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Western European Retailers Willing to Invest in a Single Information Model, New IDC Retail Insights Survey Reveals

(PresseBox) (Milan/Framingham, ) Responsiveness of the IT organization in delivering against customer-centric and business performance targets is a critical success factor for retailers now, according to a recently published survey report from IDC Retail Insights. Although cost containments and solid financial justifications for new IT investments rank high in the current IT agenda, reducing IT costs is a major issue, especially for small organizations across Western Europe as well as for U.K. retailers, the new research indicates. In turn, the main focus for approximately 1 out of 4 Western European retailers will be integrating IT systems and applications to achieve a single information model for the entire enterprise. In addition, more than 20% of retailers have planned investments during the course of 2009 in new strategic applications to improve their competitiveness.

"Reducing IT costs ranks high in the current retail IT agenda, but the IDC Retail Insights 2009 survey of 253 Western European retailers shows that not every retailer will just focus on costs," said Ivano Ortis, EMEA research director, IDC Retail Insights. "Twenty to twenty-five percent of retailers will in fact drive legacy migration, IT integration projects, and new investments in strategic customer-centric applications. Our recent survey results also show that IT investment directions will vary significantly by country and enterprise size class, with large retailers clearly driving short-term investments. Going forward, hosted enterprise IT systems and software as a service delivery options emerge as the preferred implementation choices for European merchants."

Custom-built enterprise IT systems are a reality for approximately 1 out of 4 Western European retailers - especially for ERP and retail-specific applications. IDC Retail Insights believes that in the current business environment, retailers will place increased emphasis on legacy migration - as reported by 1 out of 5 retailers - IT rationalization and consolidation programs. The modernization roadmap will encompass the IT infrastructure, back-office systems, and front-end applications including store systems and multi-channel selling platforms. European retail CIOs are turning more to IT outsourcing options - going forward hosted enterprise IT systems and software as a service delivery options emerge as the preferred implementation choices.

"In the short term, we find evidence of the fact that the hottest areas of investment focus will be CRM, ERP, content management systems and collaborative technologies," continued Mr. Ortis. "At least in Europe, retailers are not moving fast to be green, with a mere 1% of Western European retailers focusing on green IT and environmental-sustainability projects."

Concerns around customer data privacy and payment security are hot in the current agenda, signaling that retailers clearly identify brand reputation risks as major issues hampering customer-centric objectives. IDC Retail Insights believes this could potentially accelerate developments in related areas such as PCI (payment card industry) compliance.

This report, Technology Selection: Retail Enterprise IT Solutions Investment Directions, 2009 European Survey (Document # GIPW02R9), by Ivano Ortis and Alessandro Casoli, presents the key findings of IDC Retail Insights European Survey, carried out in April 2009 in the top 5 Western European countries among 253 retail companies with more than 20 employees. The purpose of this study is to understand the following: enterprise IT solutions adoption trends; implementation type of currently adopted enterprise IT solutions (packaged software, custom developed system, SaaS/hosted application service); short-term solution priorities and investment plans and; SaaS investment propensity. This study presents findings for enterprise IT solutions including:

- Supply chain management
- Collaborative technologies
- Business intelligence and analytics
- Security technologies
- Content management, document management technologies
- Industry specific applications

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