Tesco has implemented ExpeTune performance management software from Macro 4 to manage its mainframe servers ahead of the Christmas sales peak.

It said it wanted to save money by boosting processing performance, and by improving processing power utilisation.

The UK’s largest supermarket chain is working with IT services firm CPT Global, which is consulting on the project.

Under the first phase, now complete, Tesco identified changes , systems and applications that could be made to improve processing throughput. CPT will now assess these changes for Tesco software developers to make the necessary changes.

John Westnedge, IT director at Tesco, said Tesco wanted to avoid “buying more processing power” in the run up to Christmas.

“Mainframe usage rises significantly at Christmas because of the volume of activity,” he said. “We run some core commercial applications on the mainframes, including ordering and distribution systems that drive our retail supply chain processes.”

These systems are crucial because they produce round-the-clock order and delivery calculations, to ensure stock is replenished in-store, he said.

Tesco wants to make performance “a standard part of our development cycle”, Westnedge said, so that any issues are ironed out early in development. “Our view is that in order to keep control of [mainframe processing power] utilisation we need to be writing efficient code from the start and the Macro 4 solution will help us to do this,” he said.

Tesco is currently in the middle of programme, called Step Change, to improve its IT efficiency. In recent years, Tesco has invested heavily in IT across its operations. In the spring, it announced that its online food sales had rocketed 49 per cent higher in the last financial year, following extensive IT investment.

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