CIO First 100 Days | episode 322

Clay Johnson, Chief Information Officer of Walmart

January 01, 2018

Among other topics, Johnson discussed the following issues with Metis Strategy:

  • How the unification of the back-office technology and shared services teams under Clay enables Walmart to operate more efficiently
  • The consumerization of IT, and how that drives Clay’s focus on providing intuitive digital tools that enhance the productivity of Walmart’s two million employees
  • The importance of having employees with the right skills and mindset in the right roles, and how Walmart ensures it has the proper skills mix
  • Clay’s three-pronged approach to gaining an understanding of the needs of Walmart’s business and its massive workforce, and how that informs project prioritization within his 10,000-person team
  • The four key elements to creating a healthy culture: transparency, encouraging healthy debate, empowering people to speak up, and celebrating failure
  • How the shift to a product model and end-to-end ownership has improved internal efficiency
  • Walmart’s network of innovation centers, and how they leverage the surrounding ecosystem of academic institutions and startups
  • The key lessons Clay has taken away from the various experiences across his career
  • Walmart’s approach to artificial intelligence and the tangible benefits they are seeing

Clay is Executive Vice President of Global Business Services and Chief Information Officer of Walmart, a nearly $300 billion company that is both the world’s largest employer with 2.3 million employees and the world’s largest company by revenue with approximately $480 billion in 2016 revenue. Since joining Walmart this past January, Clay has led a global team of over 10,000 people focused on driving operational efficiencies, lowering costs and accelerating growth.

Prior to joining Walmart, Clay was the Chief Information Officer at General Electric Power. While at GE, Clay drove digital transformation efforts as a member of the Information Management Council and was also the executive sponsor of GE’s Veterans Network. Prior to GE, Clay held multiple leadership roles at The Boeing Company, including Vice President of Information Technology and Director of IT Manufacturing and Quality Systems, Director of Cybersecurity and Director of Finance and Human Resources Information Systems. He also served as an executive leader for Boeing’s Accelerated Leadership Program. Prior to joining Boeing, Clay was Director of Information Technology at Dell. Clay started his career as a software developer at FedEx.

Clay served five years in the United States Coast Guard, where he held numerous leadership positions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science engineering and an MBA from the University of Texas.


The World Class IT principles in yellow were the focus of this interview

  • 01 1- People
  • 02 2- Infrastructure
  • 03 3- Project and Portfolio Management
  • 04 4- IT & Business Partnership
  • 05 5- External Partnerships

From strategy to implementation

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