Shop Direct and IBM to put retailer's financial services in the cloud

Online retail group Shop Direct is working to offer its customers a broader range of personalised financial services products, as part of a new tech infrastructure deal with IBM.

Part of the Very and Littlewoods owner's £50 million personalisation programme, the new arrangement with IBM will help Shop Direct Financial Services evolve its credit offerings, as well as include more options for its customers to self-serve. The project will also see Shop Direct's financial systems separated from the retail systems, resulting in a new financial platform on IBM's hybrid cloud. 

Shop Direct expects to bring together applications and data from public and private clouds and across multiple sources so it can deliver a range of flexible credit product offers that meet its customers' needs, respond quickly to new offers that come into the market and launch new credit offerings faster and at more competitive prices.

It comes a year after Shop Direct revealed that it had signed a ten-year, large-scale services agreement with IBM to move multiple operations to a hybrid cloud model, with the aim of increasing flexibility and helping the business quickly respond to changes in customer demand as it continues to grow.

The deal involved IBM's cloud providing a platform for the delivery of a suite of analytics, mobile, social and security offerings aimed at smoothing out Shop Direct's customers' online experience and empowering the retailer's workforce to collaborate more effectively. Staff-related services included new desktops and laptops, as well as secure mobile device management and support for tablets and smartphones, in recognition of the company's increasingly mobile workforce.

Commenting on the latest IBM agreement, Shop Direct group CEO Alex Baldock said: "We already work closely with IBM in areas such as data security and the way we personalise the retail shopping journey.

"This deal will broaden that relationship as we work with IBM to give Shop Direct groundbreaking capabilities to use our unique understanding and relationship with our customers to offer financial services products tailored to them."

Shop Direct also said the new financial platform will enable quicker responsiveness to regulatory changes, while reducing the cost to serve as Shop Direct will only pay for what it uses.

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