But don’t worry. Even if your company hasn’t replaced its retail management system for as long as anyone there can remember, this article is here to help. It shares the collective insight of our sales and consulting teams at Jesta I.S., whose members have implemented numerous retail projects. This insight comes from working with more than 200 retailers of varying sizes and lines of business.
You can make a better purchase decision by asking yourself 12 questions before you begin your search for a new system. Your answers should help you make an informed choice that will serve your business well for a long time.
Don’t obsess over features and functions—yet
What first made you think about replacing your retail management system?
If you’ve been frustrated with the functional limitations of your current systems, it’s natural to begin your buying process by listing your functional requirements for new systems. But in our experience, that can be a mistake. Your functional needs are important, but they’ll probably change with your business needs and processes.
First answer the ‘big questions’ about your business
We suggest you answer these questions:
1. What results do you expect to achieve by implementing new software, and by when?
2. What are your internal resources and capabilities?
3. What is the current structure of your business, and how might it change during the life of your new retail management system?
Considering the inevitability of unforeseen change, here’s one reliable lesson you can draw from past experience: it pays to anticipate the unexpected. Therefore, seek flexibility in processes and systems above all else. Maybe you can’t say with confidence what you should do now to be ready for the future. But it’s a safe bet that it will pay for you to build flexibility and agility into your company culture, your business processes and systems.
Take stock of your business
Take time now to assess your current business. Then consider how it may change during the life of your retail management system.
The following questions can help you determine the scope of capabilities you’ll need to make the correct selection.
The questions will also help you anticipate the processing volume your retail system must be able to handle.
How much revenue do you generate now? How much do you expect to generate 5 and 10 years from now?
Do you expect to operate on the cost or retail method of accounting?
4. What is your current technical infrastructure, and what is your future direction?
5. What other software applications must you integrate with your retail management system?
6. What is your comfort level with change?
7. How much can you afford to spend on a new retail management system?
Consider all the costs of software development, documentation, operational support, training, licenses and annual maintenance fees for application software, hardware purchase and maintenance costs, and database licenses and maintenance fees.
8. What is your tolerance for risk?
9. How soon must you have a working system in place?
10. What kind of relationship do you want with your software providers and implementation partners?
11. What are your needs for reporting, analytics and business intelligence?
12. What are your specific functional requirements?
Your answers to these questions should help you determine whether Jesta I.S. or any other vendor is likely to fit your needs.
We at Jesta I.S. are here to help you make a good decision. For information about the Jesta I.S.’ retail management system suite, please go here.
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