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SQL Server Blog


We talk a lot about the features and technical “how to” behind SQL Server, but our favorite topic is showing real-world examples of how it helps our customers achieve their goals and save millions of dollars. One great example of this is The Co-operative Group and their switch from Oracle to SQL Server.

The Co-operative Group operates 5,000 retail stores, and is one of the world’s largest member-owned businesses. The Group’s top strategic priority is expanding its membership base, and they set an aggressive goal to grow to 20 million members by 2020.

But instead of helping the Group achieve its goals, technology and licensing models were a barrier to success. The Group’s previous membership system was an Oracle solution, hosted by a provider that charged per member – a situation where scaling membership would have cost the company tens of millions of dollars. “It would have been financial suicide if we had tried to use the existing solution to accomplish our growth goals,” said Chris Sproston, the head of software development at The Co-operative Group.

To realize the company’s goals, The Co-operative Group turned to SQL Server 2008 R2 and a variety of other Microsoft products and services. Working with Microsoft partner HCL Infosystems, they developed a solution that stores account information, records transactional data and supports web-based self-service account management.

Using this new solution, The Co-operative Group improved member services with enterprise-wide reporting and analysis tools, and increased the security of customer information with highly specific access privileges and transparent data encryption. As a result, the company’s IT department can now spend time innovating and adding features, instead of using its resources to manage new reports or queries.

“Because SQL Server 2008 R2 is so scalable, we can expand from 6 million to 20 million members for 10 percent of what it would have cost on our old solution,” said Chris Sproston, head of software development for The Co-operative Group.

By implementing the Microsoft system, The Co-operative Group will be able to reduce the cost of its long-term growth goal by tens of millions of dollars. And that’s the kind of success story we love to be able to share.

For more information about The Co-operative Group’s solution and how they plan to save millions by switching from Oracle to SQL Server, check out the case study.