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Brief Overview of Business Intelligence and How Walmart Uses It

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Brief Overview of Business Intelligence and How Walmart Uses It Walmart is the biggest retailer in the world and handles more than one million customer transactions every hour and generates more than 2.5 petabytes of data storage (Venkatraman & Brooks, 2012). To put this into perspective, this data is equivalent to 167 times the number of books in America’s Library of Congress (Venkatraman & Brooks, 2012). So how can Wal-Mart use this massive amount of data and what useful information can this data provide? This paper will provide a brief overview of the importance of Business Intelligence (BI) and how the largest retailer in world, Walmart, is using it. BI platforms help management to truly understand its customer base and deliver individualized products and services (Brannon, 2010). When BI tools and analytics are used effectively, managers and decision makers can yield an all-encompassing view of the company, its position in the market, and its potential and perspectives (Albescu, and Pugna 2014). BI is best explained as a systematic process not found in a magazine, online or in a knowledge database. An organization that doesn’t have a viable BI capacity is making decisions without key information in this competitive market (Thomas, 2001).
Walmart has more customer connections than any retailer in the world, from online activity to in-store purchases, and even social mentions (300,000 social mentions per week) (SAS Institute Inc.). Due to the abundance of information requiring analysis, Walmart created Walmart Labs after the company took over Kosmix in 2011 (Rijmenam, 2013). Walmart Labs created BI products which allowed them the opportunity to reach customers, or friends of customers, who have mentioned something online (Rijmenam, 2013). Walmart also used BI tools to understand its 1.2 million associates, an employee numbers that far…...

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