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Case Study

Seamless device refresh makes Morrisons IT estate fit for the future

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The Client

Morrisons is one of the UK’s leading food and grocery retailers. Originally established in Yorkshire, they now have over 500 sites across the UK, multiple online home delivery channels and serve millions of customers every year.

Morrisons source and process around half of their fresh food products from their own manufacturing facilities to maintain provenance and quality. With more than 106,000 staff, many of them highly skilled in preparing food in-store, Morrisons ensure customers have access to high-quality service and produce. Morrisons online delivery service covers the majority of the UK, with a long-held commitment to consistently lower prices for their customers.

Fresh produce

Key Facts

  • Leading UK food and grocery retailer
  • Provider of high-quality fresh food products
  • Over 500 sites and multiple online delivery channels

The Challenge

Morrisons needed to implement a hardware refresh programme to ensure its device estate was up to date, fully supported and providing the performance it needed to face the future with confidence.  With more than 500 sites encompassing retail, manufacturing, logistics and central functions, it was a hugely complex task. More than 10,000 devices needed to be upgraded where possible or replaced entirely and its success was deemed as mission critical by its Executive team. 

Critical success factors

  • Replace or upgrade unsupported Windows 7 devices 
  • Refresh 10,000-unit device estate across 500+ locations 
  • Project seen as ‘mission critical’ by Morrisons Executive
  • Reusing equipment where possible to ensure a sustainable approach throughout the project

The Solution

Given the complexity of the Morrisons device estate, Softcat brought in longstanding strategic services partner Greensafe to assist with the project. Aside from a strong track record of successful hardware rollouts and configuration, Greensafe is a familiar and trusted provider having worked on projects with Morrisons and Softcat previously.

Working closely with Morrisons project team, comprehensive site audits took place to define the project scope, enabling Softcat to provide an end-to-end solution. Softcat then established a centralised and secure hosting facility at Greensafe, where the team could configure and build replacement devices. The project involved replacing old devices where necessary and repurposing existing devices whenever possible, adding a sustainable angle to the project. 

Each device was configured to Morrisons exact specifications, with close attention paid to ensuring they would integrate seamlessly with Morrisons existing IT infrastructure and critical business processes. Working closely with Morrisons project team, Softcat and Greensafe ensured all upgraded devices were deployed across over 500 sites across the UK.

Hypercare support, to ensure application integrity and help users familiarise themselves with the new devices, was also provided for every user across every location. The device rollout was completed well before Microsoft’s deadline for end of support for Windows 7 and, as an added bonus, was finalised before Morrisons’ peak trading time at Christmas.

Colin Featherstone, Senior Technology Manager / Tech Sustainability Lead at Morrisons, said, “The tri-party agreement between Morrisons, Softcat and Greensafe was excellent and categorically underpinned the success of this project.

“From project managers to coordinators and engineers, all the way through to the executive sponsorship, by the end of the project the Softcat & Greensafe team members felt like Morrisons colleagues. They were genuinely passionate about meeting the timeline and ensuring the handover to our stores and sites was as seamless as possible.”

Solution highlights

  • End-to-end solution from initial scope to device deployment
  • Close collaboration with in-house teams to ensure seamless device integration
  • Extensive support provided to ensure project deadline achieved

The Benefits

Despite the challenging timeline, the project proved successful thanks to the close collaboration between all parties involved. Both Softcat and Greensafe brought extensive knowledge and expertise to the table and their willingness to proactively engage with Morrisons colleagues at all levels of the business proved critical. Every member of the team worked tirelessly to make sure the right resources were in place right up to the last day of deployment.

Working alongside project and technical leads, logistics and operations teams and the executive sponsors helped ensure a fit-for-purpose solution was secured in good time. With the migration from Windows 7 now complete, Morrisons has the added security of knowing their systems and devices are up to date and fit for the future.

Softcat, a signatory to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, worked hard to ensure the project focused on being as sustainable as possible. Over 3500 suitable existing devices were re-purposed and re-configured to upgrade from Windows 7. Any devices that were unsuitable for re-configuration were also recycled to ADISA standard. The following statistics are a measure of the strategy’s success:

  • 19,600kg of IT equipment recycled
  • 4,000,000kg of CO2 saved through device reuse
  • 10,000kg of CO2 saved through recycling

As Colin Featherstone points out, “The project has received a lot of recognition internally, including being awarded the Chief Information Officer’s  ‘Project of the Year,’ which is absolutely a shared accolade between Morrisons, Softcat and Greensafe.”

Benefits at a glance

  • Proactive engagement with multiple teams to ensure successful deployment
  • Future-ready device estate deployed within challenging timeline
  • Sustainable focus to recycle equipment, minimise waste and reduce carbon impact 

Why Softcat?

Softcat’s capacity to deliver large-scale technology projects is built on a foundation of broad technical know-how and strong relationships with leading strategic services partners like Greensafe. It takes a collaborative approach to individual engagements, ensuring the solutions it recommends will match client needs and deliver operational success, now and into the future.