UK tabletop wargames specialist Games Workshop has published the latest chapter in the long-running saga of how mighty IT warriors valiantly battled the intransigent forces of ERP.
Players battle over the Blood Bowl tabletop game (a Games Workshop product set in an alternate version of the Warhammer fantasy setting – but with gameplay based on a mashup of rugby/American football)
The Nottingham-based company behind the Warhammer figures has been locking horns with its gigantean adversary since at least 2017, according to reports at the time [PDF].
But in its latest half-year results [PDF] for the six months to 28 November 2021, the retailer and manufacturer admitted it spent another £500,000 on the project, with no end in sight.
“We have made some good progress on implementing our European ERP system and we are working hard to help achieve the completion of this long and complex project with £0.5m incurred in the period,” the report said.
According to the company’s annual report for 2018-19 [PDF], a move to a “more agile methodology” was intended to ensure the project would go live in 2020.
Not only must the IT team take on the monstrous ERP project, but it must also do so with a sword hanging over its head.
The latest results said: “With a number of significant business projects in play, all of which are dependent on IT support, there is a requirement for a robust IT strategy which enables us to deliver key strategic projects as well as supporting day to day activities. We are keeping the structure of our global IT team under review to ensure the IT support needs of the business can be delivered.”
The board has signed off on the first phase of the web store upgrade, which had been delayed as of September last year as the ERP project missed its milestones. It expects capital investment of £6m in the upgrade.
In its 2020/2021 annual report [PDF], Games Workshop admitted its website is “looking a little dated and the back-end systems at times cannot cope with current volumes.”
“The complexity of our ERP upgrade has pushed back the start of a project to upgrade our digital offer, which includes personalising content and improving navigation, by about a year. We are currently in the scoping phase. The early concepts look amazing. It will be another major IT-supported project so we will be resourcing it appropriately with third party expertise,” the report said.
Games Workshop is in the middle of making the move from Sage to a Microsoft Dynamics ERP system. In January 2021, news came that the project had parted ways with its trusty ally – sorry, implementation partner – later revealed to be DXC Technology.
In terms of investment in assets, the ERP project required £1.1m in the year, on top of £2.3m on a new warehousing facility.
The delay also gained board-level attention. The board is “briefed on a monthly basis regarding major investments and ongoing relationships with key suppliers as required, most notably in the past 12 months in respect of the ongoing ERP implementation project,” the report said.
Not that its gruelling ERP epic seems to have dented the company’s financial standing. The latest figures show revenue grew to £191.5m in the six months to 28 November 2021 compared with £186.8m for the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, profit before tax fell to £88.2m from £91.6m. ®