Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Technology


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.

Data-Warehouse

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.

Data-Mart

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.

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