The Ins and Outs of Owning Diverse ePOS Systems

It’s not uncommon today to find restaurant chains using a mix of EPOS systems as varied as their menus: old and new, open source and proprietary, cloud-based and on-premise. There are a lot of reasons for this. Systems age at different times and are replaced by new solutions from new vendors. That replacement sometimes takes place at an individual restaurant, which then ripples across a franchise group or across a region. Existing ePOS systems might be left in place following a merger.

Whatever the reason, restaurant chains of all sizes, as often as not, serve themselves a fresh Garden Medley of ePOS.

These diverse, heterogeneous IT environments can deliver good value. But we’ve also seen that heterogeneous ePOS is not right for every organisation. Successful multi-vendor ePOS environments require a specific kind of corporate IT organisation.

Companies that succeed with multi-vendor ePOS environments share some characteristics.

– Sophisticated IT Super-structure: A super-structure of corporate communications software and systems exists to gather, integrate and drive action from multi-vendor ePOS data.

– Global Reporting: The data generated by each restaurant’s ePOS is fed into a larger, enterprise solution for analysis and reporting.

– Integration Expertise: Data integration organisations exist within the enterprise to centralise data gathered from all sources—from supply chain to advertising programs to ePOS—are integrated.

– Budgeted Support and Support Services: That expertise—whether it’s in-house or out-sourced—is a line item in the operational expenditures budget.

– Corporate Marketing: Marketing programs are designed, developed, launched and monitored at the corporate level, using tools and systems outside of any individual ePOS.

When this kind of over-arching IT over-sight of ePOS is missing, single vendor solutions deliver the strongest value. Where IT organisations are lean, eliminating the significant over-head of data and network integration that multi-vendor ePOS environments require saves both time and money.

Making the Right Choice

The decision to maintain a heterogeneous ePOS solution, or standardise on a single one, is driven, in the end, by one factor. Does your company have the resources, budget and expertise to manage, integrate and maintain a diverse ePOS environment? For those companies—where ePOS is just one more element of strategic IT integration—the answer is a likely yes. For the rest, the answer is not as clear cut. Here, it can often turn out that, after a careful analysis, standardisation – not diversity – is the better investment.