Developing A Winning IT Strategy
Like all industries, the retail sector today faces tight margins and staying competitive means having to streamline operations at all times. In any case, adopting the correct IT solution is the first step to business success. This applies to all, whether you operate in the corporate headquarters, in warehousing, in factory shops or retail stores. Retail companies are always looking for cost-effective solutions that simplify processes, deliver flexibility and make good use of resources.
As a result, IT teams clearly have a lot to do. Apart from facilitating secure access to information, they need to oversee systems performance in marketing, merchandise management, and supply logistics. These three are the key drivers for retail success and failure for either to comply can bring operations to a standstill. In short, reliable software and computers ensure that teams operate at their optimal level and strive for continuous growth.
The Problem With Traditional Desktop Computing
Using fat clients is no longer viable, given the vastness of retail and nature of the tasks it undertakes. Imagine running a PC with important features that should never be compromised on especially during crunch time or high seasonal demand. Examples include applications, memory and sensitive data like customer orders, complaints or suggestions.
Let’s assume that your computer suddenly decides to crash. In this situation, you can expect your hard disk to be affected. Even then, it is still rare to lose all your files and data. Now, here is the tricky side of things. Disk activity and nature of the crash matter because files or data being written at that time can be lost/damaged. Repairing and replacing the machine is one thing. Think about the risks this can pose to business reputation and revenue, not to mention unhappy customers. This comes as no surprise because thick clients are generally more susceptible to hardware problems, malware and virus attacks.
So, you know that it is time to transform your old tech. The question is: where do you start?
The Solution-Thin Client Computing
What are Thin Client computers? They are lightweight devices where features found on PCs like applications, information and memory are stored in data centers. These endpoints running virtualization software/Remote Desktop Protocols RDP like Windows Terminal Services and Citrix HDX access hard drives stored on Blade PCs or servers. So, Thin Client computing consists of back end hardware, Thin Client software services, and devices. All these make it a complete Virtual Desktop Infrastructure VDI model.
Such endpoints essentially function as PC replacement technology. They help users immediately access virtualized desktops and applications from any location. Now, there are many benefits of using these devices in retail. Let’s examine each one of them in the following sections.
Firstly, IT concerns caused by legacy systems make it difficult to rapidly add extra workstations and new store locations. You can easily use Thin Clients to overcome this limitation as they centralize information and applications in a single server location. What’s more, their plug-and-play feature allows additional offices and stores to be set up almost instantly.
A common trend in the retail sector today is workstation standardization. Server-based computing (SBC) with powerful and efficient Thin Clients are replacing costly PC-based client/server networks. In the SBC model, all applications and data backups are centrally run on terminal servers. This enables users to always access the same desktop regardless of location. SBC facilitates a reliable and centralized management system which also enables extra workstations to be integrated easily and quickly. This automatically minimizes the need for onsite IT support and maintenance, hence allowing you to save money on administration.
One of the most important considerations in a retail environment is data security. After all, a desktop virtualization plan backed by smart Thin Client solutions not only decreases interruptions and guarantees maximum system uptime. Thin Client solutions dynamically reduce data breach risk as all information is stored in a server instead of separate hard drives. This is especially beneficial for retail operations that manage confidential client details and credit card data.
The sole focus of retail operations should be to serve customers and make sure that their needs are always met. In any case, IT must ensure that the retail industry prioritizes core business instead of doing the heavy lifting on technology.
Now, customers settle for nothing less than an engaging UX with a PC-like performance for POS applications and in-store displays. To start with, wear and tear is a problem with most POS endpoint devices, especially during sale seasons. This is where multiple retail staff members and high customer volumes introduce the need for durable devices. Once again, Thin Client terminals score because they have limited moving parts. Hence, they are durable resources that can withstand such challenging environments.
Next, the last thing you would want to worry about is how much a specific solution and its implementation will cost. This is particularly true especially if it can help your business go a long way. Luckily, Thin Client technology offers the most affordable solutions when it comes to retail computing. An average workstation is available at a fairly low price and you do not need to replace Thin Client terminals often. The reason is they have a longer lifespan as compared to standalone endpoints. All these factors contribute to savings in the long run.
For further details on what is Thin Client technology, please contact the ClearCube team. We are online and ready to assist you with any questions you may have. You can also avail a Free Demo unit on these endpoints to see them in action.