The Warehouse Group is moving its IT systems to IBM's cloud as part of its digital transformation programme.
The Group has selected IBM Cloud to host its core mission-critical IT systems locally, including customer facing apps, the main website, point of sales systems, inventory and financial systems, it said today.
Chief information officer and chief digital officer, Timothy Kasbe, said the cloud move, signalled in September, is part of an infrastructure modernisation to enhance the customer experience both in-store and online.
“Shopping with us increasingly involves a digital component, such as online shopping using our site or app, browsing on a mobile device while in-store, or click and collect,” he said.
“To be able to keep pace with customer expectations, we need fast and reliable systems that are flexible enough to integrate new mobile-based services."
The cloud shift will take place early in the new year and will be matched with process changes to ultimately deliver an enhanced experience for customers to engage from anywhere, at any time and through any device, he said.
"IBM Cloud gives us flexibility, security and performance, while hosting our customer facing apps locally allows us to keep control of our proprietary data and utilise renewable energy," he added.
The group operates The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and Torpedo7 brands. All will operate on the same infrastructure, consolidating from ten multivendor data centres to two.
The migration will also make it easier and more cost effective to manage the group's IT infrastructure through a single dashboard provided as part of IBM's managed cloud service.
Mike Smith, managing director of IBM New Zealand said moving to the cloud will improve the group's IT system reliability and speed, enabling The Warehouse Group to become mobile-first so that customers can buy whatever they want on any device.
Last month, The Warehouse Group chair Joan Withers told investors at the company's annual general meeting that the falling share price - from $3.00 to $2.10 over the last year - was driven in part by the arrival of Amazon and was a "serious concern for the board".
"Part of the decline relates to the sector, and the fact that with the announcement of Amazon’s arrival in Australia, retail shares in the region have suffered losses in value," Withers said.
"Over $2 billion was wiped off the value of ASX listed retailers in the month following Amazon’s announcement it was bringing its retail offer to Australia."
Retailers who have done little to change their business models to engage customers in the digital era were right to fear the arrival of Amazon, she said. Business as usual or incremental change was not an option.