Walmart, Microsoft Form Digital Partnership

Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

Walmart Inc. is establishing a strategic partnership with Microsoft Corp. to spur the mega-retailer’s digital transformation, empower its associates worldwide, and make shopping faster and easier for millions of shoppers around the globe. Through the partnership Microsoft has become Walmart’s preferred and strategic cloud provider, enabling it to tap into the full range of Microsoft’s cloud solutions. 

Under the five-year agreement, Walmart has selected the full range of Microsoft cloud solutions, among them Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365, for enterprise-wide use to help standardize across the company’s family of brands. Walmart and Microsoft engineers will work together on the assessment, development and support phase of transitioning hundreds of existing applications to cloud-native architectures. For instance, to develop and improve the online experience, a significant portion of and will migrate to Azure, whose cloud-powered checkout will enable Walmart to grow with rising customer demand and access more global markets than ever before.

“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 Walmart CEO Doug McMillon. “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,” noted Satya Nadella, CEO of Redmond, Wash.-based 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.”

Walmart is already employing Microsoft services for critical applications and workloads, and is now undertaking a broad set of cloud innovation projects that leverage machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and data platform solutions for a wide variety of external customer-facing services and internal business applications.

The flexible, secure and rapidly scalable global technology will considerably boost 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 its family of brands and international businesses, enabling them to take advantage Microsoft’s public cloud to capitalize on depth and breadth of Microsoft’s compute capacity,seamlessly manage workloads in an elastic environment,have expanded access to new toolsets to innovate faster, and drive a more cloud-native environment and so continue to manage cost.
  • Innovation: Whether it’s an ongoing focus on site availability and speed, or the ability to quickly and seamlessly launch new features, Walmart will keep innovating to save customers time and money, and there are huge benefits to operating at scale as Walmart builds a global Internet of Things (IoT) platform on Azure – from connected HVAC and refrigeration units to lower energy usage in thousands of its U.S. stores to applying machine learning when routing thousands of trucks in the supply chain.
  • Changing the workplace:  Walmart is investing in its people with a phased rollout of Microsoft 365, giving employees the necessary productivity tools to further a culture of collaboration, creativity and communication. Microsoft’s workplace platform supports connected teams and breaks down silos, while providing access to a full range of tools such Microsoft Workplace Analytics, Microsoft Stream, and Microsoft OneDrive.

Walmart operates more than 11,700 stores under 65 banners in 28 countries and ecommerce websites. It ranked first in Progressive Grocer’s Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.