Transforming IT at Sainsbury's

Wednesday 31 October 2012

BCS London Office, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA


BCS ELITE is delighted to announce: Rob Fraser, IT Director and member of the operational board at Sainsbury’s and winner of the UK IT Industry Awards 2011, CIO of the Year, will be presenting at this meeting.

Rob was awarded “CIO of the Year” in recognition of the business transformation he has completed during his stewardship of Sainsbury’s 500-strong IT department. For him, his success comes down to the quality of his colleagues. He was quoted by Computer Weekly as saying: “our people are in-tune with the business and are best-placed to design the future” and “the technology planning frontier is all about helping the business evaluate opportunities”.

Before joining Sainsbury’s he was a Vice President at CSC and prior to that he was Group IT Director at Boots the Chemist (with a £1B IBM deal).

In 2005, Sainsbury’s cancelled its £1.7B outsourcing deal with Accenture even though it had five years left to run. Rob’s view is that: “IT capability is too important to leave to someone else” “Those big 10-year outsourcing deals were a very late 1990s, early 2000s thing. We did one, Boots did one, but most people came away with the feeling they were not quite working.”

As for the future, responding to customer needs rather than following competitors is key to Rob's strategic thinking. “We wouldn’t do a thing because Tesco or Morrisons has got a thing. We absolutely look for opportunities internally or where we want to stretch the business and what makes sense to put in place,” he says.

“I tend to think about technology from the point of view of what grabs customers and what will make our colleagues more efficient.”