Six Ways to Know If You Should Design Your Retail Technology Deployments


This concept of designing retail technology deployments seems to be foreign and new to many people, especially IT leadership. Most of the time, the delivery of new technology in the store environment is driven by a preestablished date. This is driven by the holiday shopping season or in support of other in-store marketing initiatives or compliance requirements.

Even without designing technology deployments, they can be successful, but that doesn’t mean they are cost-effective, efficient, or uneventful. So how do you know if you would benefit from designing your retail technology deployments, rather than just planning them? This article outlines the top six ways to know if you can benefit from this approach.


  1. Often Experience Cost Overruns

Even the best made project budget can be quickly busted by unplanned out-of-scope work, overtime required to keep the schedule on track, expedite or overnight fees incurred for equipment or materials, and penalties imposed by third party providers.

Utilizing a deployment design approach will eliminate surprises.  And wrap processes around the handling of unplanned events so they can be controlled and managed. Understanding the time horizons and levels of effort required to complete the deployment will ensure that equipment, materials, and resources are coordinated in the most fiscally efficient way possible.


  1. Struggle to Find Qualified Deployment Technicians

While the deployment itself may be solid, locating, vetting, and retaining qualified Deployment Technicians can prove challenging and place your project at risk. It’s important to truly understand the type of skillsets and personalities that are needed to properly deployment new technology.

It’s always challenging when dealing with human beings, their quirks, and their hidden agendas. Yet by designing your deployment you can eliminate or reduce the risks that humans can inherently bring. This includes building a succinct Technician profile with an established vetting process that is consistently applied. Project Teams are often in a hurry to get boots on the ground. But it’s very important to include adequate time in your overall timeline for the proper background checks and drug screens. Additionally, provide and track training and qualification processes to ensure quality and consistency.


  1. Frequently Expedite Equipment / Materials / Tools

How many times have you had a Technician show up to complete the deployment only to find there is no equipment? Or only part of the equipment is there? Or the lift that is needed has not been delivered? Now you’re faced with overnighting / expediting the equipment. Plus a revisit fee for the Technician. A reschedule that you have not planned for. And an irritated site because they will have to make arrangements to meet the Technician again.

Never underestimate the time required to design the logistics and details required to get equipment and tools to the site when needed, but not too early. Utilizing a multi-milestone scheduling process, call aheads, follow ups, and confirmations as part of the deployment design will ensure everything and everyone are where they are supposed to be at the time they are supposed to be.


  1. Experience High Rate of Reschedules / Revisits

When deployment schedules are built without considering all aspects of the location in relation to Technician availability, specific characteristics of the site itself, special entry and access requirements, and geographical relationships between sites, you will experience chaos, confusion, extra expenses, and a high frequency of reschedules and revisits.

Ensuring the arrival of equipment, material, tools, and resources takes a great deal of tracking, confirmation, and follow up. This can only be achieved through a detailed deployment design. It will address all the aspects to create a viable, reasonable, and solid schedule to ensure your deployments are completed successfully on the first visit.


  1. Corporate Support Team Overwhelmed Supporting Technicians

It feels like you’ve spent a tremendous amount of time planning for your deployment. Then on the first day everything comes apart so quickly you can’t fathom what happened to shut it down. So many shortcut the actual installation script portion of the deployment by instructing the Technicians to call into a Help Desk, Support Center, or War Room to receive further instruction, confirm installation, or assist with troubleshooting. The problem is that you never figured out how time consuming this would become. And how quickly it would become a bottleneck.

By scripting every detail through the deployment design, you will provide the proper level of training.  A complete installation script that is tested and proven. And pre-built escalation paths to be followed by the Deployment Technicians. Additionally, the resources that will provide support to the Technicians will also be better trained and better organized to ensure that bottlenecks will not develop.


  1. Receive Complaints from Store or Store Operations

There is nothing more frustrating for a Store Manager than a Technician showing up for a deployment and they were not told in advance. Or equipment showing up for delivery and they have no space to put it in their stock room. And how about the Technician behaving badly, impeding customer traffic, or leaving all the trash and empty boxes for them to dispose of? Now you are dealing with complaints across your portfolio and from Store Operations. Talk about a black eye for the project Team!

All of these complaints can be eliminated with a thorough and scripted deployment design.  Not only does it address the communication plan for the project. But it provides the scripts to be used for those communications so ensure consistent and repeatable processes. You need to ensure you have the support of the store personnel as part of your winning deployment strategy.


While there are many good reasons to apply the deployment design strategy, there is no reason to not complete a deployment design. OPL Technologies is the world leader of deployment design and is available to provide any level of support and expertise your deployment requires. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation to see how we can make you and your deployment successful.


With over 30 years of experience in the technology field, Lisa Cook is a thought leader. Specializing in overcoming the challenges associated with complex, multi-site technology deployments, especially with retailers. Her proven approach of designing deployments, rather than just planning them, has led to over 30,000 successful deployments for national and global clients such as Walgreens, Ulta Beauty, Office Max, Walmart, American Eagle, Blockbuster, Chrysler, Simon Property Group, and CBL & Associates.

As Founder of OPL Technologies she is focused on helping Retail Technology Leaders eliminate the challenges of multi-site deployments by creating Deployment Designs that save money and ensure the deployment is done right the first time. She is the author of the recently released book Designing Retail Success: A Blueprint for Designing Retail Technology Deployments.