Monday, March 30, 2009

Hardware, Software and systems

Hardware categories sold by Wal-Mart; Brands and types of computers

When you enter a Wal-Mart store you can visibly see the types of computer hardware being used, the computerized registers, keyboard, monitor and printer. Wal-mart sells, PC’s, Laptops, keyboards, mouse, flash drives and printers. Wal-mart sells a variety of different computer brands from HP, Dell, Acer to Toshiba. Both the Desk top and laptop computers can be found at every Wal-Mart.

What companies provide the hardware and software for Wal-Mart

In 1996, NCR Corporation announced a multi-million dollar contract with Wal-Mart to expand its data warehouse. This redefined Very Large Database (VLDB) in the industry by growing the largest commercial database system in the world. This includes a 32-node WorldMark 5100 Massively Parallel Processor (MPP) system, Teradata Database for UNIX and professional services which adds 384 processors and four terabytes (trillion bytes) of disk storage to Wal-Mart's existing decision-support system, bringing total disk storage to over 7.5 terabytes. This is the equivalent of nearly two billion pages of text. Using NCR's Teradata database, this decision-support system provides information on customer buying trends, merchandise volume and movement in each of its 2945 stores and clubs in six countries. The timely availability of this detailed data to merchandising professionals ensures that stores have the right items in stock when and where customers want to buy making the foundation of Wal-marts success.

NeoVista provides Wal-mart with the Software. Neo Vista delivers its data mining needs. The Neo Vista “decision series” was tailored to match the requirements of the database environment of Wal-Mart. One important advantage of the implementing the data-mining tool was that the company was able to optimize the inventory management. Their investment in data mining is part of Wal-Mart's drive to deliver what its customers want; the right item, at the right store, at the right time and at the right price. The NeoVista Decision Series is enabling Wal-Mart to look at individual items for individual stores to determine seasonal sales profiles. This additional level of detailed analysis is helping us make even better informed business decisions and helps us further utilize our data Warehouse.

The types of system software which is used by Wal-Mart

The software used by Wal-Mart is ERP; this software helps management and staff to combine all aspects of the business into one system, which helps with effectively using Supply Chain Management. ERP brings all the company and management functions together, these would include, accounting, human resources, and customer relationship management amongst others. Wal-Mart used to sell Linux, but because of low customer sales for the open source operating software they have discontinued its use.

The types of application software and brands sold by Wal-Mart

The different types of application software sold by Wal-Mart are, MS Operating Systems, MS Office, MS Security, Turbo Business Finance and Tax Software, Norton Antivirus and Norton Security Software, McAfee Antivirus, Bit Defender Antivirus, Trend Micro Antivirus, AVG Internet Security, Norton Ghost and Kaspersky Internet Security.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


The relational database series of logically related two-dimensional tables or files to store information in the form of a database. The files that Wal-Mart will create for on-line ordering would be Order Number, Order Date, Customer Number, Delivery Address, and Amount Ordered. Employee files would also have unique data, Employee Number, Date of Hire, Employee Name, (first and last). Regular customers that place orders via Wal-Mart’s website also have customer files with their customer number, customer name and contact service person. While there may be many fields to a file each field has a unique Primary Key. The databases used at Wal-Mart are CRM system and Retail Link. CRM helps with the tracking of customers, while Retail Link is a decision support system for suppliers and retailer. The brand of database software that is used is NCR’s Teradata Software, believed to carry approximately 583 terabytes.

The company’s CIO and EVP is Rollin Lee Ford, while Dan Philips is the Vice President of Information Technology, the database administrators report to either of these two men. Managers get reports from systems that allow for a Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR), to help in the business initiatives. Types of reports, sales figures, quantities sold, time, sales trends, customer trends and general data related to store location and POS materials.


Online Analytical Processing, the manipulation of information to support decision making is currently being used by Wal-Mart. A data warehouse is a logical collection of information gathered from different operational databases and used to create business intelligence that supports decision making tasks and business analysis activities. Wal-mart is known for having the biggest data warehouse used, which is larger then 4 Petabytes. Wal-mart turned its data warehouse into an operational system for managing daily store operations by refreshing the information its data warehouse holds every hour. The massive data warehouse is not just a customer of CRM systems but it also serves as the base for Wal-marts RetailLink support system. Teradata is Wal-marts data warehouse vendor.


According to an article from the Journal of Business Forecasting Methods and Systems 2001, “plays a pivotal role in gaining this knowledge. It enables companies to collect data from many sources, performs analyses and makes informed decisions in real time”. A data mart is a subset of a data warehouse in which only a focused portion of the data warehouse information is kept. The CEO may need to see all of the information he can also look at each section and get individual reports. Originally Wal-mart did use data marts. They started out with many small data marts, its first being in IBM DB2 and the second in IBM VM/SQL. Eventually the Teradata system was introduced and enabled Wal-mart to manage all of the information into one database so they built a big data mart. The POS table at Wal-mart was 1.2 billion records. Within a six months of this, Wal-mart then decided to turn it into a data warehouse with several tables over 500 million rows.

Data- Mining

Data-Mining tools are the software tools you use to query information in a data ware-house. These data- mining tools support the concept of OLAP— the manipulation of information to support decision- making. OLAP is an online application processing query. Wal-mart uses a global leader in business intelligence software, Hyperion. They use Hyperion Essbase OLAP technology to build an advanced merchandise planning and reporting system. Hyperion's Essbase technology will help Wal-mart create a scalable system that will deliver budgeting, forecasting and planning tools to international operations. Analysts at Wal-mart look for increasing sales in some region.

Dan Philips is the Vice President of Information Technology Officer. In an article published in 1999, “it was stated that data mining was an effective tool used by Wal-Mart for querying data.” The soft ware for data mining is being provided by many companies, currently the largest producer of the software is SAS. However Wal-Mart uses Accrue, they purchased NeoVista who was the initial supplier of the software for Wal-Mart.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Building business strategy and intellegence


E-commerce is short for electronic commerce. Electronic commerce is commerce that is accelerated and enhanced by information technology, in particular the Internet. The types of e-Commerce being used are B2B, suppliers supply Wal-Mart the goods they need in order to service their B2C. Businesses such as Wal-Mart use B2B e-marketplaces that are virtual and provide a way for businesses to buy and sell their products to one another. They also are able to share information and perform other important activities. They started in 1996 and it was deemed a failure. It was difficult to use and studies showed Wal-Mart customers were not key internet users. Wal-Mart insists that any company that wants to be a supplier use the Wal-Mart EDI so Wal-Mart can replenish their stock straight from the wholesalers and keep prices low. This also reduces inventory space which increases shelf space for display. Consumers go to Wal-Mart, either online or in the stores for products that are needed. Business to business occurs when a business sells products and services to customers who are primarily other businesses. However, customers like that online and offline channels become integrated. For example, you can order your prescription online then go into the store and pick it up.

Internet Model

Wal-Mart uses ani

nternet accessed retail system called Linka. With Internet technology and the Cisco network, Wal-Mart has elevated Retail Linka to a new level of efficiency and usefulness. Now that Retail Linka is an Internet application, Wal-Mart doesn’t need the modems, they can update the software on the Web, and vendors are able to use their own browsers. Another advantage is that data transmission is no longer limited to the speed of dial-up modems. If vendors have a high-speed connection to the Internet, they can get Wal-Mart’s data at those speeds. If vendors are all accessin

g the same database,Wal-Mart uses password protection to designate what they can see. Users in different locations within a vendor company get different passwords, depending on their need to know. With Retail Linka, vendors see how their products are selling, use it to do different scenarios, and then work with Wal-Mart on selling. This is a functional tool. Automated replenishment and the smooth functioning of the Wal-Mart supply chain depend on reliable connectivity between the stores, the centralized database, and the distribution centers. Speed is important, and so is the optimum functioning of Wal-Mart’s logistics system. With the Cisco network, they have dramatically increased speed and alsosubstantially cut outages. Every time Wal-Mart does that, it makes the supply chain more efficient.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix of a company is the tools that the organization uses to pursue its marketing objectives in reaching and attracting customers. In a B2B e-commerce such as Wal-Mart, marketing mixes do not usually include broad and generic strategies that reach all potential businesses. Instead, marketing often occurs in the context of an e-marketplace. Once a contact has been made, the relationship is formal and often includes negotiations for pricing, quality, specifications, and delivery timing. Wal-Mart uses online ads which are small advertisements that appear on other sites. Yahoo is an ad networks partner of To improve customers ad experience on and elsewhere on the internet, they may send anonymous information to Yahoo based on your browser activity. Wal-Mart also offers an affiliate program that is listed on their website. Membership is free and you earn commission for referring customers to

Payment Systems

The payment system used in Wall-Marts Business to Business e-commerce model is one in which customers tend to make very large purchases and will not pay using a credit card or an option such as a PayPal. Businesses rather pay through Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and in large amounts. EDI is the direct computer to computer transfer of transaction contained in standard business documents. Financial EDI is a process used within business to business e-commerce for the payment of a purchase. There must be a level of system integration between the businesses involved. Costs for order processing are minimized as orders can be handled electronically, without paper or much human intervening. For Wal-Mart’s B2C approach, the payment systems they use are PayPal which is an internet based company that makes it easy for one person to pay another person securely over the internet. PayPal also gives you the option of transferring money to your bank accounts. Another payment system Wal-Mart uses is the option of paying by credit card, debit card, or gift card. The last payment system Wal-Mart offers is Bill Me Later. Bill Me Later is the quick easy way to shop without using your credit card on websites. Bill Me Later also offers payment plans.

Wal-mart's initiative moves have seemed to never fail them