POS in the Clouds: How Retail Companies can Benefit from SaaS
Cloud technology, also known as Software as a Service (SaaS), offers a number of benefits and increased functionality to point of sale (POS) operations. SaaS based POS solutions differ from on-premise solutions because the POS software operates and stores data online, rather than on a computer’s hard drive. The results are provided on-demand, allowing retailers to cut costs, adjust to market changes, and better serve customers who expect – if not demand – rapid response and accuracy. SaaS technology allows greater accessibility to POS, a smaller in-house IT department, savings of up to 55% in TCO (total cost of ownership) for small to medium-sized businesses, and the ability to adapt and expand more quickly and efficiently. For companies competing in a global market, the benefits of SaaS based POS become even more significant.
SaaS can also help integrate and unify IT functions within companies. According to the National Retail Federation’s Retail Horizons report, nearly 50 percent of retailers across all brands have embraced cloud computing in order to streamline their operations to one unified platform.
Benefits to SaaS Solutions
A recent White Paper by Retail Anywhere outlines several benefits for upgrading to a SaaS POS solution suite. These are:
On-premise and on-demand access. “…Real-time infrastructure is lacking in the retail industry,” said Sahir Arnand, VP and Principal Analyst, Retail and Banking, Aberdeen Group. “Only about 15 percent of retailers have real-time processing capabilities. On-demand applications negate that gap because with on-demand the ability for any retailer to try real-time data management … is easier and less expensive.”
Pay-as-you-go offers less financial risk. Upfront costs of SaaS-based POS solutions are lower, as are continuing support fees for on-premises software. Along those same lines, out-of-pocket expenses are also reduced by eliminating capital expenditures for server hardware and software licenses. Additionally, companies can save on IT budgets, allowing them to focus on growing their business.
Best-in-class server architecture offers an array of POS management applications, from real-time inventory management to store administration and management, CRM, and item search. Branden Jenkins, Retail Anywhere’s CEO, noted, “I think a lot of retailers may not realize the value of having that guaranteed uptime … and redundancy with the Internet.”
Scalability and flexibility provide by SaaS allow an open door for retailers to grow, whether through product lines, additional software, stores, warehouses, etc., as the needs arise.
Seasonal costs are mitigated by SaaS. A March 3, 2011 issue of businessweek.com noted that CIOs have to “buy equipment by the ton to meet spikes in computing demand or prepare for disasters, and then watch as that gear sits idle most of the time. … The promise of the cloud is shoving the costs of dealing with all that off the bottom line.”
Support and maintenance are inherent in SaaS POS technology, with upgrades, help desk services, guaranteed response time and solution maintenance offered by the best SaaS providers. The White Paper states: “With platforms like Amazon EC2, SaaS providers can guarantee uptime and data redundancy by deploying services across regions. Therefore, if one system fails for any reason, including natural disasters, another segment of the system will pick up the slack.”
Data security and reliability gained through SaaS POS technology can alleviate or erase capital for network security devices, security software licenses, compliance expenses, and staffing.
With on-demand SaaS applications for POS, software upgrades are automatic, allowing users a more consistent flow of product enhancement at minimal expense.
As technology continues to evolve with lightning speed – and the economy continues to falter – look to the clouds for POS solutions to rapidly changing business environments and consumer demands. SaaS solutions are the next level of preparation for providing users with a consistent flow of product enhancements and initiatives that can help companies grow their businesses.
Click here to read the complete white paper from Retail Anywhere.
About Retail Anywhere
Retail Anywhere’s suite of management software and services is directed toward midsize retailers. The suite include POS, merchandising, inventory management, CRM, warehouse management and more. The company leverages Microsoft’s .NET and SQL technologies. The company is based in Paso Robles, Californa and can be reached at 800-257-2734 or www.retailanywhere.com.
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