Given the need to support the changes in customer behavior and ensure growth, retailers often decide to upgrade to a new POS system (AllBusiness.com has listed some signs here) and take advantage of the omnichannel capabilities provided by new the platform.
While the decision to upgrade is itself a major decision, actually upgrading the point-of-sale system can be challenging to say the least. Aligning all the resources, coordinating third-party vendors, procuring equipment, and more is an enormous undertaking for retailers of any size. This is why it is so important to select a retail system integrator that has the knowledge, experience, and specialized resources to partner and guide through the entire process.
In order to thoroughly cover every aspect of an upgrade project, it would require an entire book which would take considerable time to digest. With this in mind and based on SkillNet’s extensive experience we decided to put together this brief POS Upgrade Project Guide.
Retail System Integrator Selection
The most important quality a retailer should look for in a System Integrator (SI) is trust. As an organization, the IT Team needs to know that it can trust the SI in all aspects of the project. It includes the SI keeping the best interests of the client at the heart. Retailers can trust an SI when there is a long-standing relationship with the POS product company as well as having several successful implementations in the same retail domain. And, finally, the SI partner team should have the breadth and depth to address every aspect of the upgrade from the first-hand shake to the project closure.
Listing requirements for delivering omnichannel experience
In order to better support their customers retailers have their unique processes and these vary from company to company. However, these processes may or may not be in line with the out-of-the-box functionality available in POS products. It is important for Retailers to collaborate with their SI to ensure that the company’s unique requirements are addressed in the solution designed by the retail system integrator.
Correct product selection
Normally retail System Integrators are brought in once the product has been finalized, but if that is not the case then it is good idea to have them help with the selection of a product which best supports the unique requirements of the Retailer. An SI with capabilities across multiple products can help the retailer shortlist a product which can provide the rich customer experience the retailer is looking for with minimal customization.
Communicate Early and Often
Communication is the key to any project, and this applies to the POS Upgrade Project as well. No one is a mind reader and the SI project team is no exception. This is a three-legged race with the SI. Trust the expertise of the SI lead, set up the cadence for meetings and reporting early in the project. And, finally, the retailer needs to allocate correct internal teams and the necessary third-party representatives in attendance.
A product upgrade will provide new features. To get the maximum returns the retailer will have to make operational changes. The retailer’s user group as well as the infrastructure team should not be afraid to change existing procedures to optimize the benefits of the new features. It might be tempting to change the software as opposed to changing procedures. (Many companies, irrespective of the industries – We have always done it this way) Weigh the benefits of the new features and proceed accordingly.
Most retailers have little or no slack time in their IT resource pool. This typically means reprioritizing their goals and time to accommodate their participation in the upgrade project. It is critical that retailers make the right resources available throughout the duration of the project to ensure project success.
Be Willing to Learn
Over the years SkillNet has found that those retailers that have an open mind, are willing to learn new technologies and embrace the change that come with them are typically the most successful. An SI will have a number of learnings and reference resources from their past experiences of working with a product. These experiences can be a of great help in the overall project and also help the retailer increase the impact of the system upgrade.
No Straight Lines
There are no straight lines in nature, and so, it is with POS Upgrade Projects. No matter how well the retailer and the SI plan, there will always be unexpected “detours” along the way; people out sick, bad weather, power outages, COVID 19. One of our clients had to deal with social unrest in a country which never had one before. etc. So, the project team should be prepared for these “detours”, it will help the team prepare to get back on track faster and make up for lost time.
Remember; “Chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought and chaos always defeats order, because it is better organized.”
If retailers want to get ahead of the curve and stay there, it would be good to be pro-active in every aspect of the project since they have an opportunity to influence either directly or indirectly. Things should be lined in advance as much as possible with the SI and other contractors to gain as much time as possible It would be good to maintain effective levels of engagement and active communication in every aspect of the project even if the retailer is not directly involved.
Attention to Details
For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail. And so, it is with point-of-sale upgrade projects.
While these points are simply a guide and certainly not exhaustive, they provide an excellent head start to a seamless POS upgrade.