How Specsavers is setting its sights on global IT

Specsavers' European IT director Karl de Bruijn on Google Apps, open source and mobile working

...tailor the platform to the needs of each region in terms of financial and retail regulations, and the organisation will develop a template to deploy the technology effectively in 18 months.

The company aims to complete the rollout of the ERP and warehousing tech within three years, bringing the technology refresh project to its conclusion.

"At the moment, the refresh of these core applications is our key work for the next year and will be our focus," de Bruijn said.

Recently completed projects have included the opening of a new datacentre in Guernsey, which boosted the companies computing resources considerably.

When developing the datacentre, the company was conscious of environmental considerations: "Looking at the power usage and the greenness of our datacentre was a key aspect of building a new datacentre," de Bruijn said.

Specsavers tested Google Apps at its manufacturing facility in Hungary, above, before rolling it out more widely

Specsavers tested Google Apps at its manufacturing facility in Hungary, above, before rolling it out more widely
(Photo credit: Specsavers)

The extensive use of virtualisation and other technologies has reduced power consumption and carbon emissions compared with the previous facility.

Tech challenges at Specsavers

De Bruijn said one of the main challenges in the coming year will be to maintain a "business as usual" working environment while carrying out these significant technology changes in the background.

More generally, the pace of technology innovation is something he needs to deal with as IT director: "There's quite a bit of innovation in the technology market at the moment and a key strategy for us is to work out how we can use that most effectively in our environment."

Filtering new technology for approaches that will actually benefit the business is something else a good IT director needs to be able to do, according to de Bruijn. Performing this role effectively will mean organisations don't adopt technology that will offer little or no benefit.

"I think it's really how to bring a lot of the technology innovation that has come about over the past years and bring that back into an organisation in terms of what is going to benefit the organisation, which is going to drive value and productivity in an organisation and which is bleeding-edge technology that's maybe not appropriate at this time," de Bruijn said.

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