Without a way to accept payments, a retail store won’t make money. Any money.
When networked Point-of-Sale (POS) systems replaced traditional cash registers, benefits were clear, but the associated risks grew too. The consequence of a system crash is nothing short of devastating: with a blue screen on a POS device, the entire business comes to a halt.
With loss accumulating second by second, the lead-time from the hiccup to the right people being alerted to the problem being fixed is worth gold.
Looking at the potential damage, it’s surprising that POS device management is often not nearly as developed as the devices themselves. Even in retail chains, the dominant asset management system is still an Excel sheet. Real-time alerts or remote management functionalities are rare.
An integrated real-time dashboard would tell IT management whether the POS software in every device is up and running properly, and alert if hard drives are getting full, receipt printers are about to reach the end of their lifecycle, or device temperatures are running too high.
Technically, the crux of the challenge is that most IT asset management systems are Active Directory based. As AD is very typically not used in POS environments, POS devices are often run in a silo, separate from the rest of an organisation’s device management. Consequently, POS devices are not included in the centralised ICT device management dashboard.
The next step is simple enough. It’s time to destroy device management silos, integrate POS devices into the rest of the ICT environment, and centralise and automate their management. The device management of POS systems is far too important to be left for reactive Excel-based management.
There are numerous ways for the retail CIO of going about it. By utilising modern technology to proactively take charge of devices, the shopping experience of the customer is no longer at risk because of disparate and ad-hoc device management.
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