Wal-Mart has stumbled a bit of late, losing its technology-driven lead over competitors and causing some, like Nick Carr, to suggest that Wal-Mart is a prime example of why IT really doesn't matter. Suddenly, consultants are being heard who suggest that Wal-Mart reverse its technology direction to buy off-the-shelf proprietary systems:...[A]nalysts say that Wal-Mart's reliance on homegrown IT systems - and its conviction of their superiority - needs to change. Ford and his team, they say, must bring in best-of-breed commercial applications, such as BI and price-optimization tools, that can help it compete with rising retail superstars such as Target, JCPenney and Tesco. "We cannot overestimate how much packaged software can help them right now," says Paula Rosenblum, an analyst and managing partner with Retail Systems Research.
In fact, they can. The only thing that proprietary software gives Wal-Mart is bloat for these overpaid consultants to trim away for them. There is no off-the-shelf software that Wal-Mart can buy and use without extreme customization. Absolutely none.… Read more