When the coronavirus pandemic hit earlier this year, Alonso Yañez, CIO of Walmart’s operations in Mexico and Central America, sprang into action, triggering the retailer’s crisis management plan and leading its ongoing response.

After quickly upgrading his remote-access infrastructure, Yañez sent all 1,000 of his IT staffers home, where they have been working ever since. That remote IT group has been able to support Walmart’s massive operations in the region—nearly 2,400 stores, 42,000 providers and vendors in the supply chain, and 200,000 employees.

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At the same time, Walmart accelerated its digital transformation efforts, creating an omnichannel buying experience for its customers. Now they can shop online and have products delivered, shop online and pick up at the store, shop at the store and pick up items ordered previously, or any combination thereof.

“Everything should be easier, independent of the channel, the situation, the location. That’s the intention, and that was the mission three or four years ago,” says Yañez. During the pandemic, with lockdowns and physical distancing, “everything is speeding up. It’s like a time machine. What we wanted three years ago and was part of our five-year mission is now reality.”

The result: Walmart stores and clubs—there’s one within 10 miles of nearly every home in Mexico—are open for business. Employee and customer safety is a priority. And e-commerce sales have registered triple-digit growth.

Walmart is a prime example of a company that has successfully negotiated a “digital pivot.” Virtually every company had a pre-existing digital transformation plan in place. In many cases, companies were diligently, but maybe not urgently, implementing their plans; in others, they had prolonged, multi-year programs. But the coronavirus pandemic presents a cataclysmic, once-in-a-lifetime disruption that is forcing companies to confront a new reality and reshuffle their digital transformation activities in order to survive.

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By: Jason Sparapani
Title: Succeed in tough times: Make a digital pivot
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2020/10/08/1009618/succeed-in-tough-times-make-a-digital-pivot/
Published Date: Thu, 08 Oct 2020 19:07:18 +0000




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