Opinion: Improving the Management of Mobile Devices in Retail

PMC Head of Service Design for Managed Services, Tom Gibson shares his thoughts on how retail and hospitality businesses can ensure that mobile devices work efficiently, allowing store staff to focus on the customer.

“The adoption of mobile devices has increased at pace, thanks to their increasing role in the store customer journey for transactions, customer data capture and clienteling. So it’s become vital to ensure that these mobile devices work efficiently, allowing store staff to focus on the customer.

We’ve also seen increasing hacker sophistication and ransomware attacks, meaning that devices require protection and additional security to safeguard company systems, data and reputation. Whilst mobile ransomware has been around for several years now, mobile devices are generally less well protected from malicious activity. There is also increased risk when they are the primary device for transactions, for example in the case of Mobile PoS, or in-store order capture.

"Best practice can protect devices, such as only downloading apps from trusted sources, or only connecting to a known Wi-Fi connection. However, within any estate, a user may decide to remove security software, download apps from unknown and nonsecure providers, or connect via an unsecured Wi-Fi. So devices need to be secured and protected against these risks."

Complexity and Cost Pressures can make Toolset Selection difficult

"Rapid growth in the number and type of devices planned or already deployed is creating hard-to-manage complexity. As businesses look to reduce internal IT overheads, a slimmed down internal support team can be at odds with an increasing number of mobile devices across the retail estate.

This can make selecting and managing complex toolsets and solutions more challenging. It’s not uncommon for retailers to select the most advanced and comprehensive tool that will perform every conceivable task and function. The market is saturated with sophisticated MDM or UEM toolsets and has been for quite some time. However, this copper-bottomed approach can be costly and is not without risk, as buying the toolset is just the first step.

Toolsets are expensive and delivering a positive return on investment isn’t as simple as it may seem. An expensive tool deployed poorly simply becomes a poor tool. Investments must deliver business value.

A toolset cost is more than just licensing; it includes the cost of the skills and resources necessary to correctly configure, deploy and manage the toolset. If these skills are not already in-house, add to that the cost of recruitment and training for the necessary skillsets."


Making informed choices about your MDM Strategy

"Enlisting the help of a Managed Service Provider (MSP) provides instant access to the specialist knowledge and expertise required to make informed choices about mobile device management strategy.

Working with a retail-specialist MSP means you have a service provider that not only understand mobile, but importantly understands the applications being used on the device, such as clienteling, stock, in-store ordering or mobile POS (MPOS).  These can be designed to work seamlessly with other retail IT services, governed by SLAs and delivered at a predictable, pre-agreed cost.

Look for a service provider with mobile device management and MDM toolset expertise. Not only will the need to recruit and train internally then disappear, but a service delivery management layer provides the assurance of performance and delivery quality."

Author: Tom Gibson, PMC Head of Service Design for Managed Services


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