Guest Blog: Chantell Comberger, Vice President, Business Development, Retail, CPC
My colleagues at IGEL and I are campaigning these days for disruption of the end user computing (EUC) environment. No longer are the old-fashioned ideas of local endpoint computing working. It’s a virtual, nimble, lightning-fast world and we need to enable this environment, rather than be the block. Having worked for a major global retailer, I can tell you that retail is more than ready for this disruption, notably at the point of sale (PoS).
Right now, retailers are, for the most part, working with PoS technology that refreshes every 7-10 years. In today’s environment that seems a snail’s pace, but for retailers it makes sense. Their investment is significant. Refreshing and maintaining the technology really isn’t their core competency. During that cycle while retailers are innovating, the PoS device itself is literally behind the times and is inflexible and unable to scale to handle new innovations. Therefore additional dollars are spent on other technology to support the new innovative solutions, adding more complexity to the environment.
When retailers do refresh they use the same legacy solutions, becoming even less competitive. They compound the error by continuing with an operating system that does not scale, puts consumer data at risk and is virtually impossible to manage. Add to this the complexity of highly distributed environments such as remote store locations, and lack of on-site IT support, and you can see these ‘refreshes’ take too much time, don’t meet the needs of retailers or customers and costs far outweigh value.
New Point of [Sale] View
Six years into working at my global retailer, a career that spanned a total 17 years, I was done with suffering through the inefficiencies and nightmare of deploying fat clients. We were on a growth curve that eventually went from 2,200 stores and 6,600 PoS to 5,000 stores and over 17,000 PoS systems. I knew we needed to find a solution that could support our growth, and at the same time, be flexible enough to accommodate store and system changes. We discovered IGEL and its advanced thin client software. Not only did it bring us a solution that worked but it inspired the evolution of my thinking from point of sale to point of service.
I wanted to give our associates the best possible environment in which to drive customer engagement. That meant removing dependency on the endpoints and migrating to solutions that leveraged virtualization, reduced complexity, standardized management and enabled more flexibility and scalability. Voila! IGEL’s thin client software is a secure Operating System (OS) that supports virtualization and provides a consistent, scalable platform across registers, kiosks and mobile devices. You can extend the life of legacy equipment with IGEL software, repurposing any x86 device to a new OS, connecting the user to virtualization solutions. And you can make changes as the landscape evolves without sacrificing additional resources, losing capabilities or investing in additional equipment or management solutions.
As further perspective: your edge devices such as your phones or tablets are purpose built to deliver consistent access to applications. Retailers need this endpoint strategy – an edge device that can shift with changing consumer buying options. At the same time, it is imperative that those point of service endpoints enhance the security of the environment, especially in retail where customer confidence is critical. IGEL OS is a read-only file system with embedded security features, ensuring that every boot-up is safe. Your customer data is secure, and your devices can access application and data from a central, secure, controlled environment.
Let’s not forget the ultimate purpose of disrupting PoS: serving the customer better. Your devices, in every store, at every point-of-sale, must make stepping into a store an enjoyable, fun, and uplifting experience! What the consumer experiences online, they need to experience in the store with the associate being knowledgeable and having access to the same tools and information as the consumer. That requires secure, point-of-service devices that provide a consistent experience across all stores. And it means a solution like IGEL that makes it simple, smart and secure to change with the retail landscape. The static 7-to-10-year cycle doesn’t work today. Virtualize your environment with IGEL OS and join our disrupting force of innovators!