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When it comes to retail, POS is the heart of the industry. Major POS vendors offer additional functionalities such as workforce management, customer loyalty programs, and advanced analytics. These one-off applications don’t always meet customers’ needs. In the past, ISVs had to collect their data from the POS via an SDK that cost thousands of dollars to acquire. SDKs often had limited capabilities, because they were vendor-specific, meaning the ISV had to go through the process over and over again to support additional vendors, which can be extremely cost-prohibitive.
Cloud computing isn’t necessarily a new topic, but there is much projected and anticipated growth within these next couple of years. ISVs and VARs often compete with each other, even though the harbor different skillsets. ISVs are excellent at developing apps, and rarely do they ever deliver hardware to manage solutions. VARs are known to implement and handle both, however. VARs rarely ever have the software development skills on hand. When VARs and ISVs label themselves as total solution providers and compete with one another, end users can often suffer software that doesn’t meet their requirements and technology that’s not adequately supported.
The Retail Cloud
Retail vendors are capitalizing on the unique strengths of both VARs and ISVs, by creating niche ecosystems for partnerships instead of ruthless competitors. The cloud acts as a data processor, by enabling the cloud-enabled device to store, analyze, and process data without the burden of the POS systems’ SDK restrictions.
A major driver of cloud-based POS is the technological advancement in cloud computing. This helps in reducing the complexity of managing access controls, content classification, and retention policies. All of this is done while also providing monitoring, auditing, and reporting capabilities.
The cloud is quickly becoming a key differentiator in all aspects of retail from operations, merchandising, marketing, supply chain, sales, and service support regions. This leads to reduced costs, greater scalability, and a sense of increased flexibility. Cloud POS provides users with immediate centralization of information pieces, less expensive startup costs, and the ability to access key data from anywhere that the internet exists.
VARs & ISVs in the Bigger Picture
With cloud-based devices breaking the mold, ISVs can continue to focus on app development and circle in on developing advanced and customized apps, instead of managing multiple proprietary SDKs. Smaller ISVs are then transformed into the larger powerhouses of the business. Retailers and hospitality companies can win big as well. If a retailer wanted to implement a customer loyalty program or a data analytics solution, it might have to replace or upgrade their POS equation, and thats where the Cloud comes in.