Tesco has signed an eight year contract with Microsoft, covering desktop and data centre software to support its offices, stores and distribution centres.
The deal will see Microsoft provide systems including Windows, Office, SharePoint, Exchange, Lync, System Center, BizTalk and SQL Server.The contract covers Tesco operations globally, including its much-publicised Fresh & Easy chain in the US. It also covers non-food businesses such as banking and mobile phone services.
It also allows Tesco to access Microsoft Services' Enterprise Strategy programme, aimed at helping the supermarket set its strategy, and prioritise and deliver projects.
Tesco said it hopes that with the systems it will improve productivity, decision-making, knowledge sharing and operational processes across its 14 national markets, as well as helping it deliver on its online strategy.
For many years, Tesco has been branded an IT innovator pioneering advanced queuing monitoring and stock control, but recently it experienced major problems on its Tesco Bank website during a system migration, locking out customers. It also said it had had trouble at times encouraging a truly innovative culture across its business.
The supermarket chain, the UK's largest, expects to start by deploying SharePoint, Exchange and Lync to create a new global collaboration platform. The aims are to allow all employees to find specialist skills and share knowledge, in order to help new international subsidiaries adopt best practice; to facilitate product innovation with internal experts and suppliers; and to build communities of expertise.
Mike McNamara, group chief information officer at the supermarket, said there were "lots" of staff "doing lots of jobs all over the world".
"These technologies can help bring us together to share learning and expertise, views and opinions, thoughts and ideas."