Friday, March 3, 2017

What RMS User are Doing - Chain/Franchise Version

OK - I'm not sure if it is the economy, our new president, or just good planning, but I have had 8 retail chains contact me in the last week related to meeting to look at RMS replacement options. Needless to say, I will be traveling a lot over the coming months (I'll post my travel and related trade show schedule next week)!

So - to provide some perspective - these retail chains and franchises have the following in common:

  • Using Microsoft Dynamics RMS version 2.01 or higher
  • Have between 5 and 350 locations
  • Computers and related hardware in the stores is less than 5 years old
Here is what they do not have in common:
  • Some are using Dynamics HQ and some are not
  • Some are using Windows XP while others have Windows 7, 8.1 or 10
  • Some are current on their software maintenance agreement - some are not
  • Some have stand alone payment terminals, some are still using EDC in RMS, and some have a third party payment gateway or add-on for RMS
Based on initial conversations, here are the various courses of action - this is somewhat vague as you can always contact me for more information:
  1. If there is a lot of love for RMS (you want to keep using RMS as long as possible), then adding payment processing equipment like Card Defender alleviates worries about payment security in RMS. This is a very easy and low cost option since only the payment processing hardware is being changed out.
  2. If there is love for RMS and you already have payment processing terminals that exceed security requirements, then a simple refresh to the most current version of RMS is a great solution to keep things up and running for the next 4+ years. Also good to look at your hardware at this point and see what might need replacing.
  3. If the sentiment is that the time is now to look at a cloud based point of sale system with a lower up front investment cost as well as a monthly fee that covers support and software upgrades, then RMS users are looking at Cloud Retailer which offers data migration from RMS as well as discounted license costs for RMS users.  Cloud Retailer has been tested to work in chains with up to 50 locations and could likely scale even higher if needed.
  4. Feel like RMS is just great but you want a more updated look and feel? Retail Management Hero is a direct replacement for RMS but a multi-location "HQ" option will not be available until late 2017. Stay tuned.
  5. In the mood for something more complete that just POS? Maybe you need more detailed accounting integration or true warehouse management. Some chains also need transportation logistics and productivity management. Here are your "step up" solutions that are great RMS replacements:
    1. Retail Realm Essentials: In a nutshell this is Microsoft Dynamics AX with the non-POS modules turned off. Great for retail chains who want an on-premise point of sale system. Best suited if each retail store location is generating well over $1M in annual gross sales.
    2. Microsoft Dynamics AX: The "do anything" on-premise ERP solution. Modular based solution and device level licensing. Too many options and modules to list in one post. Generally, you need to be ready to spend over $500,000 when it comes to Dynamics AX. For example, I was working with a 47 location chain with a $2M budget and we could barely get one Dynamics AX Partner to even speak with us (one reason why I now work for a Dynamics AX Partner).
    3. Microsoft Dynamics 365: As Dynamics AX will not be around forever, Dynamics 365 is AX but as a cloud based and subscription as a service solution. Business and Enterprise level solutions are available as well as the different modules. Starting price point for the core module is around $210/month. Long term licensing costs are offset by no need for SQL servers and annual maintenance agreements. Limited feedback presently as Dynamics 365 was just made available for deployment.
OK - when it comes to chains and franchises using RMS, the situation and solution can be complex enough to require an onsite visit after an in depth conference call. With 18+ years of experience, this is something that I am more than happy to help with. My direct contact information is or 208-340-5632. If you would rather contact me via my employer, my work contact information is or 208-994-9404.

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