POS Upgrade Deployment Restrictions
Fred Meijer’s motto was: “Customers don’t need us, we need them.” At Meijer, the focus is squarely on customers and thriving by meeting their needs and exceeding their expectations. Across the stores, thousands of point-of-sale (POS) registers and smart scales aim to make the Meijer shopping experience seamless and user-friendly. The highly customized POS application has served the organization well for more than 40 years, meeting unique geographic and demographic market demands. Ryan Cichewicz, Senior Systems Engineer for Meijer, explains the challenges associated with a long-standing and business-critical application: “We could only deploy quarterly updates to the POS system. This would involve a visit to each store to re-image a POS device. It was a time-consuming manual effort contracted through a third party, working in collaboration with onsite technical resources, requiring a significant financial investment for each update. Of course, the retail market changes much more quickly than just quarterly, and as a team we could not adjust to respond faster. Replacing the POS application was not an option due to the level of customization over the years.
We were between a rock and a hard place; needing to support the business with increasingly sophisticated and customized promotional campaigns, but unable to deploy new updates faster than we were. In addition to this, Meijer is a company that focuses on steady growth and several new stores are added each year. We need to support these new stores too.”
ZENworks Accelerates Development and Deployment
To react to consumer and market demands more frequently and with greater accuracy, the team looked for automation deployment support. Rigorous market research of the available options led to Micro Focus ZENworks. A competitive proof-of-concept with two vendors showed ZENworks to be feature-rich with ‘zero effort’ capabilities. Leveraging ZENworks allows Meijer’s centralized IT administration office to remotely reimage POS terminals with zero-touch deployment which was just what the team was looking for. ZENworks Configuration Management and ZENworks Patch Management were integrated into Meijer’s software delivery pipeline. ZENworks takes the output of Meijer’s continuous integration process and enables continuous delivery directly to the quality assurance systems for testing and validation. Publishing the QA-tested build to production is completed by a simple approval in ZENworks resulting in an automated deployment to the production POS devices.
ZENworks Configuration Management provides the automated package creation with deployment scheduled within constrained maintenance windows. By separating development from production, Meijer created network bandwidth efficiency and a more streamlined application lifecycle management process.
Improved Customer Experience and Reduced Costs
“Leveraging ZENworks not only saves us a considerable amount of resources, it also improves our security position and reduces our risk. We use ZENworks Patch Management to automatically patch our systems, ensuring our POS systems always comply with the latest security settings,” says Cichewicz. “Supported by Micro Focus, we changed our schedule from costly and manual quarterly updates to fully automated bi-weekly ones, resulting in significant saving each year versus the manual effort. Our accelerated development effort and frequent updates allow us to align far better with locally targeted promotions, meeting particular market and store needs.”
He concludes: “We are set up well for the future, and in a good position to support the introduction of new stores with an automated process for rapidly introducing new POS devices. ZENworks has given us a way to engage much more effectively with our business stakeholders and respond rapidly to new promotions with a 6-fold increase in update frequency. This improves our customer experience, which is always our ultimate goal.”