Leading distributor of groceries and fast-moving consumer goods, Metcash SA, has signed a groundbreaking multimillion-rand, five-year ICT outsourcing agreement in order to significantly reduce total cost of ownership, realise numerous cost savings and further optimise its operations. Metcash retains its IT development team for internal software development, while its central infrastructure has been outsourced to Comparex Africa and its wide area network (WAN) services to Telkom Corporate Services.

"Now we can focus on our core business and reduce business risk by leveraging the professional ICT services and competencies of Telkom CS and Comparex Africa," says Nick Parsons of Metcash SA. Following a due diligence process (part of Comparex Africa’s innovative outsourcing methodology) arising from an invitation by Metcash SA, which ended in December last year, Metcash now receives a world-class hosting service, a fully secured hosting site, Intel server maintenance and the backup and support of the full Comparex Africa operations and networking teams.

The company now also enjoys a complete managed Telkom IVPN WAN solution with redundancy in terms of bandwidth, and guaranteed WAN service level agreements (SLAs) with penalties, including router maintenance. The deal follows a groundbreaking ‘coopetition’ agreement, a term coined by Novell founder Ray Noorda to describe a business co-operating with its competitor, between the two ICT services providers Comparex Africa and Telkom.

"Comparex Africa and Telkom CS were able to win the deal by offering a comprehensive solution to Metcash’s outsourcing needs," says Johan Coetzee, Comparex Africa Business Executive. He adds: "Comparex Africa has an impeccable outsourcing record: because of our excellent methodologies and processes and careful management of relationships, we have never experienced an outsourcing contract cancellation."

On whether the ICT solutions provider overcame any major challenges, Coetzee says: "By involving affected Metcash staff in defining SLAs and clarifying roles and responsibilities from the outset, both we and Metcash ensured that any concerns or issues were addressed timeously. This also helped overcome any possible resistance to be expected in deals this size."

Metcash includes Cash & Carry stores, Trade Centres, liquor stores, regional distribution centres (which service petrol stations, convenience stores and independent supermarkets and its Friendly franchise operations), Stax, Capital Tobacco, Unitrade Management Services and is also in the process of obtaining the Seven Eleven stores.

IT Web