- Walmart and Microsoft announced a strategic partnership that will leverage Microsoft 365 and the Azure cloud to accelerate the retailer's digital transformation and improve customer interactions, according to a joint press release Tuesday. Walmart has previously used Microsoft capabilities for critical workloads and applications.
- Walmart will capitalize on Microsoft's artificial intelligence, machine learning and data solutions for cloud innovation projects, including building out its global IoT platform on Azure. A five-year agreement for the full suite of cloud solutions will harness Azure's elastic environment for workload management, varied toolsets and compute capacity, helping Walmart standardize the brands under its umbrella.
- Engineers from both companies will work together to migrate hundreds of applications, including walmart.com and samsclub.com, to cloud native architectures. Looking to foster a collaborative and agile culture, Walmart will roll out Microsoft 365 to employees in phases.
Having eschewed digital infrastructure and services from its biggest competitor Amazon — while encouraging its partners to do the same, including Snowflake Computing — Walmart was left the choice between Microsoft and Google's public cloud offerings. Other major retailers, including Kroger and Target, have also moved their business away from AWS servers.
Microsoft, the strong No. 2 infrastructure as a service provider and top software as a service provider, offers one of the strongest enterprise portfolios in the market and recently brought in new and expanded partnerships with the likes of GE and Campbell Soup.
Walmart's proprietary cloud, spanning six server farms and 75 micro clouds, has bolstered the company's e-commerce businesses by powering data operations and facilitating adjustments to enterprise software. But the internal cloud is not being rented out to customers, instead focused on improving the mining, analysis and protection of consumer data.
Keeping up with Amazon in the digital domain is a hard race, and since coming to the company in January 2017, CIO Clay Johnson has worked to transform Walmart's technical culture. He implemented measures such as Workday management software to accommodate a digital native workforce, a product management model where managers act as "product owners" for technology solutions and a network of bots to automate manual tasks.