Modern retail organizations have highly complex IT environments with many different types of endpoints spread across multiple geographies. The advent of mobile computing increases this complexity, adding new device types and expanding far beyond the traditional enterprise network.
Take Leroy Merlin, a home improvement and gardening retailer serving several countries throughout Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. Founded in 1923, the chain bills itself as a “DIY Hypermarket.”
The Challenge: Too Many Devices, Not Enough Resources
Jorge Diaz, systems specialist at Leroy Merlin Spain, and his team maintain a diverse range of devices. The fleet includes individual desktop PCs and laptops, point-of-sale (POS) systems, kiosks, and digital signage systems spanning 120 stores across Spain and Portugal. As part of the company’s digital transformation, Diaz needed a modern, centralized method for supporting those devices. Sending an IT associate to a store or taking time from an end user’s workday to walk them through repairs were no longer viable solutions at this scale.
It was important to Leroy Merlin to find technology with hardware-based, out-of-band management capabilities that enhanced and complemented its existing IT solutions. Current IT software options couldn’t fill this need.
The Solution: Remote Management Capabilities
Leroy Merlin had been using devices on the Intel vPro® platform for nearly 10 years, but had yet to take advantage of the technology’s powerful remote management tools via Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) and Intel® Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel® EMA).
Delivered as part of the Intel vPro platform, Intel AMT offers wireless device management capabilities that make it easy for IT to keep mission-critical resources running. This includes keyboard-video-mouse (KVM) over IP control, remote power control, hardware alarm clock, boot redirection, patch management, OS upgrades, and more.
Intel AMT uses Intel EMA software as its endpoint management console, enabling IT with the cloud-based functionality needed to manage devices both inside and outside the corporate firewall, even in the event of a system crash. With out-of-band manageability, IT teams can better manage and repair devices even when they’re powered off or the OS is unresponsive. These key functions are especially useful for managing unattended devices on the floor, or far-flung systems that are turned off at close of business.
Given Leroy Merlin’s longstanding relationship with Intel and OEM Dell, it made sense to activate the comprehensive manageability tool that was already in its toolbox across the enterprise.
Image: The Intel® EMA agent on each Intel vPro® platform-powered unit was installed and configured across 120 retail locations.
A Smooth Deployment
Close collaboration between Leroy Merlin, Dell, and Intel smoothed over any potential speed bumps in getting the technology integrated. The first step was to install and configure the Intel EMA agent on each Intel vPro platform-powered unit, which automatically configures the Intel AMT hardware on the devices. In the past, Intel AMT deployments required many manual tasks, but Intel EMA helps streamline the process.
“Intel EMA simplifies vPro deployments,” says Jose Romero, business development manager/presales technical consultant EMEA at Dell. “Before there were lots of requirements, and with Intel EMA, a very high percentage of those basically disappear. Implementation projects are reduced from weeks to days.”
Diaz used Symantec Altiris Deployment Solution to deploy Intel EMA across the enterprise by grouping devices by device model. If a device was powered down during this process, the remote manageability tools would be automatically installed the next time it was booted up, giving Diaz’s team immediate control of endpoints through Intel EMA. With this framework, Diaz was able to configure 4,500 devices in a single day.
While leveraging Intel EMA on AMT-enabled systems allows for robust management capabilities, Diaz also likes the fact that Intel EMA can manage non-Intel systems through its software agent, offering a subset of capabilities for non-AMT-enabled devices. This provides flexibility for companies servicing a mixed fleet.
Results: Faster Support, Greater Satisfaction
Leroy Merlin Spain’s digital transformation with Intel AMT and Intel EMA has helped the company reduce operational costs and work interruptions while minimizing end user distractions and support calls. Issues that used to require a visit from a technician can now be handled remotely at any time of day.
“Our main use case for Intel EMA is to provide support for every device across the Leroy Merlin network: stores, platforms, warehouses, and at home,” Diaz says. “Lots of people have been working from home since the pandemic, and we can now provide support without the end user having to download external third-party software that does not have the same IT validation.”
In addition, onboarding new equipment is a once-and-done process: Simply install the agent in the equipment and within minutes they have complete control over the device.
“The Intel EMA console opens up infinite benefits compared to the way we were operating before, including the ability to support equipment beyond the Leroy Merlin enterprise network. That was simply not possible with our old solution. For me, that’s key.” —Jorge Diaz, systems specialist at Leroy Merlin Spain
The Technology: Intel vPro Platform with Intel AMT and Intel EMA
The Intel vPro platform is an integrated technology that features the latest Intel® Core™ vPro® and Intel® Xeon® processors, regularly updates its specification to promote continuous innovation, embeds security at the hardware level, and offers optimized architectures for desktop and mobile.
With Intel AMT, IT staff can provide proactive and reactive maintenance, including OS-independent remote control of endpoints over wired or wireless connections. They can enable, wake, and patch to maintain security as well as perform system re-imaging and recovery. Intel EMA extends the benefits of remote manageability beyond the firewall by enabling maintenance and repair via the cloud for any computer on the Windows® 10 platform.
For Diaz and his team, this combination of powerful hardware and software technology meant a giant leap forward in Leroy Merlin Spain’s digital transformation. “With this deployment now in place,” Diaz says, “we can lower time-to-resolution of support tickets, increase support coverage and, therefore, increase end user satisfaction.”
Company: Leroy Merlin Spain
- Managing a diverse range of devices including desktops, laptops, POS systems, kiosks, digital signage, and more
- Controlling total cost of ownership
- Supporting devices across 120 retail locations in Spain and Portugal
- Freeing the IT team to pursue business-critical initiatives
Solution: The Intel vPro Platform with Intel AMT leveraging Intel EMA
- Rapid deployment – 4,500 devices in a single day
- Reduced cost – Fewer service agents required on site
- Faster time to resolution – Service calls can be handled remotely from anywhere
- Safer – Minimizes physical contact when servicing devices could be risky or hazardous
- Minimal disruption – Updates can occur overnight and without local user input