Three-quarters of big UK retailers plan major software projects, despite the bugs

Almost three-quarters of large UK retailers have a major software project in the pipeline, according to research, signalling an end to tech investment slowdowns as a result of the recession.

Software performance firm Original Software commissioned research among 42 multiple retailers in the UK, with combined sales of £147 billion across 29,000 stores. The research found that 71 percent of companies were planning major software projects, with ERP implementations and upgrades the most common - with a third (33 percent) of retailers with projects in this area.

Joint second in big software investment came e-commerce and store systems replacements and upgrades, with each area enticing 26 percent of retailers. Supply chain projects came in third with 24 percent of retailers.

When upgrading systems, 69 percent of retailers said they suffered from bugs, with e-commerce systems singularly the most problematic, with 14 percent saying they have problems with bugs - a serious problem when the website is now central to any major retailer.

The next most serious bug offenders were in business intelligence, logistics/supply chain and store systems, with six percent of retailers reporting problems with each. And 32 percent experienced “other problems", with many of these connected to components of ERP systems.

Colin Armitage, CEO of Original Software, said: “Since the financial crash many retailers have been reluctant to invest in IT, even as they witnessed burgeoning online spending and the relative slow down on the high street.

"However, incentivised by the creation of a multi-channel business model, many retailers need instant visibility of stock, sales and customers in all channels, and new technology will help them achieve that. But tech investment of this nature is a risky undertaking and retailers have to be aware of the software glitches and bugs that can manifest themselves."

Halfords (pictured) is a retailer that has recently upgraded its SAP systems, and moved them to a private cloud managed by HP Helion.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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