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    Sainsbury's IT Chief Hits Back

    London, United Kingdom -- Sainsbury's IT director said the retailer's computer systems are not to blame for the widely publicized problems with its supply chain.

    London, United Kingdom -- Sainsbury's IT director said the retailer's computer
    systems are not to blame for the widely publicized problems with its supply
    chain.

    The executive, Maggie Miller, said the $263 million write-off of technology
    assets announced last October was purely financial, and the company is
    continuing with its previous IT strategy.

    Speaking exclusively to VNU sister publication Computing, Miller defended the
    role of her department and partner Accenture in Sainsbury's recent supply chain
    problems. "If we had IT issues to the extent reported in the general press, then
    one would expect us to have a large remedial program in place," said Miller. "We
    haven't made any changes to our systems at all, because none was necessary."

    Miller says Sainsbury's has not decommissioned any systems as a result of last
    October's business review. She says the write-off related to system still in
    use, or not yet implemented.

    "We have not made any unplanned changes or modifications. Nor have we changed
    our remaining rollout plans for the IT platform," she said.

    Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King had cited IT problems as a factor in the
    company's recent poor performance. "Our supply chain systems and automated
    depots are not fully operational. And the IT systems that were built to back up
    that have not delivered," he said in October. But Miller said King was referring
    to systems outside the scope of the central IT
    platform.

    "There was a lot of talk about problems with supply chain systems," she said.
    "This referred to the warehouse control systems in the automated warehouses,
    which had always been outside the scope of the internal IT team and Accenture.

    "In November, the board asked that these systems be brought within [our] scope
    in order to improve their reliability. Our future rollout plans have not been
    changed and some of the new key directors are very pleased with the new
    systems."

    Miller is due to leave Sainsbury's at the end of March and will be succeeded by
    Angela Morrison, director of European strategy at Asda and formerly in charge of
    its IT.

    -- Miya Knights, Computing (a VNU Publication)

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