IT Intelligence Bulletin (HG Insights)— Walmart has announced it is establishing a strategic partnership with Microsoft to further accelerate Walmart’s digital transformation in retail, empower its associates worldwide and make shopping faster and easier for millions of customers around the world.

Through this partnership, Walmart has chosen Microsoft as its preferred and strategic cloud provider tapping into the full range of Microsoft’s cloud solutions.

“Walmart’s commitment to technology is centered around creating incredibly convenient ways for customers to shop and empowering associates to do their best work,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart CEO. “Walmart is a people led, tech empowered company, and we’re excited about what this technology partnership will bring for our customers and associates. Whether it’s combined with our agile cloud platform or leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence to work smarter, we believe Microsoft will be a strong partner in driving our ability to innovate even further and faster.”

“Walmart is a pioneering retailer, committed to empowering its employees and delivering the best experience for its customers wherever they are,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “The world’s leading companies run on our cloud, and I’m thrilled to partner with Walmart to accelerate their digital transformation with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365.”

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Walmart is already using Microsoft services for critical applications and workloads and is now embarking on a broad set of cloud innovation projects that leverage machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data platform solutions for a wide range of external customer-facing services and internal business applications. The flexible, secure and rapidly scalable global technology will significantly accelerate Walmart’s ability to execute in three key areas:

Digital transformation: The investment in Microsoft Azure is a continuation of Walmart’s cloud journey and extends across Walmart’s family of brands and international businesses – allowing them to leverage Microsoft’s public cloud to:

  • Capitalize on depth and breadth of Microsoft’s compute capacity
  • Ability to seamlessly manage workloads in an elastic environment 
  • Leverage expanded access to new toolsets to innovate faster
  • Drive a more cloud native environment and therefore continue to manage cost 

In a five-year agreement, Walmart has selected the full range of Microsoft cloud solutions, including Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 for enterprise-wide use to help standardize across the company’s family of brands. As part of the partnership, Walmart and Microsoft engineers will collaborate on the assessment, development, and support phase of moving hundreds of existing applications to cloud native architectures. For example, to grow and enhance the online experience, the company will migrate a significant portion of walmart.com and samsclub.com to Azure, including its cloud-powered check-out enabling Walmart to grow with rising customer demand and reach more global markets than ever before.

Innovation: Whether it’s a continued focus on site availability and speed, or the ability to quickly and seamlessly launch new features, customers will continue to see Walmart innovating to save them time and money across the shopping journey. There are also massive benefits to operating at scale as Walmart builds a global IoT platform on Azure – from connected HVAC and refrigeration units to reduce energy usage in thousands of U.S. stores or applying machine learning when routing thousands of trucks in the supply chain.

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