Infor has announced that Chausport has selected Infor CloudSuite Fashion to replace its legacy ERP software across France. Chausport is a wholly owned subsidiary of JD Sports PLC and operates 77 stores across France for the retail company. The decision to select Infor to replace its solution restarts a project that was halted in 2016. That project was with Oracle.
In 2012, JD Sports made the decision to replace its legacy core ERP system, including retail. The project was expected to last 3 years. They selected Oracle ERP and initially the project went well. In 2013 they went live on Oracle Financials. The intention was then to replace the retail ERP solutions across the group. Project Emporer as the it became known, would replace the core systems across the group with Oracle and new JD proprietary software. The cost of this project was significant. From spending £2.3 million in 2013 costs rose, £5.1 m in 2014 to £5.9 million in 2015, there were further costs in 2016 but these were not made clear.
While no doubt some aspects of the project were completed in 2016 the annual report stated: “ During the year, we took the decision to halt the project to replace the bespoke legacy core systems with Oracle Retail as we have concluded that the legacy systems can manage further growth and change in the Group with more agility and at a lower cost thus minimising the change risk to the business.”
Clearly JD Sports now feels it is time to look once again at completing the update of the legacy retail solutions. The announcement that they have selected Infor will come as a blow to Oracle, as it looks to push its own retail solution. They announced on the same day that ABC Fine Wine & Spirits has upgraded its solution across 130 stores.
The Infor team wins
Infor has sunk a lot of investment into its new retail solution. Chausport selected the solution because of its functionality and the ability to integrate across the companies other solutions that are not being replaced. This integration will be completed using Infor ION, part of the Infor OS that Charles Phillips revealed on stage at Inforum this year.
Infor were supported in the bidding process by HereWeGo Consulting, a retail management consulting company, based in France. The triumvirate was completed by Helant, a French Infor partner. Infor also delivered a commitment to be involved during the life of the project. It is something that they seem to do often. They are working closely with companies such as Triumph Motorcyles and Travis Perkins in the UK on their digital transformation projects.
While the integration features and project team was critical to winning the bid, it was the user interface that clinched the deal. Dominique Dambre, Project Sponsor at Chausport commented: “We were also convinced by the design of Infor CloudSuite Fashion’s user interface, which was critical for the adhesion to the project for our users, especially for the CRM part which had to cover all our sales channels.”
The project is phased. Perhaps another lesson learned from the failed Oracle project. The first phase will see the implementation of solutions across purchasing, warehouse, supply and the back office. No date was given for the omni channel retail solution but it will probably be another year after that. These may seem long timescale. However it is a complex project. One that will probably include process changes as well. While it is becoming possible to implement modern ERP solutions quickly. The benefits are only realised if processes are reviewed and updated.
So will the tail wag the dog
That Chausport has selected Infor after a bidding process is interesting for the wider organisation. JD Sports will watch this project closely. If it is a success Infor may also work with JD Sports on the other brands in the group. Whether they will replace the core ERP financials so soon again is another matter. They don’t need to as Infor is capable of the integration required, but this is a blow to Oracle nevertheless.
Dominique Dambre, Project Sponsor at Chausport, also commented: “We aim to move from being a multi-channel player to an omni-channel distributor, which requires us to opt for a single management platform with a centralized database. Among the solutions we evaluated, Infor was able to demonstrate to us that the Infor CloudSuite Fashion solution is able to cover all the essential functions from back and front office, and to integrate them while taking into account of our specialities.”
What does this mean
For Infor this is a significant victory as is looks to grow its retail business. While it has had success in the US with Crate and Barrel and Nordstrom, this is a significant win in Europe. For Oracle it is a blow. However, projects do go wrong. Every vendor has their share and there is no information about what caused the failure of the JD Sports project. Some companies are just not ready to transform their businesses. It is interesting that it is the French subsidiary that is leading the way at JD Sports. It may be that their management team is better prepared to transform their business.