Don't let the internet "cloud" come between you and your customers.
They'll be shocked and you'll be annoyed when it slows down or goes down due to issues beyond your control. -Imagine not even being able to accept payment.
Funny thing about clouds...
“Cloud Computing” is a fancy way to say "your stuff is on someone else’s computer".
With Acme, you run your point of sale in your store, so a cloud can't come between you and your customers. With Acme Advantage, you get remote access to your computers so you can run all your applications (not just the point of sale) from anywhere. Pretty handy for working from home, training, support or just peeking over a clerk’s shoulder.
You could say Acme Advantage puts your cloud in your store. We’d agree, but we’d shy away from such fancy words.
Going wireless or being internet dependent introduces more moving parts and vulnerabilities.
These can cause a system to slow down or go down, due to things beyond anyone's control.
If someone promises you high availability 99.999 ("3 nines") up-time please ask them 3 questions.
- Why you should accept being down for over 8 hours per year?
- What you should do while you are down, and unable to do business?
- How you should explain the outage and inconvenience to a customer standing across the counter from you?!? Even if they have cash in hand, how are you going to track what sold and properly replenish?
3 nines up-times is 8 hours per year of "gone fishing sign on the door" down time. -And that doesn't take into account the slow downs that backup your checkout lanes frustrate your clerks and customers and cost you money.
Internet slow downs are often much worse than 'go downs'. They happen more often and the software has to try to figure it if should disconnect or limp along. No system should ever have to make that decision while your customers wait.
Cloud Geek Speak -It's all about the network
Cloud Dependent Systems:
A cloud dependent system has it's data living only "in the cloud". The application (program) may live on your device and/or in the cloud. It really doesn't matter much, because if your data is only in the cloud and you can't get to it you might as well be using a shoe box for your point of sale. There are not as many of these around any more, see their cousin, Cloud Primary Hybrids below.
A hybrid system houses your data and your application in at least two places. There are primarily three kinds of hybrid systems:
Cloud Primary Hybrids are rare, mainly because the way they do things is considered by many to be backwards.
They bet on the up-time of the internet and everything in between, then try to fall back to the local device in a timely fashion during times of trouble. Most of these are the result of Cloud Dependent Systems realizing their design flaws and trying to improve upon them. Cloud primary or dependent systems may be OK for applications that sell services but not for product in hand point of sale when a customer is waiting.
Device Primary Hybrids take the problems of "cloud primary hybrids" and flip them around.
They use the device as primary and syncing or backing up data to the cloud. This functions better, but you still still suffer when there are bandwidth constraints, especially if you have more than one device because real-time information requires every transaction to sync to every device (causing exponential network traffic) OR cloud based look-ups must be performed. While a system like this could be used to enter transactions when the network is down it suffers from three main problems. 1) you could not process credit cards, 2) you would not get real-time data (sales, on-hand levels, price updates, etc) from the other terminals and 3) when your store is busy, the internet is busy. That's because people tend to shift gears (get out of work, school, etc) at the same time.
LAN Primary Hybrids are the best of both worlds. (Acme is a LAN Primary Hybrid)
These are also called "on prem" (on premises) solutions. -They improve upon Device Primary Hybrids in a number of ways. The application and data are on the device (if you only have one) or on a server device (if you have more than one device) per premises. This solves the real-time problem.
Speaking for Acme (other LAN Primary Hybrids will differ) offline electronic payments are not an issue. When the internet connection goes down a device can automatically detect it and roll over to a land line. The land line knocks on the processors "back door", avoiding the internet altogether, so it does not matter where the outage is, Acme works around it. -This is can be done within seconds and without user intervention or awareness. With Acme Advantage the internet can also be used for backup of point of sale (and other data like spreadsheets, documents and images) as well as remote support, remote access, monitoring, training etc. -In other words, you can get into your point of sale system and access all your programs (not just point of sale) from anywhere and any device.
Company loses over 658 dollars per second and still cannot fix the internet cloud?
Back in 2014 Google was making about $658 per SECOND off the internet. It's even more today. Imagine what downtime costs them and how much they can and will do to prevent it.
Go search "Google outage". There are entire sites dedicated to tracking their down times, many have occurred since 2014. Some of these sites even suggest games to play while you wait for Google to come back up.
Now imagine it's your point of sale that's down. Too bad having games to play won't placate a customer standing across the checkout counter from you, waiting to part with their hard earned money. Waiting to get home with their goods.
Google doesn't have a choice, they are an internet company. Their programs and data are kept where their products are, and yours should be too. -It's been said that success in retail doesn't come from doing one thing right, it comes from not doing hundreds of little things wrong. Warning, if you are still considering a cloud based point of sale "slow downs and go downs" are not a little thing.