Wal-Mart: A Chain Of Few Words

Wal-Mart is certainly a company of few words. But when the world's largest retailer (it's expecting to hit $400 billion in annual sales later this year or early next year) wants to make a technology endorsement, a few words are all that's necessary.

Such is the case with the announcement Monday (July 21) that Wal-Mart is standardizing on an Oracle business intelligence package—Oracle's Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition Plus (Oracle BI Suite EE Plus) to be precise.

An Oracle statement gave few details (OK, virtually no details) other than: "Wal-Mart plans to use the system to administer its logistics, transportation, category management, finance, human resources, real estate, merchandising, store and club operations and other business resources, within Wal-Mart and Sam's Clubs."

The statement also said that the BI app wouldn't be alone, as it said that Wal-Mart "recently implemented Oracle Retail applications including Oracle Retail Merchandise Financial Planning, Oracle Retail Item Planning and other elements of the Oracle Retail Suite as part of its merchandising transformation initiatives."

Of course, "recently" in Oracle parlance can be anything that happened in the last 11 months.

Wal-Mart spokesperson John Simley confirmed the purchase, but wouldn't go into any specifics about its usage or its cost, other than "we bought the product for a wide range of applications."

Yes, few details indeed came out of either side. But when Wal-Mart makes one of its landscape-shifting purchases, those few details are often more than enough.