Walmart is the Largest IT Investor in the World

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Walmart is the Largest IT Investor in the World

By Tim Denman - 04/20/2015
Saying Walmart is the biggest IT investor in retail might raise a few eyebrows, but most people would likely shrug their shoulders and respond with "well that makes sense." But according to the latest research from IDC, Walmart is not only the biggest IT spender in retail, but is the biggest investor in IT across industries worldwide.
 
Walmart topped IDC's "The Big Guns: IDC's Worldwide Top 10 IT Spenders" report beating out heavy hitters like Citigroup, AT&T and ExxonMobil for the title of biggest IT spender. The competition for the top spot wasn't even close, with Walmart nearly doubling second place finisher Bank of America's seemingly paltry $5.33 billion investment, with a jaw-dropping $10.16 billion tally according to IDC estimates.
 
The $10-billion estimate for Walmart's IT expenditures includes hardware, software, IT services, telecommunication service, and internal IT spending. With revenue approaching $500 billion in 2014 the retailing giant certainly has money to spend, and although $10 billion is a massive figure it is really just a drop in the Walmart bucket.
 
As customers become accustomed to the personalized, immersive experience that digital shopping provides they are increasingly demanding digital-infused, in-store experiences. Walmart has already announced a large-scale investment in the integration of physical and digital and will be focusing a large portion of its IT budget over the next 18 to 24 months on this initiative.
 
"The big price for us in the future goes back to this integration of digital and physical," Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran said. "We’re excited about that. We have some good ideas in that space and we’ve got to make sure that we develop the tools and the technology to get there."

Walmart's investment in better serving customer across digital and physical is focused on four key areas: its global technology platform, a next generation fulfillment network, integrating digital and physical, and talent. The talent portion of the investment plan is particularly important. As the competition for top-level digital innovators continues to tighten across industries, companies hoping to stay on the cutting edge will need to invest heavily to attract superior talent.  

"We’ve talked about the importance of investing in talent and the fact that we are building a technology company inside the world’s largest retailer," Neil Ashe, president and CEO, global e-commerce said. "In the past year, we have been able to build up our team to the critical mass needed to be that technology company. And we did it in a very selective way, bringing in some of the best talent in Silicon Valley through organic hiring and targeted acquisitions."