Business Value from IT
Dobbies is the second largest UK Garden Centre retailer, with stores across Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, established over 150 years ago.
The company is now owned by Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital, who have a strong appetite to develop and grow the business.
Prior to the current owners, Dobbies parent company was Tesco. During this period, we were asked to conduct a rapid current-state assessment of IT platforms and provide some high-level recommendations on investment strategy. Under the new owners, we were then challenged to provide an IT strategy for the next 5 years.
With serious growth in mind, Dobbies needed to know what platform strategy to adopt for IT that would enable significantly increasing business volumes, but would also drive efficiency and support a true “omni-channel ecosystem”. As part of their wider new business plan, Dobbies needed clarity on likely IT systems investments.
Working with the CIO we conducted interviews with the CEO, the Board and all of the key executives and managers throughout the business. We identified their key business drivers and existing issues, and then identified the key business processes. Each of these was mapped and documented, highlighting a fundamental issue with lack of core systems in many operational processes and identifying major opportunities for automation and efficiency. We then built an architectural plan with building blocks to be supported by future systems, and identified likely solutions from the marketplace.
The strategy was grounded in a plan for migration from current-state to future-state, with order-of-magnitude benefits and indicative costs by programme; covering every area of investment – from in-store systems, loyalty, ERP, digital platforms, business intelligence, data warehouse, integration to infrastructure.
The strategy was developed and discussed with the investors, executives and stakeholders throughout the process, and finally concluded in a full Board presentation. The business case explained the costs and how the proposed investments would enable growth; drive significant cost savings and efficiencies; deliver effective information and business intelligence; provide new loyalty and digital engagement platforms; and future-proof the business.
Virtrium have proved their value to us through assessing our IT platforms, reviewing business processes, and creating a strategic platform plan to enable the business to move forwards. We are now integrating that plan into a business plan to carry us through the next 5 years.
Lorne de St Croix, CIO