A few years ago, there was a study of companies that had gone through two computer POS Software installations. The research drew conclusions regarding the importance of issues such as price, software functionality, training, support and other items considered in the decision process. The first time around, price was number 1 and support was number 9. The second time around, these same companies, listed support as number 1 and price as number 7!
ProphetLine’s Support Center is responsive: 85-90% of all calls are answered immediately by a technician, you are not on hold, and no call back is necessary. Most returns are handled within an hour of the initial call. However, we set a maximum time frame so that if your problem is not addressed within the time frame, you can call back and make sure that some extraordinary circumstances have not arisen.
ProphetLine POS Software/Retail System is so robust; it’s hard to find new areas to expand on. Most of the enhancements are now areas we feel are in need of updating. Some of the updated areas in version 9.2 are increased automation in the retail stock ledger and open to buy program. These two features are normally stand alone programs in other POS Software Systems, but are fully integrated and built into ProphetLine. Other enhancements are improved communication ability to allow for sub-regions inside of corporations and serialization numbering moving through the transfer process. All of these changes were done for existing clients. We do listen to our customers and their needs.
Choosing the right point of sale software is only one step in achieving retail success. Learning to properly implement procedures and then learning to manage and react to the information provided is every bit as important as finding the right features in your system.
Without exception, studies show that customer satisfaction with a computer system is directly related to the quality and quantity of education. One study a few years ago determined that upon completion of training, a customer retained at most 80% of the training. In many cases, it was closer to 50%. If that trained person leaves the organization and trains a replacement, the new employee has only 25%-64% true knowledge of the system. A new employee who has to learn the system by guessing may have less than 30% knowledge of the capabilities of the system! Because training is so important, ProphetLine offers training for now and for later.
If we go on-site and spend two days solid, the customer’s attention span is not going to last. The best way to train is to give two hour blocks of on-line training and the trainee will retain a majority of the information. When they need to learn a different portion of the product or have a refresher, set-up another training session.
Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliancy has been a big topic over the past year. In layman’s terms, it states merchants whom except credit cards should take certain precautions to ensure the security of card holder data. These precautions include but are not limited to, the use of firewalls, security protocols, updated anti-virus and intrusion software. Most companies typically do well with these, however, the place they often fall behind is with the storage of data in their POS Software or backups that should not be stored. Data such as credit card track data, CVV2 data, debit card PINs is not needed after the transaction has been run/approved and should not be stored.
Visa, MasterCard and American Express have been urging companies to become complaint in their protection of data over the past year, but are now adding incentives and larger fines for non-compliance. The push is to get all ‘acquiring’ financial institutions to be fully compliant with PCI requirements by August 31, 2007. Banks that fail to become compliant could face fines starting at $5,000 a month for each non-compliant merchant and the fines increase to $25,000 per month after December 31, 2007. In addition to the fines, merchant rates will also be effected by non-compliance. Merchants who fail to become complaint will see higher rates and fees for each credit card transaction.
As you can see, it is very important to make sure your POS Software is PCI complaint and if not, find out their plans to become complaint. ProphetLine POS Software has been compliant with PCI standards even prior to them being formally announced by Visa and continues to ensure card holder data is protected at all phases of the transaction and/or storage of data. If your POS software is not complaint and has no finalized plans they can tell you about, it may be time to consider a new POS package.
For more on this subject, you can read an article at Computer World by clicking here.
I recently found an article (source withheld until approval granted) which stated the following…
The biggest limitation (that you should be concerned about) is desktop databases generally only allow one concurrent user to open the database.
Attempting to use a desktop database in a multi-user environment could lead to disastrous consequences – like data corruptions and errors. Generally speaking, if more than one person will be modifying the data, you might have problems that require maintenance.
Now this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a desktop database. If you have a single user or small network and it will stay that way, you might be better off with some of the more affordable POS systems using desktop databases. You’ll probably never know the difference.
There are plenty of businesses that push their desktop database limits on 5, 10 or 15 user networks. They just learn to live with the errors and common maintenance requirements.
While the statements are true in themselves, there is much more to be looked at in order to determine the real ‘biggest limitation’ of a POS Software application.
While some database manufactures do put a limit on the number of concurrent connections – Microsoft’s SQL Desktop Edition (MSDE) greatly degraded performance after 5 connections – databases can just as easily (if not more so) become un-useful due to poor design and/or poor programming in the application. Experienced programmers can (and should) build software to include safety precautions and self-data validation.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you have a ‘server’ database, the application will run like a champ or just because you have a ‘desktop’ database, you are limited to 1 or 2 terminals or must live with ‘errors and common maintenance requirements’.
An Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP) is nothing more than integrating disparate applications into a unified system. If your POS Software also includes payroll, GL, payables and customer marketing, you have an ERP system. The term ERP implies that your business is being run by a single software system that would normally require two or more systems. All of the acronyms are confusing, but yes, ProphetLine is an ERP system as well as your POS Software.
It is not uncommon to receive enhancement requests that sound simple such as "we want to use a customer loyalty program’. While this sounds very simple and clear, it leaves a lot of things to assumptions.
Do you want to just track customers and ‘a’ purchase? Or actual items purchased? What about clearance items?
Do you want to accumulate ‘points’ for purchases? Can they be redeemed as ‘cash’ toward a purchase? Discounts? For ‘free’ items? Can they be shared with spouses or other family members? Are they available at the local store only or any stores owned by the company? Do they expire?
What reporting is needed? Do you want an audit trail? A ledger?
Will you need to edit available points?
Without details the end result will most likely not be what is expected. The same principle applies when evaluation business procedures. The more details used to outline the change, the more closely it will be what is desired. It is also important to account for the things that don’t "Ëœnormally’ happen as they always seem to come up if they are not thought about before hand.
Details you can deal with them now or deal with them later. The later you deal with them the larger the headache.
Technology makes it easier than ever to ‘monitor’ what is going on in your business, home, parking lots, malls, etc, but it also makes it easier for some one to ‘monitor’ you as well.
Take a recent post on ABC News. Do you know the FBI can remotely turn on your cell phones microphone and listen to you even if you had you phone turned off?
With every advance in technology, some one will find a way to use it for both sides of the spectrum (good and bad). To read more about the FBI ‘tapping’ your cell phone, Click here.