A new EPOS solution should only be considered if there is a good business case to support the decision to replace your existing system. As SAP Solutions Director at TRC, I ensure that all our retail deployments are the very best fit for our clients and seek to exceed their expectations upon delivery.
Before replacing an existing EPOS solution from your retail enterprise, it’s worth considering these factors:
Business Continuity Risk: Irrespective of the solution selected, moving to another EPOS solution will involve business disruption and pain for your team. It’s important to ensure senior management understand that disruption is inevitable and measures are put in place to manage the change. A clear strategy will need to be mapped out and all stakeholders must be on board. Change can be difficult for large retail operations but change for the sake of it makes it even more difficult.
Moving to a Similar or Inferior Product: New solutions might have the latest and greatest features, but that is not to say that the current system is in some way inferior. Some of our clients have been with us for 20 years or more, and in this time we have updated and customised these solutions to meet their needs. As a result, many of our clients have the same (or better), functionality, compared to many of the EPOS solutions on the market today. Furthermore, moving to a new EPOS solution might be a step backwards, as the current customised EPOS solution has more features than the new system, and investment will be needed in order to bring the new solution up to your required standard.
Siloed Tech Damages Your Enterprise: The retail industry needs to adapt to meet the ever increasing demands of consumers. While this fact is widely accepted, nobody has really managed to outline a road map. What is clear is the need for a central repository where data can be stored securely and ensure each function has the information needed to build on success. The benefits of a single platform for the business are overwhelming. This gives a central command for all decisions and a single view of the business which is the very definition of omnichannel retailing. An EPOS solution does not fulfil this role but acts as a branch of ERP which connects all the other elements such as financials, eCommerce, stock management, digital coupons and loyalty. Installing a standalone EPOS solution is an illogical step backwards and a missed opportunity.
Longevity: In the decade before the term ‘Digital Transformation’ was coined, over two hundred EPOS products were sunsetted as they reached ‘End of Life’ (EOL). Some of these products were less than five years old. Digital Transformation is progressing at a rapid pace as siloed and custom built solutions are overtaken, acquired, reach EOL or are simply starved of air while they try to keep up. The standalone EPOS solution is a thing of the past, and the modern, more progressive thinking is ”buy global best or don’t buy at all’. This is the reason why we sell SAP Business One optimised for Retail. Your retail enterprise benefits from the weight of a multinational, such as SAP and the specialist Retail Systems team at TRC Solutions.
Timeframe: Regardless of what a sales person selling the latest and greatest EPOS solution will tell you, there is no quick fix or immediate installation for any enterprise. Your new EPOS solution must be approached as a major project and should be scoped out properly. We run Design Thinking workshops as part of our evaluation process, to ensure that all stakeholders in the business understand what they need and ensure they get the solution they need and deserve. This initial investment of resource will mitigate risks and cost the business less in the long term as the right solution will be installed properly from the start.
The Value of Supplier Relationship: While it is the EPOS solution that is embedded in your business, we never lose sight of the fact that as your Retail IT supplier, we are also (by extension), entwined in your enterprise. Many of our retail clients have been with us for over fifteen years, and in that time we have learned the ‘ins and outs’ of the business and customised the solutions to fit the needs of the various stakeholders. We value transparent communications and mutual respect in our client relationships and this has stood to us and benefitted our clients over the years. When embarking on a new relationship with a Retail IT supplier, consider the duration of the partnership and how well you might work together. It should be a long and beneficial relationship for both sides, so choose your partner carefully.