How Much Can Retailers Save with SSO on Shared Employee Mobile Devices?

Introduction

Over the last few years, more companies have started to use shared mobile devices for hourly and shift employees. These devices are utilized across warehouses, manufacturing, healthcare, and delivery logistics. One of the largest industries currently deploying shared devices is retailers. The success of the retail industry depends upon the efficiency of employees in the field. Retail employees are expected to perform tasks with multiple applications, including order fulfillment, inventory counting, re-stocking, and customer assistance. With so many important jobs to juggle on a daily basis, employees need to be able to trust their rugged devices. This is where the BlueFletch Enterprise Launcher thrives. Our Launcher provides organizations with a reliable and streamlined end-user login experience that keeps business in motion and customers satisfied. We have serviced many retail clients over the years, transforming the day-to-day operations of many stores with our Android EMS tools. But, one of the common questions we get from our customers is, “How much time does the average retailer save with SSO from BlueFletch’s Launcher?”

This article describes the savings our clients have gotten by using the BlueFletch Enterprise Launcher. The data for this post is based on one specific retailer that we recently helped roll out thousands of new devices. The cost savings we have seen across different retailers ranges based on factors such as shifts, apps, and usage patterns. But the results for this case study were on the conservative end of potential savings.

What is SSO (Single Sign-On)?

Single Sign-on (SSO) is a technology that allows you to log in once and access all of your workplace apps without having to type in a username and password again. SSO has been popular for white-collar and knowledge workers for over two decades, and now it has become increasingly vital for employees across all aspects of the business. BlueFletch has brought the benefits of SSO to shared rugged Android devices used by employees out in the field.

What Is the BlueFletch Launcher?

BlueFletch Enterprise Mobile Security (EMS) is a toolkit for improving the security and user experience on shared Android devices. EMS is built around the BlueFletch Enterprise Launcher, a secure Android home screen replacement that provides SSO on shared employee devices. With the BlueFletch Launcher, SSO can easily be added to any modern Android application by using authentication standards such as Oauth, SAML, or leveraging our secure password manager.

Mobile Device on SSO login Screen

Problem Definition

As retailers have continued to roll out devices to their hourly and shift employees, they have started adding increased application functionality to help employees perform their jobs at a higher level. These applications can be built internally by the companies themselves or they can be 3rd party apps built for specific retail tasks. SSO on shared employee devices. With the BlueFletch Launcher, SSO can easily be added to any modern Android application by using authentication standards such as Oauth, SAML, or leveraging our secure password manager.

Security is required to protect company data.

  • Many applications used by retailers contain sensitive company-specific data such as pricing details, ordering details, or customer details. This data requires the applications to be secured to ensure that hackers or nefarious actors are not able to steal information.
  • In addition to security applications, device settings need to be restricted to ensure that a stolen device can not be manipulated. For example, non-secure network settings or USB settings could allow a hacker to use a stolen device as a backdoor to access your company’s network.

Entering credentials can be time-consuming.

  • Passwords are essential to keeping shared devices secured, but entering passwords for multiple apps throughout a work shift can be time-consuming. Depending on a company’s policies around password security, the login process can take between 30 and 90 seconds. During this time, an employee’s frustration level can rise while their productivity level drops.

Password issues may result in increased helpdesk costs

  • On the small screen of a mobile device, users are prone to incorrectly enter usernames and passwords, which can result in either a longer login time or a call to the helpdesk. Reducing the number of logins (without compromising security) will help drive down the helpdesk issues related to the end user’s credentials.

Employee Logging in with SSO on a Mobile Device

The Time Savings with SSO

As mentioned above, the following results are based on one of our retail customers that rolled out thousands of devices across its chain of stores.

The company used for this case study was on the conservative end of savings we have seen our customers achieve with an effective SSO strategy.  Our customers who have a higher number of SSO-enabled applications and who use devices for more shifts achieve more significant cost savings than what we cover below.

The retailer had an existing Identify Provider (IDP) that human resources provisioned users into when upon being hired. The most common IDPs we see our customers deploy include Okta, Azure AD, Sailpoint, and Ping Identity. The BlueFletch launcher has out-of-the-box support for all major IDPs, so there are minimal setup and configuration costs.

For this analysis, we have normalized the results to an “annual savings per device.”

Data Points:

  • 42.3 Seconds per login – Average login time – – We define login time as the time from when a user begins entering their credentials to the point where they can start using the device. The bulk of the time for login is spent when the user is typing in their username and password. The time for the BlueFletch Launcher to perform the credential validation against the IDP is typically 2-3 seconds of the total login time. For this case study, the retailer used a required password complexity of 12 characters with one uppercase and one symbol.

  • 1.8 Shift per day – Sessions per device –– The devices for this case study were used on average for 1.8 shifts per day. Based on the operating hours for this retailer, that was consistent with what we were expecting for a fully utilized device.

  • 5.3 App launches per session – The average number of applications used per session –   We define an application session as a user opening an application that normally requires authentication. We subtract one of the logins from this number to calculate cost savings because users must log in at least once per their shift.

  • 9.7 Re-authentications per device – Fast re-authentications per day –– The BlueFletch Launcher supports fast re-authentications (you do not want unlocked devices to be accidentally left sitting around). This is helpful in situations where a device has timed out and locked due to inactivity. The BlueFletch launcher allows users to tap an NFC badge, enter a PIN, or use facial reauthentication to quickly get back into their session. Fast re-authentication saves users time when they need to log back into their session following a break or a device timeout when serving a customer.

Compressed code for applications on a computer screen.

The Results

We concluded that the annual costs savings with the aid of SSO and the BlueFletch Launcher would be $871 per device (per year). To calculate this number we combined the reduction of time from application sign-on and added it to the time saved from users having to reauthenticate after time away from their device during a shift.

The following are the contributing factors to this saving:

  • Average US Hourly Minimum Wage – $10.65/hr – The labor rate we used for our calculations was the average of the US minimum wage across the 50 states (it ranges from 7.25-15.20 USD/hr). Based on where most of your location locations are, you may have different wage costs.
  • App Authentication SSO savings – $434.57 – For the application authentication SSO savings, we assumed that we were saving 4.3 logins per session saved (with an average login time of 42 seconds per login). These time savings resulted in approximately 3.40 hours of time savings per month per device. For a retailer that is open year-round, this results in about 41 annual labor hours per device in savings.
  • Fast Re-Authentication Savings – $436.89 – We saw users re-login to devices 9.7 times per day. This equates to another 3.42 hours of time savings per month and an additional labor savings of approximately 41 hours per device.

Table showing cost savings of SSO or $434 per year for Apps and $436 per year for re-authentication

Other Benefits of SSO

The labor savings identified above are easy to quantify, but there are also several intangible benefits we have received feedback on from our customers who have deployed SSO to shared employee mobile devices with the BlueFletch Launcher.

Employee Satisfaction 

During store visits to our customers, employees often express how much they love not being required to log in multiple times throughout their shift. Being able to quickly re-authenticate allows them to focus on their job, not on the frustrating task of entering a password.

Helpdesk Savings

Based on one research report, Gartner estimated password resets can account for 20-50% of calls to most IT support teams. Minimizing the number of times a user has to enter a password reduces the likelihood that they will accidentally lock their account and call the help desk.

Faster customer Experience

But what about the customers? The BlueFletch Launcher also provides an improved customer experience by giving employees instant login access to their apps, allowing them to assist customers in a timely manner. Imagine how frustrating it is for a customer who needs a simple price check but has to wait 40 seconds for the employee to log in and find it.

Help desk agents supporting SSO enabled devices at a company.

Conclusion

Single sign-on provides many benefits to retail employees, including cost savings, time savings, and improved customer interaction. If you are a retailer who is interested in implementing SSO for your shared employee devices, we would love the opportunity to set you up with a proof of concept demo to allow you to determine how much you could save.

If you want to learn more about how we can help your business, reach out to us at: info@BlueFletch.com

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