Published: March 8, 2018

BRIEF Walmart relies on DevOps and the IoT to better its business model

Dive Brief:

  • Across Walmart's 10,000 IT employee workforce, CIO Clay Johnson is executing a product management model where managers "serve as 'product owners' responsible for integrated technology solutions," he said in an interview with Walmart's software development workforce is practicing DevOps with continuous integration and continuous delivery (CICD).

  • Johnson implemented Workday management software on an experimental basis last summer, according to the report. He also worked to differentiate how IT managers oversee deployment of a product and was able to decrease release cycles from a nine-month average to just three months for process design changes.

  • In addition to changes in software approaches, Johnson has already worked to add bots to the business to automate manual tasks but wants to add chatbots to HR for recruiting purposes, according to the report. "If you can order a pizza through a text message, why can't you apply for a job [the same way]," he said.

  • Dive Insight:

    Walmart brought on Johnson in January 2017, and he has since made some technical and cultural changes to the company. For example, part of the reason Johnson brought Workday to Walmart was to accommodate a digital native workforce, according to the report.

    As a result, Johnson said the ability for employees to have a platform to express accomplishments or initiatives through the management software has changed employees' attitudes.

    Speed is fundamental to DevOps, and therefore maintaining a transparent work culture is vital. If developers are not on the same page or have too many disagreements, direction of processes will differ too much for effective change.

    But Walmart and other major retailers are harnessing the power of cloud-based technologies. The company already has IoT sensors that were deployed in refrigerators in 5,000 stores in the U.S. to detect food spoilage and plans to use the IoT to track a customer's shopping patterns.

    As of now, Walmart runs six server farms and 75 micro clouds. It no longer relies on a third-party cloud service provider. The change allows Walmart's IT team to make up to 170,000 adjustments to its website software monthly.

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