“A widespread systems outage hit Starbucks stores in the United States and Canada Friday night, leading to many locations giving away free drinks…” (Source @ msn.com on 4/26/2015)
Starbucks touts fairly modern systems and certainly have droves of IT personnel maintaining, managing and monitoring their store environments. However, they failed to keep the systems up and exposed a major point of failure that brought down hundreds of stores. So how did their POS fail so badly?
Many retailers try to cut out third party service costs, like mission-critical payment processing, in order to shave every last cent off of their cost of sales. However, they tend to take on too much of the many moving parts in-house and expose their companies to huge liability and significant losses in the long run. An example of these kinds of issues are evident in the recent breaches of major retailers like Target and Home Depot.
It’s not just the larger retailers that suffer from these types of issues. Thousands of smaller retailers possess systems that often have multiple points of failure. Unfortunately, it is often too late to reverse the damage once these flaws become apparent.
Let’s explore some all too common weak spots of homegrown and third party retail solutions on the market:
Retailers should not be in the business of managing these systems. Choosing to do so is the equivalent of cranking your own electricity. It is much more efficient to leverage the cloud and simplify the in-store environment with lightweight and offline capable apps and devices.
Using a leading cloud service like NetSuite or Salesforce as your single back-office ERP/CRM engine outsources all the complexities of the back-office and provides robust disaster recovery support. These proven, secure platforms coupled with SuitePOS (iOS) for Apple iPad and iPhone, greatly minimize the possibility of downtime and simplifies maintenance and scalability as much as possible.