Wednesday, April 15, 2009


“Sam Walton didn't care much for technology. The legendary patriarch of Wal-Mart Stores was well-known for his lack of excitement about ‘computers,’ as he called the company's IT systems. ‘Truthfully, I never viewed computers as anything more than necessary overhead,’ he wrote in his 1992 memoir, Made in America. ‘A computer is not—and will never be—a substitute for getting out in your stores and learning what's going on.’ Many still consider Wal-Mart's pioneering, IT-driven supply chain to be the world's most efficient, and the company's technology standards still command respectful attention from its thousands of suppliers.” – (Thomas Wailgum,

The leading innovative progression of technology through Wal-Mart has been a key issue to its success. The technology aspect of the retail giant has kept Wal-Mart’s prices lower than its competition. Wal-Mart’s networks are cutting edge, communicating to every employee in the company from the cashier to the CIO. Strategically outsourcing their technical communication has allowed Wal-Mart to focus on the business itself with efficient mobility and low prices. The biggest move Wal-Mart has made to improve their system intelligence is outsourcing their databases to NCR Corporation bringing their total disk storage to over 7.5 terabyte make it the largest commercial database system in the world. The Neo Vista Company, providing Wal-Mart with software which was tailored to match the requirements of the database environment makes a great collaboration with their NCR databases. The software provided by Neo Vista, ERP, has helped management effectively communicate with other departments such has accounting and human resources which is called Data-Mining. Data mining enables any employee in Wal-Mart to access key information about any particular item sold in real time. To help the communication, Wal-Mart has pioneered satellite system linking stores and headquarters, but has switched to the frame relay method of transmitting data over shared, publicly owned phone lines which is used on its DS3 network that runs at 44.736 Mbps which virtual circuits connects multiple offices. Although from the Blog one can see how a Data-Ware house is the foundation of Data-Mining, the incredible idea of reaching the information from any location has been so innovative that it had brought Supply Chain Management a basis for any retailer.

What my team has found the most interesting about Wal-Mart is the simplistic idea which had created supply chain management. The interesting aspect of the whole idea is how it all comes together. There has been so much though and innovation developed to create the success of supply chain management. The company who controls the database, the company who provides a particular software, the LAN connections, interface and the devices and components such as the network hubs which all collaborate to enable employees to access make sense of the information. Wal-Mart has been the pioneer of Supply Chain Management and it would not exist without the network planning and configuration of the Data-Warehouse, Data-Mart and Data-Mining.

Wal-Mart Trumps Moore's Law” This article expresses the true importance and impact that Wal-Mart has made on the retail industry; stating “Microsoft and Cisco may set technical standards; Wal-Mart sets business process standards”. The article states more about how simple economics takes place but implementing instead of inventing. Wal-Mart being highly productive has forced other industries to follow in its footsteps, setting a standard of business productivity and efficiency. The article states that Wal-Mart has grown so large due to it’s innovation that it could actually effect the software companies fate. For example, if Wal-Mart switched to open source programs, it would effect the whole software industry due to their size and because other companies would follow their lead.


The type of network Wal-Mart uses

A quick definition explains wireless networks, particularly a local area network (LAN) as, the linking of two or more computers without using wires. It is the same as LAN, but has a wireless interface. WLAN utilizes spread-spectrum technology based on radio waves to enable communication between devices in a limited area, also known as the basic service set. This gives users the mobility to move around within a broad coverage area and still be connected to the network. Proponents of wireless networks have given the benefits an acronym. CAMP means convenience, affordability, mobility and productivity. At a comparatively small cost, Wal-Mart stores are be able to utilize connections between neighboring stores and between employees on the ground floor.

The Type of interface Wal-Mart uses

There are two types of network interfaces that can be used for both personal and commercial computers. For personal uses the interface would be an expansion card. However, for commercial uses like Wal-Mart they would use an Ethernet card the most common type of network interface card. The Ethernet card runs to a hub or switch, which allows you to use cables with different wiring. E-Health article for the health interface using Dossia software.

The type of media Wal-Mart uses

There must be communications media like cables or radio waves connecting network hardware devices. The communications media transport information around the network between computers and the connecting device(s). Communications media are the paths, or physical channels, in a network over which information travels. All communications are either wired or wireless. Wired communications media transmit information over a closed, connected path. Wireless communications media transmit information through the air.

The type of communications software which is used

Wal-Mart uses communications media like cables in their stores to transmit communication and radio waves to connect network hardware devices. The communications media transport information around the network between computers and the connecting device(s). Each computer must have software that supports the movement of information in and out of the computer. This could be modem software and/ or a network operating system.

The type of connecting devices or components that are used

A network usually has at least one connecting device (like a hub, switch, or home/ broadband router) that ties the computers on the network together and acts as a switchboard for passing information. Wal-Mart’s systems are connected by Novell LAN and they also provide productivity service for Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is also taking advantage of interoperability between Microsoft Windows and Linux.

How does Wal-Mart connect to the internet and at what speeds?

Walmart was famed for its pioneering satellite system linking stores and headquarters, but has switched to the frame relay method of transmitting data over shared, publicly owned phone lines. WalMart uses frame relay on their DS3 network that runs at 44.736 Mbps. Frame Relay is a service that can be set up over high speed lines such a DS3 to create virtual circuits connecting multiple offices. The virtual circuits can provide network connections from each office to every other one without having to run physical lines directly between each pair. One project Wal-Mart has called the Vendor Frame Network, connects about 20 of Wal-Mart’s largest suppliers to its frame relays back bone via PVC connection.

Does Wal-mart use Voice over IP?

Voice over IP allows you to send voice communications over the Internet and avoid the toll charges that you would normally receive from your long distance carrier. It is a means of transmitting a voice telephone call over a computer data network. Wal-Mart integrated wireless VoIP systems that use an IP network backbone. They use wireless technology throughout their stores.

How does Wal-Mart apply the four principles of network security?

The four principles of network security are confidentiality, authenticity, integrity, and availability. Confidentiality means that information can be obtained only by those authorized to access it. Wal-Mart uses a technology called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which encrypts sensitive information before it is sent over the Internet.Authenticity means that information really comes from the source it claims to come from. Integrity means that information has not been altered. Wal-Mart has fire walls set up to help protect threats against authenticity and integrity. Availability means simply that a service or resource is available when its supposed to be. In order for Wal-Mart to get orders to its customers on time they have an IDS which watches network traffic for intrusion attempts and reports them. Intrusion detection and prevention systems work by having information about many different types of network attacks and matching an attack in progress.

Wal-Mart's domain name?