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8/1/2007
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In A Big Win For HP, Wal-Mart Chooses Neoview Data Warehouse

Wal-Mart's choice gives HP a much-needed endorsement of its business-intelligence software play, and raises questions about the retailer's relationship with Teradata.

When it comes to getting an early endorsement of a risky product introduction, it doesn't get much better for a technology vendor than this: Wal-Mart has chosen Hewlett-Packard's fledgling Neoview data warehouse for business intelligence across its 4,000 U.S. stores, the companies announced Wednesday.

It's a huge win for HP, which entered the well-established data warehouse market with its announcement in April of Neoview, born in its research labs and built first for its internal use. HP CEO Mark Hurd, who ran NCR and its Teradata division before joining HP two years ago, drove the Neoview project.

Wal-Mart has been a marquee customer of Teradata -- its Teradata installation is one of the world's largest data warehouses and plays a key role in a data-sharing network with suppliers called Retail Link. It's unclear how the HP win will affect the Teradata relationship; it seems unlikely Wal-Mart will rip out all of its Teradata investments, yet any win by HP for data warehousing takes away potential business from Teradata. HP and Wal-Mart officials weren't immediately available for comment Wednesday morning.

HP CIO Randy Mott also likely played a key role in getting Wal-Mart's business. Mott was previously CIO of Wal-Mart, where he worked 22 years, before moving on to Dell as CIO, and finally to HP in July 2005.

"The HP partnership is part of a continued effort to drive innovation into every facet of Wal-Mart's business and IT operations," said Nancy Stewart, Wal-Mart chief technology officer, in a statement. Wal-Mart's experience with Neoview "has proven that we made the right decision to partner with HP for our next-generation business intelligence needs," said Jim Scantlin, Wal-Mart's director of enterprise information management, in a statement.

HP has been working hard in the past year to expand its software business as it faces slowing growth in the increasingly commoditized hardware market. Business intelligence is a hot market, but the data warehouse segment will be a particularly tough nut to crack. IBM, Oracle, SAS, Teradata, and Microsoft hold about 85% of the $5.2 billion market, a sector IDC projects will grow 9.5% annually through 2010.

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