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Asda drives DevOps delivery strategy with new partnership

UK grocer Asda has announced a new partnership that it believes will help its staff to keep up with the latest industry trends, technologies and tools.

As part of a new DevOps delivery model within Asda’s tech team, HCL Technologies (HCL) has been brought in to help transform the supermarket group’s IT application services.

The move, which is part of a three-year contract, aims to allow the retailer to make better use of data, as well as improve the development, testing and support of back-office applications.

Under terms of the agreement HCL will also build a central data management platform to enable Asda to improve its insight and analytics capabilities.

Through modernising its current data platform and adopting a new DevOps operating model, Asda is seeking to break down silos between internal IT teams, increase visibility into the application lifecycle and ensure it can more quickly benefit from innovation across the business.

Phil Tenney, CIO of Asda, said: “As organisations embark on a digital transformation with technology increasingly driving the business, it’s critical that we have the agility to respond quickly to changing needs, particularly in capabilities such as data and analytics.”

He identified HCL as having the right cultural fit with the supermarket’s tech team, which he deemed important as the vendor’s employees will work “side-by-side” with Asda in the roll-out of the new DevOps delivery model.

Highlighting the challenges faced in today’s UK grocery market, Ashish Gupta, corporate vice president at HCL, commented: “Today’s grocery retail market is highly-competitive and the increasing trend towards online shopping and in-store digitalisation puts more pressure than ever on IT to accelerate innovation.”

Asda is working on a number of new tech initiatives; and, for example, has been an early retail adopter of voice-enabled technology.

Earlier this year it announced it was working with Google by joining up its online shopping with the tech titan’s Google Assistant on smartphones and Google Home. Customers with an Asda online grocery account can link it to Google assistant and add items to their eCommerce baskets through spoken command.

Tenney said at the time: “We’re always looking for ways that technology can make shopping with Asda easier and more convenient – and voice is another stage in that digital journey.”