Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Retail Management Hero and RMH Central Update - June 2018

Some long awaited and much appreciated updates specific to the Retail Management Hero (RMH) and RMH Central retail point of sale software programs. Here are the bullet points and some screen caps:
  • New Leadership and renewed commitment at Retail Management Hero
  • Roadmap to a better and more feature rich program towards 2019/2020
  • Now offering an Avalara integration (nice!)
  • Q3 2018: Completely new version of RMH
  • 2019: Android version
  • Future Integrations (2019-2020):
    • Accounting: Nav, Dynamics GP, QuickBooks Accounting
    • Business Intelligence: Power BI
    • E-Commerce: Shopify, Magento, Amazon, WooCommernce
    • Shipping: ShipRush
  • Plan to offer custom layouts and skins
  • RMH Central Updates
    • Beta release "soon"
    • On premise/locally hosted for now - cloud version down the road
    • Near real time communication using VPN/Web that is also bi-directional
    • Worksheets are mainly only used for future tasks (eg: change sale price in 60 days)
    • Item creation is only at the RMH Central level - not at the store level
    • Can have multiple layers (eg: groups of stores, RMH Central and the RMH Central again at a higher level)
RMH Central Screen Caps (looks like RMH Manager but with the worksheets and easy to use multi-store settings):







Summary:
Overall it is very clear that the folks at Retail Realm and Retail Management Hero realize that they needed to re-commit to enhancing and stabilizing RMH in order to capture more of the 50,000 retailers world wide that use Microsoft Dynamics RMS and RMS HQ. The biggest concern at this point is that many RMS and HQ users can't wait another 2-3 years for a RMH and RMH Central to stabilize and include all the features and functions that today's retailers want and expect.

Advice:
My overall advice remains the same - if there are no compelling reasons for you to move away from RMS / HQ, then we still have until at least 2020 to keep using RMS. If you compelling reasons to replace RMS /HQ now (TLS 1.2 or 1.3, outdated hardware, credit card processing issues, missing key features/functions that are required by your organization, etc), then you will likely need to either look at Card Defender or other POS options like Cloud Retailer unless you have some fairly simple needs that can be fulfilled by RMH now.

Given that new technology and payment industry requirements may require the replacement of RMS sooner than 2020 or 2021, I would strongly advise having 2 plans in place if the initial thought is to continue using RMS for the time being. One plan would be more long term for RMS replacement and the second plan would be to replace hardware, payment processing equipment, and peripherals as needed in the interim. 

I do see RMH and RMH Central as great replacement options for RMS and HQ for retailers and franchises who can wait until the programs stabilizes and matures over the next 1-3 years.

Next Step:
Can I help? I've now worked with well over 1700 retailers using RMS (and HQ) and can provide the following in conjunction with the entire team at RITE:
  • Retail POS Sales, Support and Service
  • Paid onsite consulting (process documentation and improvement, ROI for a new POS system, POS feature/function/requirement wish list creation, vendor comparison, RFI/RFP/RFQ creation and review)
  • Onsite POS Sales, Support and Service
  • General Advice
Please do contact me at kevinantosh@gmail.com or 208-340-5632 so I can learn more about your business and specific goals. 






Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Microsoft Dynamics RMS/HQ Annual Maintenance: Renew or Not?

A topic of debate over the last couple of months has been whether it makes sense to keep paying for annual software maintenance for the Microsoft Dynamics RMS point of sale software (applies to HQ as well).

The Con List - reasons why RMS users have not been renewing their maintenance:
  • No updates will be made available and support is limited via Microsoft
  • There are no patches or hotfixes being added
  • Full end of life for RMS and HQ is coming up quickly (2020 and 2021)
  • I have no plans to migrate to a different POS program
  • I have no plans to look at any of the POS programs that are replacing Microsoft RMS
  • I plan on selling my business and letting the new owner worry about the POS hardware and software
The Pro List - reasons why RMS users have been renewing their maintenance:
  • We want to take advantage of the license trade / discounts for the RMS replacement programs in the next year (we need to run the numbers as it may be cheaper in the long run to go ahead and lapse if you will be hanging on to RMS for several more years)
  • We still need to be able to add lane and HQ store licenses
  • We do take advantage of the support directly from Microsoft
My Advice:

There is no hard and fast rule here. I would say that it makes sense to stay on annual maintenance if you will be moving to Retail Management Hero or Cloud Retailer in the next couple of years (the discounts are larger that what the annual maintenance costs in most cases). If you just plan to keep using RMS as long as possible, and tend to use little to no support, then it probably makes more sense to save the $214/year per lane license towards a new POS system down the road. 

Same if you have no interest in any of the RMS replacement programs like Retail Management Hero and Cloud Retailer - set the monies aside for a new POS system.

Just keep in mind that once you are no longer on software maintenance, you lose the following:
  • Ability to add lane and/or store licenses
  • License key recovery or replacement (easy fix here is to have all of your licenses keys written down for future reference)
  • Free support cases directly with Microsoft (which is nice but also limited to what Microsoft can/will support)
  • Free license trade to Retail Management Hero or Cloud Retailer (this would be the biggest reason to stay on software maintenance).
Need some personalized advice or help calculating the long term costs? Please contact me at kevinantosh@gmail.com or 208-340-5632.




Tuesday, June 12, 2018

TSYS, Heartland and Wells Fargo Ending Support for Native Payment Processing in Microsoft Dynamics POS 2.0, 2007, 2009 and RMS / TLS Deadline

If you happen to be hanging on to old credit card swipes and are using TSYS, First Data or Heartland to process payments made via credit card or debit card in the Microsoft Dynamics POS 2.0, 2007, 2009 and RMS point of sale software programs, you will be in for a surprise when your processing is turned off starting June 1st, June 30th, or July 1st 2018. This also somewhat aligns with the TLS deadline for non-secure ways of processing credit cards.

It is simply just not secure or safe to use USB or Keyboard Wedge credit card swipes anymore.  You could be fined and/or lose the ability to accept payment via credit or debit card if caught.

There are multiple options available to you:
  1. Look at Card Defender which takes the security risk out of RMS, uses integrated payment terminals to interface with RMS, and you even pick up cool stuff like signature capture and NFC for Apple Pay and Google Wallet.
  2. Switch to using stand alone payment terminals. Quickest and least expensive option but leaves you open to entry errors that can cost you over $2080 annually in lost revenue.
  3. Look at updating RMS to one of the low cost direct replacement programs like Cloud Retailer or Retail Management Hero 
Those are the main options - you should make a decision no late than the end of May.

***I've also been contact by users of Microsoft Dynamics POS 2007, 2009 and 2.0 stating that they are also losing the ability to process credit cards effective June 1st, 2018. In these cases, you have fewer options since Dynamics POS 2007, 2009 and 2.0 do not have any 3rd party processing interfaces and do not qualify for a low cost replacement program. Contact me as needed***

***New Heartland Deadline: June 1st, 2018. You will need to change hardware/software as need or your processing will be tuned off***

****Wells Fargo and Heartland have also communicated with retailers that they will no longer allow them to use RMS and native processing with USB/Keyboard Wedge credit card swipes****

*****If you are using Windows XP then you can not use any web-based or integrated processing solution as Windows XP does not meet security standards*****

Please contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com for more information. You should also contact your merchant services company to see which deadline applies to you.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Now Offering Support for the Vantiv / Mercury Microsoft RMS Integration

Due to demand, we are now able to provide support to Microsoft Dynamics RMS point of sale software users who also use the Vantiv/Mercury/WorldPay payment integration along with the VX805 payment terminals (other payment terminals may be supported as well - so far we've only seen the ICS 250's and the VX 805's being used).

I've had around a half dozen retailers contact me as their current provider could not, or would not, provide support. Here are the stipulations:
  • This is paid support (can choose pay as you go or pre-purchase discounted labor which lowers the hourly rate from $125/hour to under $100/hour - billed in 15 minute increments).
  • A Dealer Change form must be completed in order for our support techs to have access to the information needed to support the system.
Please contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com for more information. You can also use my work contact information if that is easier for you: 208-994-9404 or kevina@rite.us