IT and procurement get closer at Arcadia

20 April 2011

20 April 2011 | Lindsay Clark

The ArcadiaGroup has appointed an IT procurement manager to build on the purchasing team’s successes in technology buying.

Andrew Pattinson has been hired to build on the significant savings the team has made on purchases of hardware, software and services after three years of serious engagement with the technology team.

Stephen Guy, procurement director of the retail group that owns brands including Topshop, Burtons and Dorothy Perkins, said up to around three years ago collaboration with IT was poor. The arrival of a new IT director presented an opportunity to find a better way for procurement to work on the 12 per cent of Arcadia’s £500 million addressable spend invested in IT.

As a first challenge procurement was given a contract renewal for servicing a legacy system – one that is ageing but essential to the business. Although there were only a small number of potential suppliers, purchasing still managed to achieve a 17 per cent saving. From here, the team was invited to contract renewal negotiations and started to build a better relationship with IT managers, which led to buyers working on higher profile work such as a till refresh.

Now procurement is involved with the majority of IT spending. So much so that the workload has become too much for an individual with other purchasing responsibilities, Guy said. Working with the IT director, he put together a proposal to recruit a full-time IT procurement manager.

“In the past three years we’ve gone from pretty much not talking to each other, to presenting a joint business case for a person to come into the company to work on our mutual behalves,” Guy said.

Pattinson will be working with the IT team on contract renewal, new contract negotiations, procurement review, and supplier rationalisation. He will be expected to go more deeply into the IT procurement process and build on savings already made, Guy said.  

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