BT

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Debenhams has awarded a five-year IT contract to BT, which is designed to transform the high street retailer’s data network and upgrade it onto BT’s high-speed 21CN software-driven network.

BT Global Services will upgrade Debenhams’ computer networks, which connect 159 stores across the UK and Ireland, distribution centres and data centres. The network will transmit sales and stock order details from Debenhams’ stores to its head office and supply chain centres around the UK. According to BT, it will be up to 16 times faster, allowing the retailer to roll-out new computer applications, communicate faster and gain longer term business benefits from the new platform.

As well as upgrading the retailer’s wide area network (WAN), BT will provide network management tools, which will monitor systems to help ensure links to Debenhams’ tills, supply chain systems and transactional database are always running. It will also identify any areas of the computer network performing poorly, so they can be fixed quickly.

Steve Kircher, IT director, at Debenhams, said: “It’s a fundamental requirement for retailers to have IT systems that are always available – transmitting vital sales, transactions and information around the business.

“By future-proofing and closely monitoring our IT networks, Debenhams will not only be able to communicate faster and more efficiently, we will also be able to stay ahead of competition and be ready to roll-out new applications in line with business requirements.”

In addition, Debenhams will use the managed security monitoring service, BT Counterpane, drawing on BT’s security experts and surveillance technology to stay ahead of any software vulnerabilities, threats and malicious attacks the company may face.

Diane McAuliffe, director of retail & professional services, BT Global Services, said: “We’re thrilled Debenhams has chosen BT. This is a landmark project that will transform Debenhams’ business critical IT systems, which we hope will allow them to steal a march on the competition, future-proof systems for the coming years, whilst delivering cost savings to the business.”

BT will overhaul the network at Debenhams stores, warehouses and data centres over the coming months to ensure the new systems are all in place ahead of the busy Christmas trading period.