Walmart has revealed details for a new HQ in its home town of Bentonville, Arkansas as it looks to step up its digital strategy and attract the “next generation of talent”.
“Associates have heard leadership say time and again, Walmart is people-led and tech-empowered. For that statement to continue to guide us, we need a modern, connected campus,” says Dan Bartlett, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs. “We expect this will accelerate Walmart’s digital transformation and help attract the next generation of talent with state-of-the-art technology and contemporary conveniences.”
Demolition of existing buildings, infrastructure and utility construction will begin this summer. In the next 18-24 months, the support and office buildings will be designed and construction will begin. The goal is to open in phases between 2020 and 2024.
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Blockchain technology is playing a key role in Walmart’s digital transformation efforts.
It invested over $11 billion in technology last year, it revealed at NRF 2019, which took place in New York earlier this year. That makes it the third biggest spender in the world after Amazon and Alphabet.
It is also looking to hire 2,000 technology experts this year to support its omnichannel efforts. The world’s biggest retailer is on the hunt for the likes of data scientists, software engineers and designers to work in nine offices from Silicon Valley to Bangalore, Walmart Chief Technology Officer Jeremy King said. The group that King leads currently has about 7,500 employees after hiring 1,700 last year.
King is, somewhat unsurprisingly, inundated with ideas from others. He gets a pitch every day about blockchain. But any initiative has to include a conversation about scale. Most don’t build solutions for a Fortune 1 company, he said.
“I’m always talking to people about, ‘That’s a great idea,’” he added. “‘Now, how do you scale it to 5,000 stores?’”