Enterprise mobility best practices for retail mobile devices

How To Securely Deploy & Manage 2000+ Mobile Devices Across Multiple Territories

Chosen as the trusted partner, Leopard Systems have been instrumental in delivering new handheld Android mobile devices, along with a mobile device management (MDM) and ongoing MDM monitoring solution, to one of Australia’s largest department store retailers.

With expanding operations in new locations and a growing need to enhance their enterprise mobility ‘best practice’ efforts including secure digital communications, rapid data access and reliable functionality, a robust and flexible mobility management solution was required.

Aside from a great saving on capital infrastructure costs through LeopardCare Monitoring, the retailer also achieved full visibility of their 2000+ mobile assets, actionable insights to fix issues quickly, and a seamless system for future device and software updates.
Consequently, Leopard Systems implemented their secure MDM solution, LeopardCare Monitoring, for the large fleet of handheld enterprise-grade mobile devices used across the retailer’s Australian and New Zealand operations. These mobile computers are primarily utilised by retail store and warehouse staff to deliver efficient product stocktaking and inventory management capabilities.

The challenge: Letting go of legacy

Building on the previous year’s procurement and roll-out of 2000+ rugged Zebra TC70 mobile devices, running the Android operating system, the challenge for the retailer was how to successfully transition away from an archaic, increasingly cumbersome mobile device management (MDM) platform, that had become historically entwined in the organisation due to the company’s old legacy Windows Mobile devices.

This ageing MDM application was severely impairing operations.  After persisting with the legacy platform for 12 months, the retailer consulted Leopard’s MDM specialists for advice and a strategy for the future. Unfortunately, the legacy MDM platform was limited in its functions and extremely vulnerable to security breaches.

Leopard Systems advised that the old mobility management application would not provide the best business outcomes for the retailer’s new Android devices.

Android is now the preferred platform for enterprise scale mobile fleets
Additionally, the excessive cost and capital expenditure to run dedicated servers for the old mobility platform was becoming a financial burden to the retailer. The costs associated with hosting, licensing and maintaining the servers, training and hiring staff to adequately monitor the entire system, forced the retailer to re-assess how MDM management could be better managed and funded in the future.

To retain a competitive edge in the retail market, plus harness the speed and efficiencies of new technologies, the retailer decided to update and migrate their mobility management to LeopardCare Monitoring – to optimise their investment in new Android hardware.

Navigating the Next Generation

By choosing to upgrade to Android, it was Leopard’s role to help the retailer navigate the next-generation of enterprise mobility best practice, and transition the new Android devices to a robust and secure MDM mobility management solution in readiness for years of efficient operation and business growth.

Compared to the previous system, the new Android devices can be updated remotely in a seamless and systematic way, thus keeping a large fleet of mobile computers connected operationally, up to date with security patches, firmware releases and new features. Remotely updating many devices simultaneously was impossible on the retailer’s old system.

Likewise, Android continuously updates every quarter, so ensuring these updates are correctly installed on every device is important to achieve the best mobility results.

The ‘enterprise mobility best practice’ solution

To deliver enterprise mobility best practice for the retailer, Leopard Systems sought to future-proof their MDM management within a flexible, robust and effective system, implemented in four weeks.

Dedicated Leopard Systems personnel and our comprehensive LeopardCare Monitoring service unite to deliver the latest enterprise mobility best practice. 

The retailer’s mobile device fleet was kept secure and fully operational via a hosted ‘paid connected device’ model, offsetting prohibitive licensing, server and human resources costs.

“Our technicians monitor the entire system 24/7 via incoming alerts and notifications to our Technical Services headquarters. We continuously detect the health of all the devices in our care. Our technical mobility management team then take proactive steps to rectify any issues arising before they cause user problems and/or business disruptions”, said Chris DeLeon, Systems Engineering Manager for Leopard Systems.
In the case of this major Australian department store retailer, Leopard Systems incorporated the following enterprise mobility best practices into their MDM solution:

  • Mobile security to keep company information secure and private by implementing correct measures for controlling access credentials, applying policies, preventing data leakage and eliminating virus attacks on networks, devices and apps. 
  • Cloud computing to affordably and rapidly store and retrieve company information, via various networked platforms and devices, from any Internet-enabled location for remote users.
  • Monitored infrastructure to adjust for real-time network bandwidth consumption and prioritise network traffic, across different locations and multiple devices.
  • Monitored fleet network to rapidly and effectively diagnose complex problems via remote real-time communications, and also to manage the mobility network effectively for superior coverage, up-time and visibility.
  • Mobility management interface to connect services and manage devices easily; linking databases, transactions, deliveries, inventory and other business systems for enterprise mobility best practice compliance, compatibility and administration.
  • Data analytics and reporting to understand and monitor device use in real time, as well as update and improve infrastructure and systems according to user experiences.

In essence, by setting up LeopardCare Monitoring for the retailer’s entire device fleet we achieved enterprise mobility best practices via a streamlined, fully monitored, cloud-based MDM solution.

LeopardCare Monitoring is a professionally managed service, powered by SOTI MobiControl, that delivers a robust enterprise mobility best practise tool for our clients.

SOTI MobiControl’s ‘single pane of glass’ management dashboard is designed to streamline our technicians’ capabilities and improve MDM troubleshooting of diverse mobile device types and operating systems in difficult environments (e.g. mobile label printers).

For example, we can detect how many devices have been offline, how many are in use, what’s their battery status, is a battery expiring due to age, etc, then take proactive steps if we identify an issue, such as sending out a ready-to-work replacement device, loaded with the latest company solution, ready to replace a failing device.

The convenience of being able to manage stock from the floor in a large department store
Often, we find problems before the customer is even aware of them, saving time that would be otherwise wasted fault finding and, therefore, keeping operations running smoothly.

Achieving best practice mobility results

With 1700 mobile devices currently up and running, and 300+ devices to connect in the next month or so, the retailer’s new mobile security and mobility management solution will support more than 50 retail stores and numerous distribution warehouses across Australia and New Zealand.

Compared to previously not knowing what type or how many devices were in each store, now the retailer has complete visibility of all device assets and insights on how well they are operating.

Importantly, new rugged Android devices with professional mobility management provides a future-proof mechanism for seamlessly updating devices in the field.

For example, the retailer can now easily and automatically upgrade each device to the latest operating system, because the network is well-equipped to handle the heavy load – i.e. a 1.5 GB file per device for up to 2000 devices simultaneously. This processing was out of the question on the former mobility management platform.

“Leopard’s core strength with LeopardCare Monitoring is our attention to detail during the Design and Implementation phases of delivering a solution. Understanding all the technical, business and operational factors allows us to prepare a seamless and robust integration with no impact on day-to-day operations and, ultimately, with the goal to provide an excellent customer experience,” said Mr DeLeon.

Furthermore, the consistent ‘managed service’ costs of LeopardCare Monitoring becomes an operating expense and helps with cashflow forecasting. By removing the expense of buying and running servers, purchasing licences for servers and no longer paying a full-time engineer’s salary to manage and maintain the system and infrastructure, offers major cost benefits. Before this, the retailer was paying these costs but not receiving the full benefit, nor the best solution outcome for their requirements.

Lastly, the peace of mind and confidence that every device in the retailer’s fleet is connected and being monitored 24/7 cannot be underestimated. Circumventing a device issue quickly and effectively is vital to achieve efficient warehouse and store operations for optimal stock inventory management.

For more information about mobile security and MDM monitoring for your Android devices, particularly if you operate in a retail environment, talk to Leopard Systems today.