Back-office systems are vital for enhancing features that your POS system already offers. A back-office system makes the invaluable connection between what happens on the front lines of the sales floor to what happens behind the scenes in management offices. Accessing and pulling inventory, performance, and finance reports can be done much more quickly and with ease. Additionally, ensuring the security of your confidential information is painless when you can pull reports in your office rather than on the retail or restaurant sales floor. Back-office systems also contain an audit log that automatically records all activity in real time. This will allow you to manage your staff and monitor your employee activity more efficiently.
While a back-office system can enhance your business, there are a couple different versions on the market and choosing the right one depends on your unique business needs.
What are your options?
What are they?
The difference between premise and cloud back-office solutions is where they store data. A cloud based back-office system stores information in a separate location from business computers, such as a remote server. So, any device with the right permissions can access the data in the remote server, regardless of where the device is located.
- Manage your business from anywhere and at any time: When all of your customer and transaction data is stored on a remote server, you will be able to monitor your business and pull reports from anywhere and at any time of the day. Have a business trip? That’s alright, cloud based back-office systems allow you to work remotely.
- Lower costs: With a cloud based back-office solution, you can avoid the cost of software licenses, tech support, and training fees.
- Instantly upgradeable: Cloud based back-office systems are instantly upgradeable. With a cloud based management system, your POS service provider has the ability to automatically push POS application updates to your store and perform remote management. This will eliminate the wait time of updating each machine manually and tying up machines needed to make a profit. Additionally, your cloud providers will be able to inform you about upgrades that your business may need to stay relevant.
- Data ownership: Who owns your data? In a cloud based system, the service provider controls systems and is entrusted with customer data. Make sure you review service agreements and understand how data is backed up and recovered. Does your service provider offer an option to provide your data to you should you decide to switch providers?
- Internet connectivity: If the internet is down at your store or current location, you will not have access to your data. With many cloud based back-office systems, the store will still be able to run normally and all data will be stored locally until the internet connection is restored. The downside is that you would not be able to view your data for that period of time.
On Premise Systems
What are they?
On premise systems are the back-office systems that have been used traditionally. The data stored in premise systems goes directly to the business’s computer hardware. That means that in order to access any of your business’s information, you must do it on site at the proper computer. Additionally, only one device is typically used to access the on premise system.
- Security: Because the on premise systems are not connected to the internet, the chance that hackers have of accessing your data is much slimmer than with cloud-based back-office systems.
- You own it: You make an initial purchase, and you own your system. With an on premise system, you own your own data and are not dependent on any ongoing service fees for hosting said data.
- Initial cost: Owning your back-office system and having complete control of it is great, but the initial cost can be a problem for smaller or newer companies.
- Higher cost for maintenance and upkeep: Traditional back-office systems require software licenses, technical support, and training fees as well as costs to maintain and upgrade the system. If you want your system to run smoothly, it will have to undergo regular tune ups. Additionally, upgrading your software is not only costly, but time consuming.
- Limited mobility: Unlike the cloud based back-office systems, you won’t be able to access your data remotely. If you have reports to run or a last minute staff scheduling crisis, you will have to be on-site to trouble-shoot.
- Physical security and space: An on premise back-office system requires the space of a physical office that must be locked to prevent access to unauthorized users.
In conclusion, it’s up to you what is important to your business and which risks you’d like to take. A back-office system would definitely enhance your business operations. However, take a moment to consider the pros and cons of an on premise system vs. a cloud system and you’ll be sure to choose the right back-office system for your business.