Like nearly every business navigating current economic conditions, today’s retailers face rapidly shifting consumer priorities and the need to adapt to an increasingly digital future. Shoppers have come to expect increasingly personalized omnichannel experiences, intelligent support that’s available anytime, and robust security protecting their payment card information and personal data. This means that for large retail organizations, maintaining the health and security of the tens or even hundreds of thousands of endpoint devices that make up the enterprise computing environment is a mission-critical endeavor — one with the power to determine the success of the business as a whole.

Our customer, a Fortune 500 retailer with locations around the world, was struggling to meet this challenge. The IT operations team was tasked with managing more than 100,000 endpoints with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr). All of the devices were running Microsoft Windows, but they were distributed across a wide variety of global locations, some of which lacked reliable, high-speed connections to the corporate wide-area network (WAN).

It was nearly impossible for the company to keep track of these endpoints’ health. Were they operational and communicating well? Was the global ConfigMgr hierarchy functioning efficiently? Were systems misconfigured or failing? If so, which ones?

Without a reliable means of diagnosing misconfigured or non-functional endpoints, the retailer faced significant risks. Leaders couldn’t be certain that compliance was being maintained. Nor, could they feel confident that security vulnerabilities were being identified and remediated quickly. And, they weren’t able to guarantee that endpoints would remain operational — which is essential for employee productivity — all or most of the time.

Adaptiva Endpoint Health to the rescue

The company had already deployed Adaptiva OneSite, our industry-leading software distribution engine, which incorporates Internet peer-to-peer (P2P) content-sharing architecture that enables software updates to be shared at unprecedented speed and scale while eliminating the need for thousands of distribution point (DP) servers. So the retailer’s IT organization was familiar with Adaptiva’s track record for innovative engineering, intelligent automation and reliable return on investment.

As a pilot project, the retailer decided to deploy Adaptiva Endpoint Health on roughly 10% of its production systems. The decision was shaped by the availability of essential features within Endpoint Health. This included the ability to run prepackaged automated checks that can rapidly identify and fix multiple types of endpoint management issues, as well as the ability to enforce custom health and security policies, even when working with third-party technologies. Endpoint Health includes the powerful and easy-to-use WorkFlow Designer, which enables administrators to create custom health checks in seconds without writing code and incorporates PowerShell scripting into workflows. Endpoint Health is also fully integrated with Adaptiva OneSite, making it possible to instantly distribute content that health checks show is needed.

Near-instant remediation of 10,913 endpoint health issues, eventual savings of $1,006,538

Initial results were dramatic. When the retailer ran a suite of 30 pre-built and custom client health checks and remediations on just over 11,000 live production computers, they found that 55% of the devices failed the checks. Among these, 89% had issues that could be automatically resolved — with no need for manual intervention — within Endpoint Health, and the resulting successes recorded and verified.

With Endpoint Health’s real-time reporting dashboard, endpoint administrators could easily view big-picture statistics as well as drill down into health check and execution history results and statistics. The health reports also provided granular detail on individual machines’ health check history. In addition, Endpoint Health began performing a daily global system audit. This regular systemic health check was able to identify a longstanding problem with a ConfigMgr Management Point (MP). When the company resolved the issue, the speed of system-wide operations saw significant improvement.

Overall, this pilot project resulted in projected savings of over $1,000,000 for the retailer. Assuming that the company deployed Endpoint Health on all 329,000 endpoint devices in its environment and experienced similar system failure and automatic remediation rates across the full environment, Endpoint Health would be able to repair 161,046 production systems with no manual effort. The labor and engineering cost savings from this would exceed a million dollars — without factoring in productivity gains from improved uptime rates or the reduction of data breach and ransomware attack risks.

The company now plans to extend the implementation to all its Windows endpoints, as well as to create and deploy a larger suite of checks and remediations. Adaptiva Endpoint Health exceeded all expectations in the short term. It’s also anticipated to improve regulatory compliance and reduce security risks for years to come.