The recent slew of payment industry requirements and conflicts with Windows 10, have prompted many of you to contact me regarding whether you will still be able to use Microsoft Dynamics RMS (and HQ) through the final July 2021 end of life date.
This question has been on my mind as I travel to meet with RMS users across the country - especially with those of you on HQ who have 5-40 locations and can't quickly switch to Retail Management Hero (RMH) or Cloud Retailer.
At this time, it appears that the main issues are related to the native payment processing used in RMS as well as outdated payment processing solutions like the 1000 series pin pads and Windows XP. The best short and long term solution here is to put in Card Defender which works with RMS as well as Retail Management Hero and Cloud Retailer. Replacing older Windows XP with Windows 7 Pro or Windows 10 Pro is also required at this point.
We are going to continue to see new industry requirements at least every 3-6 months so eventually the age of RMS will catch up with itself (we are talking about a program that was released in the early 2000's based on a software program from the late 1990's).
Single location retailers can basically make the switch to RMH or Cloud Retailer when time and budget allow or put in Card Defender and deal with RMS come 2020 or 2021.
Chains need a bit more time to plan ahead - any MANY of you have contacted me to discuss via phone or in person. Given that we are seeing issues related to Windows 10, SQL Server, and payment processing hardware, I would highly recommend having a plan "A" and a plan "B". Plan "A" would be to update and replace all hardware as needed now (including adding Card Defender if needed) and plan for the replacement of RMS and HQ come 2019 or 2020 - I would not recommend waiting until 2021 as we don't know what exactly might come around come 2020 and 2021.
Plan "B" would be some sort of contingency plan to switch POS systems sooner that later if some sort of failure occurs. Basically plan "B" would be an expedited version of the second part of plan "A".
So the short answer to my original question is that I am somewhat less confident in RMS being fully functional through July 2021 - especially when it comes to trying to use the native payment processing. Thus, you should have two plans of action - just in case.
Should I Keep Investing in RMS?
This is a tough question. It depends on how much longer you plan on using RMS and what point of sale software program you will be replacing RMS with. An example would be investing in Card Defender for Microsoft RMS. This is a good investment since Card Defender takes some of the security risks out of RMS when it comes to payment industry requirements AND Card Defender works with some of the RMS replacement programs like Cloud Retailer and Retail Management Hero.
If you are looking at 3rd party plugs ins for RMS like age verification or the ability to email receipts, then it depends on how much longer you plan on using RMS. If RMS is being replaced in 1-2 years, then I'd seriously consider the overall cost versus what not having a specific feature/function is costing you in terms of lost revenue or labor for manual processes. However, if you plan on using RMS for another 2+ years, then the investment likely makes sense.
Same for investing in new hardware (computers, cash drawers, receipt printers, etc). If you are incurring a lot of break/fix costs, then investing in new hardware makes sense. Just make sure that you use industry standard hardware that is supported by most POS software programs.
The short answer is basically looking at the investment using the following criteria:
- Does the investment solve an issue that costs our organization lost revenue or extra labor costs?
- Will this investment carry through to our next POS software program?
- When will we be replacing RMS? Will this investment be in use long enough to offer an ROI?
Have I completely confused you? I think that I have confused myself! I have lost count on how many retailers, chains, and franchisee's have contacted me for sales, service and on-site paid consulting.
If I can help related to sales, service or paid on-site consulting specific to RMS and HQ, please let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 208-340-5632. I would enjoy the opportunity to learn more about your organization!