Super Retail Group overhauls IT model

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Super Retail Group overhauls IT model

Keeps one eye on outsourcing opportunities.

Super Retail Group is shifting its IT function onto a new operating model that is likely to involve some level of outsourcing in future.

General manager of the IS transformation, Wendie Lee, told the Gartner business process management summit in Sydney that IT - which supports about 12,000 "team members" nationwide - is being shifted to a plan/build/run organisational model.

The model has been popularised by consultancies such as McKinsey and Gartner as a way to break down silos and cut across technology domains.

"We're building a new operating model that has got some real building blocks for the future, but also is a bit more modular so that we can look in the future at what we can source differently where it makes sense," Lee said.

"Our challenge is doing that and keeping the lights on, continuing to deliver strategy and continuing to respond to the market."

IT presently ran operations and projects "together", which Lee said could be "a bit inefficient because we can't always have a [project] milestone because we may have a major incident that comes up or a major problem we need to resolve."

"So we made the decision to separate our functions out," she said.

Part of the new model involves an expansion of internal capability. 

"Our business is telling us to be more of a business partner and bring innovation to them, but we haven't had a real strong architecture capability to be able to do that," Lee said. "So we're adding architecture roles in terms of innovation and data architecture focused more on analytics.

"We're [also] adding capability around service integration so that we can actually move to more of an outsourced model over time, which is part of the transformation."

Lee said although the company had a "clear strategy around things we may consider outsourcing", there were some ongoing challenges in allaying internal concerns.

"I'm getting a sense the business is not quite sure where we're going to land with that decision, even though we've got a strategy," Lee said, noting she is presently working through outstanding risk concerns with the IS transformation project's steering committee.

Lee said the changes to IT were about ensuring Super Retail Group - which owns brands like Super Cheap Auto and Rebel Sports - could keep pace in a highly competitive retail environment.

"For us as a retailer we assessed what do we need to be able to deliver as an IT group to be a retailer of the future and for us to become more customer-centric as a retailer," she said.

"Our challenge is to be able to deliver solutions that need to be innovative and customer-focused, but also keep the lights on." 

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