Feb 4th
Unilever completed the implementation of a global supply chain and procurement systems based around its SAP ERP platform. The consumer goods giant, whose brands include PG Tips, Persil and Bertolli, said the SAP-based systems were contributing to €800m (£678m) of savings from procurement - alongside other major cost cutting - and were central to the future of its business operations.

Marks & Spencer poached the chief executive of Tesco's online operations, Laura Wade-Gery. By hiring her as executive director of multi-channel and e-commerce and placing her on the company's board, M&S hopes to drive forward its online sales. The company is targeting a doubling of its online revenues to between £800m and £1bn by 2014. Wade-Gery was chief executive of Tesco.com and Tesco Direct, and was promoted only last month to commercial director for clothing, electricals and general merchandise.

The Open University has adopted a competency framework, designed to help students choose course units that will teach them how to become a CIO. The framework, licenced from the CIO Executive Council, forms a learning plan to enable senior IT professionals to propel themselves from the datacentre to the board, according to OU executive director for IT and telecom Kevin Streater.

Tube Lines, which maintains London Underground trains, tracks and stations across three lines, signed a three-year outsourcing extension with Capgemini. Under the £10.5m deal, Capgemini will maintain Tube Lines' infrastructure and network. The extension of the deal also adds application services and service desk support for Tube Lines' 2500 office-based staff.

Nokia adopted Microsoft's Windows Phone as its primary smartphone platform. The companies will also partner on mobile ads and on mapping, where Nokia Maps will become part of Microsoft's Bing search engine. Nokia will contribute its hardware design and language support to the partnership.

The merger of three London councils will result in the loss of 500 jobs, with IT staff facing "consolidation", it has been revealed. Hammersmith & Fulham Council, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster City Council have outlined detailed merger proposals to help them reduce costs over the next three to five years. These include "rationalising IT teams around the areas of systems development, networks management, direct service delivery and strategy," an official document seen by IDG reporters states.
Bet365 said it was looking for new IT talent to help it develop systems that will give the online gambling company a competitive edge. The company wants to recruit people who can help it develop new systems that "aren't constrained in the way existing systems are", according to CTO Martin Davies.

"We are always on the lookout for talent," he said. "We want people who understand low-latency systems and how they work."

Nearly a third of private sector businesses would not consider employing ex-public sector workers, according to a survey. The Barclays Corporate Job Creation Survey 2011 questioned 500 executives of UK businesses and found that 32 per cent were 'not at all interested' and 25 per cent were 'not very interested' in taking on public sector workers who have been made redundant due to the government's spending cuts. Smaller companies, with turnover of less than £5 million, were least likely to be interested in hiring former public sector workers, with 54 percent saying they were not at all interested.

The Royal Bank of Scotland said an "overdue" investment in technology standardisation is crucial to its future, as it delivered a £1.1 billion annual loss. Stephen Hester, chief executive at the bank said: "We are completely clear - success in serving customers is the key to our business future. Overdue investment in service, technology and a changing cultural approach is starting to roll out across RBS." RBS is spending £6 billion overhauling its IT and marketing operations, and is implementing an undisclosed global technology platform following a string of large acquisitions over the last decade.

The London Stock Exchange called an urgent meeting with price data vendors, in an attempt to solve the serious market stock price irregularities appearing on traders' screens since the exchange launched its new trading software.

Major vendors have been displaying incorrect and blank stock prices. They are expected to address the problems and potential short and long-term solutions. Thomson Reuters, Interactive Data, Bloomberg (which said it did not experience problems) and Morningstar - were at the meeting, alongside top-level managers from medium and small data vendors.
The new Millennium Exchange trading system marks a major shift of technology for the exchange, as it brought systems in house and dumped an outsourced Microsoft .Net, C# written system. The exchange's new system is ultra low latency, and was written in C++ to run on a Novell SUSE Linux based datacentre. Problems have been , while trade messaging had initially been reported as stable at an average round trip latency of 125 microseconds - a market record - traders accessing data from third party vendors have reported both blank and incorrect prices. Publicly, the LSE and the vendors insist they have been working together to solve the problem. But privately, the exchange is frustrated that the long 15 month testing window had not prevented vendor issues.

Vodafone customers were unable to make calls from their mobile phones following a break-in at the mobile network's facility in Basingstoke.