POS And Accounting: The Need And Demand For Integration
For many of Dade Behring's customers, next-day delivery is not good enough. The $1.3 billion laboratory instrument manufacturer often has to ensure same-day delivery. Integrating technologies with its new SAP system helps Dade Behring deliver the goods on time.
End user demand for a total POS solution that includes point of sale, back office accounting and a tested hardware solution has reached a peak. Still, many Resellers are still trying to make a multiple vendor solution work and are losing sales as a result. The solution? Partnering with vendors who provide complete POS and Accounting solutions may be your best bet for closing more sales and increasing profits.
As the point of sale market continues to explode, end users are demanding truly integrated point of sale packages that perform a complete financial function, one that starts at the front end and is completed with back office accounting. And, their reasoning is sound… why duplicate work that can easily be done in one step rather than two?
With only few notable exceptions, point of sale stands alone and does not integrate back to the back office accounting package. Sure, the data can be exported, then imported, verified for accuracy and then properly posted to the correct accounts. With an integrated point of sale and back office solution, much of the work is done the moment the sale is made. The sale is registered, inventory depleted, min/max levels queried and - if necessary - a purchase order is generated. Upon evening posting, all income and expense accounts are posted without having to have someone oversee data that is imported to be sure it is correct. Integration ensures a seamless one step process that makes the retailers job much simpler and more cost efficient.
An even more important feature of integrated accounting and point of sale is the ability to have instant access to information about customers, their buying and payment history as well as inventory levels, pricing structures and credit information as it applies to the customer. A customer should not have to wait to find out their accounts receivable balance. A clerk at the front end should be able to seamlessly accept that payment along with their point of sale purchase. And, with integration comes the ability to limit information the user has to just that information that they need to effectively do their job without sacrificing the integrity of the back office.
For resellers, this demand offers a very unique opportunity to provide comprehensive products that are easily differentiated in a market that is already flooded with "Me, too" products. In fact that specialization and integration promises to be the next big move in the point of sale market. Those VARs who start exploring how these dynamic one-step solutions can be applied to their market segment now will be the ones to make the largest profit and growth moves in the future.
For POS resellers, the need for integration between point of sale and accounting is no longer really optional. A complete package that is designed to provide full POS and accounting functionality is the only way end-users can be sure that data is accurate in a timely fashion.
What a waste of time for end users to have to constantly export data from their POS system to do up to the minute reports. What an even bigger waste of time to have to pull data then merge it with order entry data that may be coming from another non point of sale accounting program and then ensuring that all the data is merged correctly and hitting the appropriate general ledger accounts.
The final step in true one step point of sale solutions is integration with a hardware solution. The ability for POS software to be configured to work with a variety of different equipment has always left end-users stymied and VARs scrambling for a solution that is a guaranteed fit. The partnering of software vendors with hardware vendors to provide a one-step solution has proven to be a boon for resellers.
The most notable example of this whole theory in action is the partnership of Cougar Mountain Software with Posiflex to provide a one-step solution that is integrated, pre-loaded and pre-configured right out of the box. Resellers are able to provide a one-step solution without having to become integrators themselves yet still earn high margins.
Finally, for VARs one step solutions make complete sense, one company to deal with, one technical support system, one learning curve. And the payoff is much higher than trying to integrate numerous products, vendors and support systems. One step solutions are a win-win situation for everyone, Vendor, VAR and End-user.
VARs and vendors who are currently adapting a one step solution now are setting the tone for the future of the POS industry. As high technology as a whole continues to lean to a "one-box" solution, end-users demand similar solutions from all of their technology and in that respect, POS will not be spared. It is up to savvy resellers and vendors who don't want to get left behind to team up now and ensure that end-users have the solutions they demand.
The future of POS is in total integration of point of sale, accounting and a complete hardware solution. In a time of rapidly shrinking margins and lightening fast mergers, the last profit frontier in the POS market is in one step solutions. Like the PC VARs before them, POS VARs have to make a choice to adapt early or be left behind… The question is simple, which will you choose?