This paper maps out the most common challenges and potential pitfalls of point of service (POS) asset management that IT staff face in the retail sector and explains how Miradore Management Suite can help to overcome these daily challenges. Besides providing solutions for the challenges, Miradore Management Suite also enables several ways to lower the enterprise total costs of ownership (TCO) while enhancing the quality of the services at the same time. Additionally, Miradore Management Suite consolidates the whole retail chain’s IT and POS asset management from the point of sale to the head office to a single console, thus minimizing redundancy in device management and improving security by increasing transparency to the whole IT infrastructure across the enterprise.
Challenges in retail markets
Typical challenges that IT staff encounter when managing a retail IT infrastructure originate from the characteristics of retail business like a widely spread retail chain or a high diversity of POS devices. This often results in demand for multiple management solutions to cover all essential management tasks, not to mention additional features that are desired by the IT staff. So, it is easy to understand that without a unified configuration management system in place, it may be challenging or even impossible to rationalize purchases, measure the usage of currently owned devices and software, or calculate the TCO accurately.
The following bullets point out a few of the most common challenges:
- IT staff productivity suffers from switching between separate management systems and gathering data from multiple sources which leads to demand of more full-time equivalents (FTEs).
- Most asset management solutions are incompatible with retailing environments, because they lack sufficient platform coverage or do not provide support for devices that are not connected to Microsoft Active Directory (AD). Moreover, many of the management solutions have high bandwidth requirements for data transmission.
- Management solutions on markets rarely provide tools for making remote configuration changes to POS devices. Therefore, software and operating system installations must be done manually on-site for each device.
- Demand for multiple management systems leads to a disintegrated IT infrastructure, which makes the mapping of organizational structure a time-consuming and complex task. The lack of transparency and extensive reporting tools also endangers the security and performance of the infrastructure.
- Power saving initiatives cannot be applied to POS devices, which significantly increases the enterprise TCO. Especially with the steadily rising price of the electricity, the power costs of POS devices are surprisingly high because the devices are typically running 24/7 every day, all year round. Besides electricity costs, the lack of power management capabilities also increases carbon emissions.
- Problem management tools are not designed to be used with POS devices. Therefore, technical problems and upcoming interruptions like a receipt printer or any other USB device reaching the end of its life cannot be proactively monitored. What’s more, when events are not notified or reported, the recurring incidents and emerging trends cannot be detected either. Thus, the same problems may continue causing repeated service outages.
As we can see from above, POS asset management is often an expensive group of processes that is developed around multiple separate tools and technologies, hence leading to inefficiencies through redundancy and costly integration projects, not to mention investments in multiple systems. Unfortunately, even then, management processes often fail to deliver sufficient understanding and transparency of the big picture.
Miradore turns challenges into opportunities
Miradore Management Suite is a unified, web-based IT lifecycle management system with integrated asset management, configuration management, and lifecycle management tools built around ITIL best practices. The underlying internally-integrated design and easy-to-use interface have led to a revolutionary approach to systems management. This brings transparency to all functions involved in the device lifecycle management, including installation, monitoring, device management, and software distribution. Along with improvements in security, Miradore Management Suite also decreases the demand for FTEs since time is not wasted in switching between multiple solutions.
Miradore Management Suite’s dynamic real-time asset management system automatically keeps track of configurations and configuration changes across the whole enterprise and provides up-to-date information about all IT assets – from POS devices, handhelds, and smartphones to desktops and servers. Since Miradore Management Suite natively supports a multitude of device platforms, the management of all devices in the enterprise can be consolidated to a single management system that is accessible with an easy-to-use web console. What’s more, Miradore Management Suite also supports devices that are not connected to AD. In addition, Miradore Management Suite provides accurate real-time usage measurements and inventory information of installed software and peripheral devices.
With Miradore Management Suite’s built-in configuration management capabilities, changes to devices are easily implemented and automatically recorded in the configuration management database. In addition, Miradore Management Suite makes automated data back-ups of important files, thus increasing the data security of critical devices and preventing outages in services. When a device is re-installed, all the required information is re-applied to the device, thereby eliminating the need for technicians to spend hours restoring the device to its original state. Re-installation and configuration of devices and applications can be done remotely in a completely zero touch fashion. Quick and easy software distribution also gives new strategic possibilities to respond to changing demands or markets while also decreasing the demand for FTEs.
Miradore Management Suite’s automated monitoring system constantly observes the changing IT infrastructure on different levels and signals whenever defined events occur, thus preventing incidents and stabilizing the environment. The monitoring system is highly configurable, which allows the enterprise’s IT staff to adjust the system to meet the unique demands of the enterprise. Miradore Management Suite’s event monitoring feature can, for example, send email or SMS alerts to specified people when a cash register or any other device is switched on/off, hard disk space is reaching defined limits, or a receipt printer or other USB device is reaching the end of its life.
Miradore Management Suite is delivered as a service by our partners including some leading global IT Service providers, which obviates the need for Miradore users to download and install updates by themselves. The software as a service philosophy also assures that we can provide frequent releases with high quality, since our customers provide us a lot of feedback and suggestions for improvements.
Miradore Management Suite is a cost-efficient and scalable solution for implementing POS asset management in retail environments as our pay-as-you-go licensing model is based on a per-device monthly fee, which means that if the number of devices fluctuates, the costs always adjust accordingly. Furthermore, as opposed to other systems, Miradore Management Suite integrates all aspects of retail asset management to a single solution, thus removing the need for multiple separate management systems.
And besides, Miradore Management Suite also works well with low capacity data transmission channels which makes it a convenient solution for retailers.
Potential annual savings in power costs using Miradore Management Suite in an environment of 1000 POS devices.
- Average power consumption of a single POS device is around 100W and most POS devices run 24 hours/day, 365 days a year.
- According to Europe’s Energy Portal, the average cost of electricity in Europe is around 0.20 EUR/kWh and the costs are continually rising.
The following figures are based on an estimate that Miradore Management Suite can decrease the daily power consumption of each device by 10 hours, simply by powering down the devices overnight and waking them up again in the morning.
Annual power costs without Miradore Management Suite: 100W * 24h = 2.4kWh * 0.20 EUR/day * 365 * 1000 = 175 200 EUR.
Power costs with Miradore Management Suite: 100W * (24h – 10h) = 1.4kWh * 0.20 EUR/day * 365 * 1000 = 102 200 EUR.
Potential savings: 175 200 – 102 200 = 73 000EUR/Year (42%)
What’s more, when applied to all corporate IT infrastructure the savings in power costs increase as the power consumption of the devices increases.
Miradore Management Suite automates many POS asset management processes, improves the security and brings add-on value for retailers by providing real-time visibility to the whole IT infrastructure including POS devices through a single unified solution. In addition, Miradore Management Suite helps to enhance customer satisfaction since service outages can usually be prevented.
Since Miradore Management Suite is especially developed for managing heterogeneous environments that consist of various types of devices working through data transmission channels with low capacity, it is perhaps the most reliable and robust solution for retail asset management on the market. In contrast to other management solutions available, Miradore Management Suite supports practically all major software and hardware platforms which enables more cost-efficient and simple management of the diverse environments, as only one solution is required for managing all the devices.
What’s more, Miradore Management Suite is continuously developing its solution based on customer feedback, ensuring that the future needs of customers are also taken into consideration.
Find out how Miradore Management Suite can help you achieve the strategic edge on markets by providing a cost-effective solution to make your IT infrastructure more transparent, secure, and easy to manage.