SPAR Case Study

02.12.19 05:44 PM Comment(s) By Jordan

In the 1960’s with the emergence of grocery chains in South Africa, a group made up of 8 wholesalers were given exclusive rights to the SPAR name and brand in 1963, and serviced 500 small retailers.


Name: SPAR
Location: Pinetown, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Size: 10000+
Industry: Retail
Contact: Irfaan Ebrahim

In the 1960’s with the emergence of grocery chains in South Africa, a group made up of 8 wholesalers were given exclusive rights to the SPAR name and brand in 1963, and serviced 500 small retailers.

Over time and through many mergers and takeovers, today the SPAR Group Ltd operates 6 distribution centres and 1 Build it distribution centre, supplying goods and services to over 1 000 SPAR stores across Southern Africa.

What problem is the customer facing?

SPAR has 1000’s of users located all over the world. Their existing SharePoint environment was in house and the road to Office 365 had begun with mail. A concern of theirs was the availability and performance of the SharePoint environment as it became used more widely. SPAR are also very heavy users in the latest technology and wanted automation of their IT hardware ordering process for the 3000+ stores that are around the world.

What have they done to resolve the issue ?

Migrating to SharePoint Online to take full advantage of the cloud offering from Microsoft ensured high availability and consistent performance for users no matter where they are based. Using SharePoint and workflows, GTconsult created a solution for the Retail Ops team whereby they can manage networking orders, bandwidth / connectivity upgrades, and wireless connectivity for all of their stores from one central location. Orders places are immediately sent to 3rd parties who ensure swift delivery of the items.

What other products/services where they currently using?

The entire Office 365 product stack

How did they find GTconsult?

A colleague referred us to GTconsult

Why did they go with GTconsult Services/Solution?

Known expertise within the SharePoint industry

Enabled By GTconsult

The Retail Ops team at SPAR manage 1000’s of stores and are required to order connectivity and networking equipment to the stores for new store openings, upgrades, or moving of equipment. Previously this was a mammoth task and took majority of the teams time up in managing all of the orders and their statuses. Orders placed for the stores were sent to the providers and then manually followed up by SPAR.

With the solution in SharePoint, order placing is done much quicker and with less mistakes. Automation of most of the tasks has sped up the entire process and every bit of the process (besides comments, some IP’s, and other fields) are all done by the workflow. The Dashboard created for them allows for a quick view over what is happening with the orders and where they are currently sitting. The 3rd parties are now required to provide updates to the solution rather than SPAR requesting updates.


12 month migration process, 30 Day solution build

Team Used:

GTconsult Umlindi & A – Team

Issues Faced:

Issues faced with the solution was building the immense manual process that had been created for managing orders for SPAR and translating that into a simple to use solution with a large workflow. The solution was crafted and delivered and has been used daily ever since.

Migration issues faced were with the amount of data needing to be migrated. Care- full consideration was taken for each of the sites that needed to be migrated and the migration was done on a per site basis. Previous experience with migrations allowed this one to go smoothly into the cloud.

Return On Investment (ROI).

Orders placed are received by the 3rd parties within a few minutes. These 3rd Parties have access to the SharePoint environment and are expected to login and update the orders. SPAR no longer need to continuously follow up on orders. The team members can now glance at the dashboard to find out where orders are and they no longer need to chase up the providers.

Thoughts on GT

"GTconsult being experts in their field assisted us with the adoption of office 365 services in our Enterprise, which has taken us to the next level of Cloud computing."

Irfaan Ebrahim

GTconsult Team Quotes

SPAR has always been a pleasure to work with, helped immensely by the fate that the IT department are on the edge of what has been released and are hungry to learn more and engage more with technology. We have worked with SPAR for 5 years now and we have a great relationship.

– Scott McCann | Technical Account Manager

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