Poundland - Case Study

By Core Newsroom

Migration to the cloud to allow rapid scalability with System Center without adding to existing IT costs

“Core was the only company that displayed knowledge and skills in all our requirements”
Matthew Sparks
Head of IT Services, Poundland

Company profile

Poundland is the UK’s leading value discount retailer, with over 500 stores in the UK and Ireland, selling more than 3000 products at £1 each. Since opening in 1990, the company has expanded to the Republic of Ireland and Spain and now employs more than 12,000 people, with around 500 people supporting the retail business at head and branch offices.


Poundland needed to scale their IT to meet the growing needs of the business, reduce administration time and increase responsiveness. They adopted Office 365 and System Centre to help them do that.

The challenge

Poundland’s systems were based in Windows XP, which was reaching its end of life. This needed to move to an operating system that would continue to be supported, patched and secure. This was a chance to view Poundland’s infrastructure on a holistic level. The company had relied on Lotus Notes and Novell Directory Services but wanted a new IT strategy that moved away from on-premises systems and used cloud-hosted IT services.

After considering several options, Poundland decided to replace Lotus Notes with Microsoft Office365, while Active Directory and System Centre would transform how the company ran and managed their infrastructure.

Core was the perfect partner to deliver this for Poundland.

The solution

Core’s consultants were brought in to handle the deployment and migration and assisted the in-house IT team in running the migration to ensure an effective knowledge transfer.

In less than a year, Poundland’s entire central office team had migrated, and the retail and distribution teams were well into the process. This was achieved despite an effective shutdown during October and December to allow the company to focus on Christmas sales.

Poundland have reported benefitting from Office 365’s impressive scalability. The company is growing rapidly and the Office 365/Active Directory/System Centre solution lets them scale their IT accordingly. The company’s 25-strong Hong Kong office is also supported by the same service deployment. Manual installs are a thing of the past, so new tools can be deployed quickly throughout the business.

Administration time has also been reduced. Poundland spent an estimated 180 working days compacting email to avoid storage quote issue before Core’s solution was implemented.

Most of all, the move to Office 365 and System Centre has helped Poundland become more agile, with team working together more easily.

With Core’s expertise at their disposal, Poundland have plans to deploy Lync and SharePoint across the business once the time is right.

Why choose Core?

Matthew Sparks, Head of IT Services, Poundland

“We looked at the challenges we had as a small IT service team supporting what is now a billion-pound business. When we looked at that we saw exciting opportunities.”

“For Poundland, and the kind of work we do, we’re very heavy, power-users of Excel. A lot of business processes are driven through it and embedded in applications or Macros. Having these new tools allows us to have centralised control and still manage a large estate. And we’re able to provision services remotely without having to drastically increase our headcount.”

“We’ve reduced the reliance on IT and we’ve reduced our workload, which is great. It allows us to flex on demand and focus on those projects where maybe we can’t outsource. Office 365 is helping our agility as a team and that’s a key thing for retailers. We need to be agile, we need to be able to change our model to flex with the needs of the business.”

“What really made Core pop out of the crowd was that they were the only company that displayed knowledge and skills in all our requirements. They could offer us a one-stop-shop. There have been no major incidents, no loss of service and no complaints. In fact, we we’ve been able to run this so efficiently we have project work days left over.”

“Core are quite willing to be flexible. I really like that in a supplier; where they’re willing to listen and willing to help you out.”


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