May 19, 2020

Sainsbury's and Asda: the merger in numbers

Sainsbury's
Asda
Sainsbury's Asda
Sainsbury's Asda merger
Johan De Mulder
2 min
Sainsbury's and Asda: the merger in numbers

Sainsbury confirmed its planned merger with Asda on Monday in a transaction estimated to be worth £13.3bn.

One of the most significant moves in the retail sector in recent years, the merger will see the UK's 'Big Four' supermarket chains reduced to the 'Big Three' as the pair join forces to take on the likes of Tesco, Morrisons and Aldi in an increasingly competitive space.

"We believe that the combination of Sainsbury's and Asda will create substantial value for our shareholders and will be excellent news for our customers and our colleagues," commented Sainsbury's Chairman David Tyler.

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With the 'Combination' now set to be handed over to the competition authorities for approval, Business Chief picks out some of the key figures involved in the deal:

£51bn - This figure represents the combined revenue of Sainsbury's, Asda and Sainsbury's Argos range of retail outlets based on the 2017 fiscal year.

2,800 - The number of combined stores the entity will manage once the merger has been approved. This number is just the bricks-and-mortar outlets for Sainsbury's, Asda and Argos - the brands also own three of the most visited e-commerce platforms in the United Kingdom.

330,000 - The complete number of workers across the businesses who will become colleagues when the merger is ratified. Tesco housed 328,000 employees in 2017, so in terms of the sizes of their workforces the two rivals will become remarkably similar. 

47mn - This is the total number of customer transactions the new entity will process per week across the grocery, general merchandise and clothing retail sectors.

21 - The percentage by which Sainsbury's share price increased soon after the merger was announced. Shares at its main UK rivals fell.

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Jun 16, 2021

SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data

SAS
British Army
3 min
Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM, explains the important role that SAS is playing in the British Army’s digital transformation

SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation. 

“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.

In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”

Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.

Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”

SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”

With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.

“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”

Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.

“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”

 

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