Published by: TMCnet.com
Date: September 22, 2011
By TMCnet Special Guest
Christopher Krywulak, CEO, iQmetrix
“Smartphones accounted for 23.6 percent of overall sales in the first quarter of 2011, an increase of 85 percent year-on-year,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner.
As available carriers, devices, features, rate plans and accessories have rapidly increased, maintaining a comprehensive point-of-sale (POS) solution and a quality mobile shopping experience has proven to be a trying task.
Leveraging software tools can aid mobile retailers in maintaining POS analytics at the front and back end of the house. Best practice POS analytic software provides multiple tools to manage an effective mobile operation; offering companies a reporting system that is both comprehensive and robust.
Tools available at the reseller’s disposal
An ideal POS software solution offers tools that deliver necessary metrics to comprehensively manage analytical data. Using best practice solutions reports should include:
- Inventory: Manage purchase orders, inventory, RMA’s and transfers
- Finance: Account receivable and G/L activity
- Commission: Employee and carrier commission
- Employees: Payroll and HR departments
- Business Intelligence (BI): BI activity
- Performance Metrics: Company performance
- Integrated Service: Provides on partner products that are integrated into the solution
- Sales: Sales and profit, as well as customer sales history
- Customers: Customer activity as well as CRM management
- Dashboards: Dashboards for company, sales and location overviews
The POS solution should offer users information on the company’s performance available through a mobile application. Additionally, HR, CRM and inventory management capabilities should offer operational reports from the core application. This gives busy employees access to company metrics on the go.
The POS solution should provide business intelligence suites, offering both standard and customizable reporting capabilities. Optimally, customizable BI core solutions should offer reports delivered in a user interface through the core application.
Accurately utilizing gathered data
Derived reports within a core solution should be delivered centrally through the reporting console. The ability to export and deliver data to Excel should be offered through the software interface.
Similarly, if using a mobile application, data should be accessible on mobile devices through the POS software solution.
Mobile retailers appreciate available features that BI tools offer such as direct accessibility and core solutions; external BI solutions are no longer a necessity. When customizable BI reports and core suite reports can be delivered on the same page, employee accountability is easily enforced. This POS solution allows for easy delivery and maintenance within the interface.
Paying attention to varied levels of analytics
Available reports within the POS solution offer employees relevant information based on their position within the company. In order to secure reports that may contain sensitive data, security should be role based. This makes determining accessibility to reports a simple process.
Screened reports should be specialized for each employee. Optimally, users have the ability to “view my information”, store managers can “view location information” and district managers can “view district information.” Users should be able to navigate simply to relevant reports and review metrics dependent upon their position within the organization. Every member of the company should have access to relevant data regardless of their role.
If generating reports via a mobile application, security should be parallel with the POS solution; meaning access on an employee’s mobile device is dependent upon the user’s job function.
The BI tool should allow for report security that is easy to configure with role based access. Additionally, BI tools should restrict up or down drilling through data, meaning users are unable to view information that is not within their level at the organization. Administrators should have the ability to lock down, drill down/drill up and enable “read-only access” if required.
Ensure user-friendly reports for reduced time
An easy-to-use and easy-to-navigate format should be displayed when running reports in the core solution. Users should not have to look for information, instead they should be able to view data quickly and utilize it effectively so information can be analyzed.
Besides keywords, the search engine should allow employees to generate reports quickly, and save favorites, allowing for fast restoration and analyzation of data.
Customizable reports parallel to the reseller’s business model
Report customization should be available within the BI tools. Initially the report views should be canned with the ability to customize the report in order to cater to the individual’s business practices. Columns should have the ability to be customizable, so the user has the ability a view a report based on their preferences. Columns should also be sortable and filterable with exception criteria set. This allows only relevant rows to be displayed, such as invoices or orders that need to be audited. Time is reduced by customizing rows, restricting certain information and sorting the remaining data.
BI tools should be customized within the core solution. Employees tend to use features such as custom reporting, development and analytics that mirror the benchmark metrics their carriers produce. Metrics should incorporate items such as: GP/Contract, Feature $/Contract, Accessory Revenue and GP/HR. As a complement to core solution reporting, reports should then automatically be delivered to the entire sales team.
Once a POS solution is implemented, mobile retailers will find that analytical information can be carried throughout the organization.
Christopher Krywulak is CEO of iQmetrix, a leading provider of solutions to the wireless retail industry. iQmetrix, a privately held software as a service (SaaS) company with offices in Canada and the United States, was founded in 1999 when Christopher, himself a successful wireless retailer, realized a need for an integrated system to manage his business.
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