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Sainsbury's IT Chief Hits Back

London, United Kingdom -- Sainsbury's IT director said the retailer's computer
systems are not to blame for the widely publicized problems with its supply

The executive, Maggie Miller, said the $263 million write-off of technology
assets announced last October was purely financial, and the company is
continuing with its previous IT strategy.

Speaking exclusively to VNU sister publication Computing, Miller defended the
role of her department and partner Accenture in Sainsbury's recent supply chain
problems. "If we had IT issues to the extent reported in the general press, then
one would expect us to have a large remedial program in place," said Miller. "We
haven't made any changes to our systems at all, because none was necessary."

Miller says Sainsbury's has not decommissioned any systems as a result of last
October's business review. She says the write-off related to system still in
use, or not yet implemented.

"We have not made any unplanned changes or modifications. Nor have we changed
our remaining rollout plans for the IT platform," she said.

Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King had cited IT problems as a factor in the
company's recent poor performance. "Our supply chain systems and automated
depots are not fully operational. And the IT systems that were built to back up
that have not delivered," he said in October. But Miller said King was referring
to systems outside the scope of the central IT

"There was a lot of talk about problems with supply chain systems," she said.
"This referred to the warehouse control systems in the automated warehouses,
which had always been outside the scope of the internal IT team and Accenture.

"In November, the board asked that these systems be brought within [our] scope
in order to improve their reliability. Our future rollout plans have not been
changed and some of the new key directors are very pleased with the new

Miller is due to leave Sainsbury's at the end of March and will be succeeded by
Angela Morrison, director of European strategy at Asda and formerly in charge of
its IT.

-- Miya Knights, Computing (a VNU Publication)
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