Ordinarily, the Stock Exchange flotation of a UK contracting business wouldn’t interest this blog, but the company in question is Styles&Wood (this week’s Contract Journal has a news story on the flotation and dealing in its shares began yesterday).
The reason I note the move is that Styles&Wood has an operating division called StoreData, which:
“provides retailers with technology based property information solutions that capture, manage and communicate critical data relating to their store portfolio and associated property activity. This data can include design models and standards, supplier allocations and project specific data.”
In short, it competes in the UK document management/collaboration space with other ‘extranet’ vendors.
According to its 2005 Annual Report and Accounts (covering the year up to 31 December 2005):
“StoreData … outperformed its planned targets for the year. We extended the Tesco property data system known as ‘My Property’ to over 6,000 licensed users to make this the largest system of its kind in the UK. We also provided bespoke information systems to Boots, B&Q and Barclays as more retailers see the benefits, particularly cost related, that can be derived from efficient storage and management of property data.”
Why is a contractor developing software, you might ask. It isn’t. StoreData is essentially an implementation of Union Square’s Workspace knowledge management application, which Styles&Wood is reselling to its customers. While more often deployed as an internal database and document management solution, it does have extranet capabilities.
One small observation I would make on the Tesco claim above regards the 6,000 licensed users figure making this “the largest system of its kind in the UK”. How can Styles&Wood substantiate this claim? Do they have knowledge of how many users there are of other collaboration systems in the UK retail sector? BIW has a substantial user base within the Sainsbury supply chain, for example, while Asda use Sarcophagus extensively – and both relationships are very mature, and usage could well rival that of Tesco’s system. 4Projects also claims both Tesco and Tesco Express as customers – is there some overlap or are the systems used for different things (for example, could one be used for managing standards, while the other is deployed for actual construction projects)? I would be interested to know.