What “Jobs” Are You Asking Your Point of Sale System to Do?

I just read through the Strategyn September newsletter, and it reminded me of the “jobs to be done” approach to innovation espoused by Strategyn, as well as Clayton Christensen. It got me thinking about, “what is the job you are asking of your point of sale system?”

Most merchants today would say that a point of sale (POS) system is a mandatory technology required to do business. Handling diverse tender types and large amounts of transactions within small time frame are some of the minimum requirements for any system. But are these the only jobs you want your POS system to perform? Quite often it depends on who the job executor is. So when we dig a little deeper into what we really want a POS system to do, we come up with some different answers.

  1. For us, the real job of a POS system is to easily and quickly capture, track and analyze exactly who is buying what, when, where, and who is helping them with that transaction. And with a little digging, we can start to find out the why as well. When we think about doing these jobs, a number of things can happen:
  2. Front end personnel must quickly and easily navigate the system, fitting into their normal workflows.
  3. Cashier can easily ring up many different tender types and formats, with no front end disruption.
  4. Cashier can identify or log who the customer is, whether as a direct function of the POS system, or through an easy to implement plug-in or integration, with no to minimal disruption for front end personnel as well as the customer.
  5. Cashier must focus on customer engagement during the check-out process, thus the system must be easy to use, reliable and captures an accurate account of their customer transactions for reconciliation.
  6. Capture and track exactly what items a customer buys, knowing where the register was located, at what time, and who the cashier was at time of purchase.
  7. Front end personnel need a system is robust and reliable, so that it can, when necessary, perform at top level in a stand-alone situation, operating independent of a network.
  8. Marketing must track customer transaction history, starting the process of understanding why customers are doing what they’re doing.
  9. Front end management must manage personnel and improving scheduling for efficiency and productivity, and customer satisfaction.
  10. Buyers need to accurately track item inventory and cost levels.
  11. Buyers must easily manage and account for inventory.
  12. The system delivers this captured data in a timely manner, in an easy to understand format, to those who need this information to make better decisions.
  13. Marketing must segment and target customers in ways to help understand how customers react and respond to certain promotions and messages.
  14. Buyers use this information to more accurately order the right product for the right promotion, while maximizing margins.
  15. Marketing uses this information to create more meaningful and relevant promotions, bundles and communication for customers.
  16. The organization creates more profitable sales per customer, and delivers higher customer lifetime value.

Whew! And to think that most POS systems are thought of as front end systems only.

If you’re looking for a POS system to help you complete the tasks described above, give us a call and let’s discuss how we can help you get the job done.
Posted by Steve Massi

Who’s Driving the Big Data Bus?

During a recent Twitter #cxo chat, interesting discussion came up about “ownership” of big data. Most talked about having goals and objectives lead big data implementations. If this were the case, business groups would be leading the way. But in many orgs, big data implementations and utilization is being spearheaded by IT groups. Is there a mismatch here?

From our perspective, big data can and does mean a number of things. IMS believes it’s not just about the volume or velocity of data, it’s also about the quality and intricacy of the data. Depending on the scenario, item level customer specific transaction data may not warrant Hadoop level management, but it surely is of high quality, where data integrity and structure for deep analytical work is critical.

So, who should own big data? Big data ownership needs to be a truly collaborative venture, where shared vision, goals, resources, and knowledge sharing take place. A collaboration where IT and Business groups support each other to do two big things: One, analyze data to find new ways of doing things better, faster and more efficiently, and two, explore data to uncover new trends, needs and opportunities that at present are unknown. It is the merging of understanding what has happened (customer transaction data), with why it has happened (unstructured and qualitative data), to explore and test what should happen next (predictive analysis). All this – using data that’s exclusively yours – is the “unfair advantage”.