Coles brings Accenture into Smarter Selling transformation

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Coles brings Accenture into Smarter Selling transformation

For SAP and Microsoft help, and an innovation lab.

Coles is expanding its relationship with Accenture via a new "long-term agreement" that covers works associated with the retailer's "Smarter Selling" transformation unveiled last month.

Smarter Selling will use a combination of new technology and job cuts to save the retailer $1 billion.

It covers "increased automation of manual tasks both in stores and in support functions, faster checkouts, using artificial intelligence for quicker and more accurate stock ordering as well as reducing energy use, and smarter planning in distribution centres to improve availability."

Accenture's role will be to help Coles adopt Microsoft technologies, to keep Coles' previously announced SAP deployment moving, implement other tech-related elements of the transformation, and find new ways to innovate.

Coles and Accenture have worked together for years.

A Coles statement on the deal said the expanded relationship will see Accenture “invest in a joint innovation fund focused on exploring new technology applications within Coles, including the creation of roadmaps that will ensure Coles’ digital capabilities keep pace with the company’s long-term strategy."

Earlier this month, Coles struck a "strategic partnership with Microsoft that could see more workloads transitioned to run in the vendor's Azure cloud.

"Accenture has delivered more than 35,000 Microsoft projects for more than 4000 clients around the world and has a global strategic relationship with Microsoft that will be leveraged to help Coles deliver simpler, more efficient, and robust operations," Coles said today.

The retailer is also in the process of deploying SAP S4/HANA, SAP Ariba for procurement and SAP SuccessFactors for HR - and is looking to Accenture to assist.

“Accenture is a leading business partner for SAP, and widely recognised for their expertise in implementing their solutions in large organisations," Coles chief information and digital officer Roger Sniezek said.

"Coles will be able to work with Accenture’s leading global experts to ensure that our innovation and digitalisation strategy is informed and accelerated by a wealth of experience.”

Accenture will also be asked to “support key digital and technology development initiatives at Coles including the modernisation of Coles’ supply chain" and online shopping experience with Witron and Ocado.

Coles CEO Steven Cain said the Accenture deal would ultimately enable Coles "to deliver the efficiencies we need for long-term sustainability, and provide the agility to respond to rapidly-evolving consumer needs."

"This is a vital part of Coles winning in its second century,” he said.

The value of the extended agreement with Accenture was not disclosed.

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