New Walmart lead director Jim Cash has an article out about how to “exploit IT for competitive advantage” in business, in which he rhapsodizes about IT’s role in promoting the “virtuous cycle of revenue growth and operational-efficiency improvements.”
Walmart has a well-known dedication to “driving the productivity loop” (Walmart’s preferred nomenclature for Dr. Cash’s “virtuous cycle”). But unfortunately for the company, and for Dr. Cash, there’s currently a real, live case study out there of how that “virtuous cycle” isn’t a sustainable or successful business model—and that case study is Walmart itself. The company’s frenzied attempts to keep up the virtuous cycle have affected Walmart’s store operations. Walmart’s vaunted loop is starting to look more like this:
That’s neither virtuous nor productive. It can’t be a good sign that Cash, one of the company’s key leaders, apparently hasn’t noticed that his preferred business model isn’t working out so well lately in the real world. Who’s going to step up and lead Walmart to a business model that works?