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Nottingham, UK - Rob Willetts, Project Manager, and Roger Bannister, 1st and 2nd line Support Manager, both employees of Retail Assist, the UK’s only specialist retail IT services provider, have reached the final stage in two separate BCS award categories. They are finalists in the IT Consultant of the year and IT Service Manager of the year categories respectively. Rob and Roger are the only representatives from the retail industry among this year’s award finalists, who also include employees of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Hilton UK and Ireland, and Zurich Financial Services.

The British Computer Society has created the IT Professional Awards, designed to embrace IT and business achievement, from its previous Information Technology and Management Award programmes. Also included are a selection of Individual Awards which, combined with the existing awards, recognise those whose outstanding IT achievement helps the nation’s IT industry maintain its position as a leading global player.

Nottinghamshire-based Retail Assist was formed by professionals from both Retail and Information Technology industries and quickly established itself as an authority on maximising the potential of retail technology for the speciality retail sector. The company has continued to provide innovative yet practical solutions and support to mid-range retailers, and pioneered a ‘Selective Outsourcing’ initiative, designed to provide both flexibility and reliability to clients, which has recently become an IT industry ‘hot topic’.

Roger Bannister, IT Service Manager of the Year finalist, has provided a consistent and comprehensive support programme to new and existing clients, which has enhanced service levels across the company. He has managed the successful integration of a pan-European support contract for Burberry, and enabled the provision of out of hours support for 2,100 Thresher Group stores, another key Retail Assist client. Collectively, Roger and his team provide support for over 5,500 EPoS tills. A recent client satisfaction survey proves the success of Roger’s robust service model – 96% of clients polled had a good overall impression of support provided by the helpdesk.
Rob Willetts, IT Consultant of the Year finalist, has been selected to go through to the final stages due to the work undertaken for Adams Childrenswear, one of Retail Assist’s primary clients. Adams has recently signed up to ‘Nectar’, the multiple-retailer reward programme, managed by LMUK, which features market-leading companies in key sectors including Sainsbury’s, BP, Debenhams and Barclaycard. Rob, along with the team, masterminded its successful integration under very tight schedules across two different EPoS systems.

Alan Morris, Managing Director of Retail Assist commented; “We are very proud that two of Retail Assist’s key employees have been selected by the most prestigious IS body in the UK. Being finalist in two different categories is a great accolade and is testament to the great work of Roger, Rob, and all the teams here. Retail technology can sometimes be seen as the poor relation to other sectors, so the fact that Retail Assist is the sole retail-specific finalist shows how this area is starting to be viewed as a mature, relevant example to the IT industry as a whole.”

Mike Kearsley, Chairman of the BCS Individual Excellence Award judging panel, added; “The quality of entrants this year has been very high, with many different industry sectors represented throughout the categories. Retail technology now plays an important role in advancing IT excellence and we are therefore pleased that some best practice examples from staff at Retail Assist are receiving attention and recognition from their peers.”

Winners will be announced at a Gala dinner in London in September 2003.

- Ends -

About The British Computer Society
As the only Chartered Professional Institution for the field of information systems engineering, the British Computer Society (BCS) exists to provide service and support to the IS community, including individual practitioners, employers of IS staff and the general public.

Formed in 1957, the Society now operates under a Royal Charter granted in 1984.
The BCS is also an Engineering Institution, fully licensed by the Engineering Council to nominate Chartered and Incorporated Engineers and to accredit university courses and training schemes.

About Retail Assist
Retail Assist is the market-leading provider of selectively out-sourced, made-to-measure IT support and development services to the retail sector. It develops, optimises and manages a retailer’s in-house IT function, working closely with the retailer, in-house IT staff and traditional IT systems providers to maximise return on existing IT investment. The company’s key strengths are its combination of technical ability, retail knowledge and front-line retail / IT experience, and its independence from restrictive supplier agreements.

Formed in 1999, Retail Assist operates from offices in Bingham, Northampton and selective client sites. Clients include Adams Childrenswear, Burberry, Coast, Harvey Nichols, New Look, Oasis and Thresher Group.

For further information, interviews or images please contact:
Holly Scothern
Public Relations
07961 123676

Sally Wright
01949 836777

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Retail Assist in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit