Q: I’m facing a software upgrade that will require me to change all my hardware and operating systems. I find it increasingly difficult to manage our systems internally and implement the tools I really need to run my business. For example, we’re trying to run iPads in our stores and still cannot get them to work properly after six months of time and money. Is there a better way?

A: I recently wrote an article about preparing for the coming “retail technology storms” in which I discussed some similar issues that are causing retailers great stress and frustration. Business is tough enough as it is, the last thing you want to worry about is technology.

Current issues, like EMV chip and pin card acceptance and installing new hardware for compliance by October 2015 are plaguing retailers. Add that to the fact that many are sitting on old legacy point-of-sale systems that cannot yet integrate chip and pin technology, plus the end of support for Windows XP, which means having to upgrade hardware to migrate to Windows 7 or 8.

Many independent retailers are trying to bolt new technologies — like iPads — onto older legacy systems and finding it frustrating and costly. Most retailers are still running their stores and retail operations in separate silos that don’t talk to each other, which make omni-channel efforts (merging of retail and e-commerce) all but impossible.

If you implement EMV chip and pin acceptance on a legacy POS you are investing more money in older, dated software technology. If you are facing a POS upgrade to get to a new version to support EMV, you will most likely need to replace all your hardware. These are all painful processes. Honestly, it’s enough for a retailer to wave a white flag and cry “Uncle!”

The good news is there is a new course that retailers can take in these stormy seas of technological change. Look at it as a technology reset, leaving behind the old legacy world of painful updates, upgrades, costly maintenance, administration and on-premises management behind. You can take your retail technology into “the cloud” and get out of the IT business so you can focus on your core business, retail.

Rather than having to manage all this change on your own (EMV, PCI, mobile, omni-channel and software upgrades), when you move your business to the cloud you have a partner who is handling all this as a part of your monthly service. You can respond to the demands of your customers with technology that brings you closer to them, and spend your time focusing on what is important.

Interested in hearing more? Contact me at michael@retailmerchantservices.com.

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