Retail is a fast-paced environment that offers plenty of challenges for IT managers. This is not helped by the fact that online merchants are mercilessly building empires, which offer a very different cost structure than brick and mortar retail stores. These days, customers can enjoy window-shopping at home while binging on ice cream in their pajamas. They might even have an online chat conversation with sales personnel. Yikes!
You don’t need to be a self-taught genius who devours business books to realize that many brick and mortar retail operations need to accept “never leaving the couch” as the new normal. An obvious way to compete in this world is to make the shopping experience pleasantly memorable. Customers expect good prices, friendly and knowledgeable customer service, and fast checkout.
Additionally, as in any business transaction, there’s the implied trust in the merchant’s ability to keep personally identifiable information and payment details private.
Retail is more computerized than ever
So where does the IT manager come into all this? Well, any reasonably sized retail environments need pretty complex networking these days. Few things are more frustrating for a customer than not being able to pay for a product or service in a hurry, so outages are a no-no. Network reliability must be a priority.
Making things more complicated, tills and Point of Sale systems are now often computers, in the sense that they rely on standard operating systems, often Windows, with highly specialized application software. Point of Sale computers may talk to servers, placed on the local network or remotely.
Among our customers, we have people maintaining such environments, and from our experience, all the standard challenges of PC networks do apply: Point of Sale computers need maintenance and support, and retail software vendors may have no part in that.
However, the good news is that with the right tools, nothing’s stopping you from keeping a retail network as responsibly maintained as the desktops and laptops in an office network.
You can prevent and recover quicker from downtime
One of the most pressing challenges facing retail companies is the issue of monitoring. Retail support often has no means for quickly seeing the status of Point of Sale computers and printers. Happily, the Miradore Management Suite provides just that, along with comprehensive system reports.
A particular challenge related to monitoring is storage. Thanks to Miradore inventories, notifications, and automated events, support can react to and prevent problems with RAID, such as failing disks, before they get worse. Additionally, information on the disk space on tills and servers is available, as is a plethora of other parameters, such as installed software and system temperature.
You get a clear picture of your IT Inventory
Modern retail operations often rely on advanced, just in time logistics. Effective systems require information from super local to global and are built on a solid understanding of inventory and demand. With Miradore Management Suite, retail support can run a similarly tight ship by knowing what hardware is or is not being used.
What’s more, whenever you have new tills and peripherals, Miradore can automatically create asset items for the configuration management database in ServiceNow. All this works across large deployments where hostnames may be less than unique. There’s no need to add unnecessary and expensive moving parts either. Miradore Management Suite works both with and without Microsoft Active Directory.
You can distribute licenses and updates with ease
It’s often the case that updates are problematic. For example, with one of our clients, all updates to software were aggregated to “gold builds”, which were pushed out as complete OS images with all necessary software baked in. If this sounds convoluted to you, you’re right. In fact, regular rollouts of updated OS images would be prohibitively expensive. With Miradore, software upgrades and security updates can be rolled out to existing installs. It’s easy and cost-effective, and a whole lot safer than gambling with unmaintained software. Even better, now our client’s new system uses the Miradore Management Suite, it’s a breeze to make software inventory and license reports readily accessible.
There’s no doubt that modern retail businesses benefit hugely from IT systems management software. If your business falls into this category, be sure to check out the Miradore Management Suite. We’re always available to tell you more, so if you have any questions about how we can help, let us know.