Case Study

Global Retailer: Road to Digitization

Cisco Meraki rollout strengthens network infrastructure and provides integration opportunities to deliver new customer experiences

The modern retail market is difficult to navigate, even for well-established organizations.

A global retail company was struggling to reconcile the vision of their future IT state with the limitations presented by their outdated network infrastructure. While the Retailer had “Store of the Future” plans, it could not quickly evaluate and implement the technology needed to achieve their digital vision.

The condition of the Retailer’s legacy wireless infrastructure barred implementation of several major initiatives they hoped would drive a better customer experience, including advanced customer analytics, centralized management and a next-generation point-of-sale system armed with mobile checkout capabilities.

The Retailer’s network also lacked the sophistication to capitalize on the company’s vast real estate investments. They were unable to use data to pinpoint under-performing stores for deep evaluation, identify stores ripe for expansion or help recognize potential markets for new locations.

Engagement

It was becoming urgent for the Retailer to identify the best platform on which to build the new standard for their wireless networks, because many of their current access points (APs) were nearing end of life. To choose the platform on which to build their advanced network, the Retailer initiated pilot rollouts of two separate solutions, one of which was WWT’s proposed Cisco Meraki solution. A successful, effective proof of concept (POC) would determine which solution would be deployed throughout the organization.

Along with the pilot demonstration, WWT collaborated with Meraki teams to develop a runbook for the Retailer, which provided operations procedures and other information about the proposed solution, for the Retailer’s systems administrators. Its intent was to improve the customer’s knowledge and comfort level with Meraki and provide sufficient documentation to share during or following the POC process.

Following the successful POC and solution training, the Retailer decided to move forward with a Cisco Meraki deployment at approximately 2,500 retail locations, as well as a number of corporate offices and distribution centers.

To meet the customer’s timeline, WWT performed 45 to 50 cutovers per night during the course of the rollout. WWT’s Professional Services and integration capabilities enabled the Retailer to increase deployment speed and reduce field engineering costs through supply chain services that included systems pre-configuration, staging, integration, just-in-time delivery and expert installation.

Integration Opportunities

With the integration capabilities offered by Cisco Meraki, the Retailer’s ability to deal with unexpected network issues improved.

For example, the customer rolled out iPads at flagship stores for faster, cashless checkout that could compete with online retailers. However, they began experiencing bottlenecks when processing mobile transactions, and checkout times rose to ten seconds. In the modern retail market, where online checkouts happen instantly, this wait time led to frustrated customers leaving the store without making any purchases.

The Retailer’s Meraki network was able to integrate with the AppDynamics monitoring solution, allowing their IT staff to pinpoint and remedy checkout bottlenecks quickly. This reduced the checkout time to approximately three seconds and alleviated customer frustration.

Outcomes

Meraki is designed for ease of use and analytic capabilities, which are key for this customer to achieve its digital transformation objectives. WWT provides out-of-the-box Meraki capabilities and customizable solutions, as well as the Branch of the Future, a recently announced managed service offering.

The customer is now able to leverage Meraki’s cloud-based management system to achieve their store deployment and maintenance goals without worrying about the complexities or risk of running data center and wireless controllers in-store. Using Cisco Meraki, the retailer has the ability to spin stores up or down more efficiently to maximize the ROI of their real estate investments.

With Meraki implemented for wireless connectivity, WWT can help elevate the Retailer’s investments and pursue digital transformation initiatives with capabilities in the Advanced Technology Center (ATC). A solid network foundation and new, cutting-edge technologies will help the Retailer better support their internal users and end customers within the quickly changing retail market.

The organization now has a strategy for implementing analytics tools and integrating customer data into their flexible Meraki network. As they look to build out their “Stores of the Future,” they can rely on WWT as both an industry advisor as well as a unique platform for testing and delivering the latest technology.