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John Lewis and Waitrose move to cloud with Google

By Retail Technology | Friday April 4 2014

Partnership retailer adopts cloud collaboration tools to digitally transform business, improve the customer journey and save running costs

John Lewis and Waitrose were this week revealed as the newest major UK retailers to adopt the cloud-based productivity package, Google Apps, with around 30,000 users each. 

Google Apps provide a platform for employees to share and manage information such as rotas and get real-time updates to improve efficiency and customer service. As well as email and sharing procedural instructions, John Lewis said it has used Google Apps to facilitate communication around the department store’s strategic direction and overall vision for the business. 

The collaborative and social nature of Google Apps means that partners, as all employees within the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) are known, can share ideas and suggest ways to improve the business and work environment. This will also help the business to adapt more quickly to the needs of its customers. 

Introducing flexible information access

Paul Coby, John Lewis chief information officer, stated: “Superior customer service is a cornerstone of John Lewis, but traditionally retail operational and procedural information has been in a paper-based format. This is difficult to access when partners are on the shopfloor. 

“We rolled out Google Apps for the Retail Support platform to 30,000 employees in just six weeks, enabling them to access and manage information on the go, in real time and on any device.” 

Cheryl Millington, Waitrose chief executive officer, added: “We’re just at the start of our Google journey but already apps are making it easier to communicate, collaborate and share ideas, as well as improving business processes."

Benefitting from cloud collaboration

Mark Van Der Linden, UK country director for Google Enterprise, commented that retailers in the UK are grasping the power of cloud collaboration tools to improve mobility, transform the way they work and reduce running costs. 

“Good ideas can come from anywhere, at any time so it’s imperative that all employees have a platform to collaborate and share ideas because internal business transformation can also lead to improvements for customers.” 

The John Lewis and Waitrose announcements were made at Atmosphere London, Google’s annual conference, which explores how cultural change and technological advances are reshaping the way people work.

They join a number of retailers who have adopted Google’s enterprise collaboration suite, including Ocado, Specsavers and EAT.

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