StoreGazer improves your Point-of-sale (POS) system cost of ownership by helping to manage the environment proactively. A recent study measuring satisfaction of users of POS systems found that “tools configuration” and “utilities” availability scored lowest among the features of POS systems1 – however, with StoreGazer you can have a much different experience. This same survey indicated that “total cost of ownership” is among the most important factors for a successful POS systems implementation. Cost of Ownership includes the cost of downtime, management, and support costs, as well as the “hidden” costs associated with customer dissatisfaction when downtime occurs at point-of-sale.
Fixing problems before they impact your customers is smart – a Gartner study listed a “fast checkout” as one of the top three criteria for a good shopping experience2. Customers shop and spend money in stores that deliver a good shopping experience. Checkout lanes closed by broken equipment or authorization systems that are not working, tarnish your image and send a message to your customers that they are not important.
It takes time and energy to find and fix existing problems to turn your point of sale system into a smoothly running store system. Constant monitoring to watch for new problems is needed when hardware or software is changed or added to the system. StoreGazer provides the tools to help find and solve the problems. StoreGazer helps you control your support costs by providing a productive, easy to use solution for your staff.
Justification for StoreGazer is in many areas. Productivity gains of 50% and higher by support staffs are common among current users of StoreGazer. Problems are fixed faster. Systems and programs are more stable.
The primary benefits of using EDJ’s StoreGazer™ are:
Better customer service through increased availability of the POS system.
- Higher productivity for store management personnel.
- Higher productivity for current and future system support staff.
- New automated capabilities to monitor hardware performance, to identify checkpoints and to find error conditions in newly deployed applications.
- Immediate and on-going cost savings.
A secondary benefit of StoreGazer with the additional COPS feature is the ability to meet the audit requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation dealing with the accessibility of the store controllers by the help desk or support staff.
The first benefit area is better customer service.
The POS system needs to be available to provide customer checkout, customer service and to support store personnel in their daily tasks. Any interruption in the availability of the store system or its components adversely affects customers. StoreGazer’s goal is to eliminate POS system outages and to maximize system availability.
- Reports hardware and software problems automatically.
- Restarts applications that have stopped.
- Gathers diagnostic data automatically for software problems.
- Enables action by the support staff to resolve problems.
StoreGazer alerts the support staff to hardware problems and can restart registers and controllers to clear hardware faults. StoreGazer assists the support staff in diagnosing software problems, performing corrective actions and increasing the stability of the system.
The second benefit area is higher productivity for store management personnel.
Today when a problem happens in the store’s point of sale system, the store manager is notified. The manager spends time investigating the problem and starts the resolution process by telling the help desk about the problem. The manager is dragged into the diagnostic process with the help desk staff. While this is happening, the manager is not performing their regular duties. Cashiers may also be involved in the diagnostic process. The store is losing management and cashier hours that could be better spent with the customers.
- Reduces store labor costs by automatically fixing and reporting problems before store personnel are impacted by the problem.
- Reduces store labor costs by helping to solve problems faster. Store personnel do not have to continually call the support desk to see whether or not the problem is fixed yet.
- Reduces store labor costs by letting the support staff be able to sign-off an open register that is holding up the store closing process.
- StoreGazer can help reduce the amount of time that the store manager spends in trying to get problems with the point of sale hardware or software fixed. StoreGazer can also make sure that hardware problems do not go unreported. This can be especially critical at holiday periods when all registers need to be available.
The third benefit area is higher productivity for the support staff.
- Alerts the support staff before the store calls about a problem. The problem resolution can be started immediately. Telephone call time can be reduced dramatically.
- Restarts authorization programs automatically so the staff does not need to restart them.
- Organizes the information about an incident in a logical and complete approach. The complete incident text is available. Instant access to the current information manual for the message number is one mouse click away.
- Builds an institutional knowledge-base of problem resolutions. It does not disappear when a support person leaves the group. New support personnel have the wisdom of previous staff available to them through the user text feature.
StoreGazer puts the necessary tools and knowledge at the fingertips of the support staff. Problems and issues can be dealt with faster. Support staff has less frustration trying to find out levels of installed software or distributing fixes to the right stores. Even as the number of stores increases, the number of support staff does not have to also increase.
The fourth benefit area is the new automated capabilities for developers and support functions.
The increased information about store level incidents makes it easier for the support programmers to fix problems. The ability to add checkpoint and informational messages into new and existing code means that over time the quality of the code will improve. Improved programming code has a direct impact on the number of incidents experienced by the store. More time can be devoted to creating new profitable programs and less time spent in the support mode.
- Supports building diagnostic and checkpoint messages into new code.
- Can report which modules have been loaded into the register at the beginning of the day.
- Can report the results of software distribution operations. Where an ASM procedure failed to complete, the report will show back level code on the system.
- Can report when a pin pad fails during the day.
- Can alert the staff to performance problems due to excessive chaining in the keyed files.
- Monitors self-checkout terminals and other Windows applications.
- Detects memory leaks in 4690 applications.
Our current users are discovering new uses for StoreGazer that we never imagined.
The final benefit area involves dollar savings or cost avoidance savings.
- Reduces store labor costs by automatically fixing problems before store personnel are impacted by the problem.
- Reduces store labor costs due to more rapid resolution of incidents.
- Reduces support staff costs due to shorter problem resolution times from the first report of the problem to the delivery of the final fix. Better information shortens the mean time to problem resolution.
- Reduces support staff costs due to the collective intelligence that grows during the use of StoreGazer. This benefit area is in training costs.
- Reduces support staff costs due to the higher productivity of the staff in dealing with problems.
- Reduces support staff costs in the area of asset tracking since controller and register serial numbers for each store are kept in the database.
- This allows hardware maintenance invoices to be audited against actual installed hardware.
- Can reduce support staff costs due to automatic hand off of hardware problems to a dispatch system.
- Reduces development staff costs due to better information available to diagnose and resolve application errors.
StoreGazer – COPS feature:
StoreGazer has an optional feature called Centralized Operator Password Solution or COPS that provides three unique functions to help manage the users of the IBM 4690 point-of-sale system. COPS provides for operator id authorization and maintenance from a central site, the ability to retrieve operator id and permissions from a remote store controller and the ability to track login / logout activity by operator id on store controllers.
The first function of COPS allows a qualified user to add new operator records, change the password in existing records or delete selected records in the authorization files. Using a simple interface in the StoreGazer client, users build a list of changes to the IBM 4690 authorization files. StoreGazer sends the list to the selected POS controllers and then updates the authorization files on the 4690 store controllers. This function is used to maintain unique user ids for head office personnel who need to log onto the 4690 POS controllers in the stores.
The COPS feature provides the ability to retrieve a list of all users defined on a store controller. The data is a list of the operators defined to the operating system, application and the offline application. The operator information includes the permissions that have been enabled on a store for an operator and a hashed password.
The COPS feature now includes user activity tracking. A toolbar button brings up the display of user tracking information in the StoreGazer database. The StoreGazer agent specifically reports on user login and logout activity, system IPLs and system dumps. It can track program start and stop events. For diagnostic purposes you can now tell who was logged onto a controller when a given problem occurred.
StoreGazer users are experiencing a six to twelve month ROI based on the benefit areas that we have described. What would your ROI be?
1 POS 2005 Benchmark Survey, 05/2005, Retail Systems Alert Group
2 2003, Gartner/G2