Data Breach Costs Reach Galactic Proportions

The Target breach could cost more than $1 billion!

There is no single solution to the challenge facing retailers!

This isn’t a joke….

According to John Kindervag, the vice president and principal analyst with Forrester Research, “I don’t see how they’re getting out of this for under a billion, over time,” he said, adding, “$150 million in a quarter seems almost like a bargain.” The New York Times, August 5, 2014

And Costs in the US are among the highest in the world!

Based on an independent study conducted by Ponemon Institute, consolidated findings show that malicious or criminal attacks are the most costly data breaches incidents in all nine countries. US and German companies experience the most expensive data breach incidents at $277 and $214 per compromised records, respectively.

Protect your data. Protect your customers. Protect your brand. Protect your job.Credit-Card-with-Chains-and-Lock-01-1024x854

Data security is the most important issue facing retailers today. One of the foundational principles of security is to take a layered approach. An integrated approach of combining Tokenization, EMV, and Network Segmentation is the best way to reduce a company’s risk. Anything less than all three leaves a company at the top of the target list for criminals.

Remember the intangible Costs when prioritizing your security initiatives

That’s obvious, but not everyone realizes the indirect effect data breaches have beyond the tangible costs. The impact on customer perceptions and purchase behaviors for brands that have highly publicized breaches have significant costs that could potentially exceed the tangible costs. Oh, and by the way, don’t forget that many breaches result in “key” individuals getting fired!

When evaluating and implementing changes in this rapidly changing area rely on industry experts to assist in the development of short-term and long-term designs.

Why Move to Virtual POS?

The opportunities available to retailers through the virtual POS model are exciting and the benefits are significant. By eliminating the need to install and run the POS application on a server at each store, a significant burden of software maintenance, ongoing operation, and support is alleviated. Here are a few of the benefits of switching to a virtual POS system:Hand-coins

  • Reduced initial hardware costs: With virtual POS, retailers can utilize existing equipment and/or less-expensive equipment in the store because less processing power is needed at each location. In addition, hardware updates or refresh programs avoid the need for a mass replacement of de-centralized equipment in order to keep up with processing requirements.
  • Reduced deployment time:The ability to utilize existing hardware and deploy new software from a centralized location can significantly reduce the time needed to deploy a new POS environment.
  • Simplified hardware maintenance: With less hardware at the store and more of the processing performed at the data center it becomes far simpler and less expensive to maintain hardware.
  • Labor savings: Fewer POS IT and infrastructure support staff are needed to maintain and support applications, resulting in significant reduction in annual IT and store support costs. Studies have shown that every company that used on-premises server-based software applications has to hire one on-site IT support person for every 50 employees. With Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, almost all of these customer-incurred support costs are eliminated. This can also be translated to a lean or thin client POS deployment
  • Simplified software upgrades: Upgrades can be completed at the data center and may not need to be pushed to the store.
  • Simplified PCI and PII (Personally Identifiable Information) compliance: Under PCI, credit card data is immediately encrypted and removed from the store over the secured credit authorization network. By segmenting it from normal transaction data and with special handling, compliance can be maintained. Similarly, by moving PII up to the data center, a more rigorous data security plan can be put in place to afford the protection this data requires. It is much easier to secure data at one location (centralized) than at 500 or thousands of locations.
  • Better business agility and flexibility: Retailers have the opportunity to deliver critical applications in a much more flexible manner than with the traditional in-house, server-based systems. Flexibility becomes increasingly important to larger retailers who can become more nimble as they can add new applications more quickly because they no longer have to deal with individual store server-based constraints.Virtualized POS WP Cover Page
  • Reduced telephone costs: The ability to utilize VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) as a telephone option can reduce the costs at the store-level for the individual lines.
  • Increased customer service: The ability to implement Customer Wi-Fi hotspots as a customer service can enable
    social networking within the store at faster speeds, simplify communication to your customer, and enhance customer loyalty.
  • Reduced training costs: The ability to use video training helps reduce training materials, which are often outdated, at the store locations. Also, changes completed at Corporate or at the data center can be available for the stores to view immediately.

Are you ready for virtual POS?

For more details on virtual POS, check out this white paper:

Virtual POS is Retail Ready – Are you Ready?


MICROS Acquisition Makes Oracle #1 in Retail POS – How will SAP Respond?

Retail is a focus industry for both Oracle and SAP – Share your opinions on the impact of the Oracle acquisition and what you think will happen next.

Store Front Sale_CroppedWith the pending acquisition of MICROS, Oracle will become the new leader in retail POS software according to our 2014 POS/Customer Engagement Survey results. Oracle’s largest acquisition since it acquired Sun Microsystems in 2010 demonstrates the attractiveness of industries it considers to be ripe for technology transformation and growth.

This move sparks several questions that are worthy of debate:

  • What changes in technology make retail/QSR/hospitality attractive enough for Oracle to invest $5.3 billion?
  • How will the combination of Oracle and MICROS truly benefit retailers?
  • How will SAP respond to this move? Will they make a similar acquisition, and if so, what company would be a good fit?

We would like your opinions on these questions or other feedback you have on this topic. Please respond in the comments section below.

Here are some thoughts from Boston Retail Partners’ executives:

“The retail industry is on the verge of a significant transformation from a customer engagement and technology perspective, which makes it a compelling investment opportunity for companies like Oracle,” said Walter Deacon, Principal, Boston Retail Partners. “Consumers will expect real-time retail capabilities that deliver a seamless shopping experience wherever, and whenever, they shop. Oracle’s addition of MICROS store applications, combined with its existing enterprise, analytics, eCommerce and cloud capabilities, hold the promise to offer a complete solution making ‘real-time retail’ a reality! A key determinator of success, will be the integration of the two companies’ commerce technologies.”

“Oracle has extensive capabilities and experience in enterprise retail software and the addition of MICROS expands its portfolio to become the de facto leader in retail POS software,” said Ken Morris, Principal, Boston Retail Partners. “With the advancements made in network reliability, virtual POS applications are prime for adoption in the retail space. Networks are ready to change retail as we know it – just like they transformed the banking industry with ATMs. With Oracle’s robust enterprise cloud infrastructure, it is well positioned to extend its cloud capabilities to retail store applications like POS.”

“Oracle and SAP have been fierce software competitors in many industries and retail is a key battleground,” said Ken Claflin, Executive Vice President, Boston Retail Partners. “It will be interesting to see if SAP responds with a similar acquisition or adds new capabilities that differentiate them from Oracle in this competitive market.”

Please add your opinions and comments below…

Virtual POS is the new POS Paradigm

We aCloud Computingre at a strategic inflection point where the network is taking center stage by enabling a mobile world where consumers drive self-checkout on their smartphone, interact with their friends in real-time on purchase decisions, and receive discounts and personalized pricing as they are shopping.

The traditional store architecture will not support the agility and flexibility that the store environment requires to evolve. A new leaner architecture will become the new normal and virtualization the new buzzword.

In the past, Virtual POS would not have been an option due to the perceived risk of WAN failure. Today, due to massive investments in infrastructure, we now have robust network infrastructures available that are far more reliable and resilient than anything we have seen in the past. The reliability of today’s networks provides 99.999% up time.

Virtualized POS WP Cover PageThe network changes everything! Virtual POS enables the retailer to have a more agile environment to be able to offer the customer a richer shopping experience while reducing expenses – isn’t this what every retailer is working towards? And best of all, retailers can lower the total cost of ownership for POS by embracing this model.

Why are most retailers reluctant to make the move to virtual POS? Is it fear? Or are we locked into our pre-conceived notions, our bias of what POS should be or what the network should be. Is it that it isn’t perceived as broken so why fix it? Except that it is broken and every day we wait we are missing the next wave. We are only limited by our imaginations to invent the new POS experience.

Are you ready for virtual POS?

For more details on virtual POS, check out this white paper:

Virtual POS is Retail Ready – Are you Ready?

NETWORKS – The Retail Enabler

Significant advances in networks in the past decade are transforming retail, as we know it. However, the transformation isn’t pervasive yet, as the adoption of the latest network technologies requires planning and commitment.

NetworkCorporate, regional and district executives expect instant access to sales transactional data, customer counts, and in-store occurrences via an IP-based camera system. Additionally, new networking capabilities have brought the expectation that sales associates are given visibility and access to inventory located anywhere in the supply chain in real-time. The network is also taking center stage by enabling a mobile world where consumers drive self-checkout on their smartphone, interact with their friends in real-time on purchase decisions, and receive discounts and personalized pricing as they are shopping.

Retailers are consistently looking for ways to improve the in-store experience by providing consumer experiences that surpass expectations. From training services and software to bettering speed and reliability at the point of sale, the demand for process improvement is continual. Yet, despite the desire for progress, a rut has been created in the market of networking. Because of contract obligations and short-term demands, companies end up paying more money for bandwidth, while never re-engineering to accommodate the powerful system that they need.

To illustrate the dilemma, in a 2014 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey conducted by Boston Retail Partners, more than one-third of retailers surveyed stated they have no plans to migrate from IPSEC to a private network. Further, around 30 percent cited they have no plans to utilize voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), instead continuing to use “plain old telephone service” (POTS) technology rather than actualizing on the cost savings of VoIP integration.

Taking the step towards change may be difficult due to concerns about downtime and blackouts. Though these are legitimate concerns, the fact remains that we now have one of the most robust and reliable network infrastructures in the world. While in the past, centralization of the point-of-sale process would not have been viable due to unstable telecommunications networks, massive investments in infrastructure have changed the landscape. In fact, research shows that the reliability of today’s networks provide 99.999% up time. (Source: Galvin Electricity Initiative).

We are at a strategic inflection point where the network is truly transforming retail and the customer experience.

How will you capitalize on this opportunity?

Tire Kingdom® – Customer Service on Steroids!

Imagine this experience at your local tire store…

You drive in with a problem with your tires or brakes or something else and when you are greeted by the salesperson, they can immediately show you what the good, better and best prices for the products you need based on your vehicle make, model and year – without even asking you any questions about your car.

How is this possible? TireKingdomApp

With a nifty POS application designed with the assistance of Boston Retail Partners, Tire Kingdom® staff scan your car’s VIN outside and upload it to the store’s POS system and then the sales associate pulls it up on the screen and can instantaneously identify the inventory and pricing of all products available within a specific radius. The systems not only identifies product availability, but it also categorizes the products into ranges of good, better and best based on price and quality to make the selection decision easier for the customer.

Now that’s customer service!

In-Store, Customer-Facing Technology Is Most Important To Retailers

RETAIL TOUCHPOINTS – Retailers stated that in-store, customer-facing technology is “most important” to their organizations, followed by real-time retail and unified commerce. These and other findings were revealed in the 15th Annual POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, issued January 2014 by Boston Retail Partners.

WEBINAR REPLAY: The ABC's Of Delivering A Superior Customer Experience

RETAIL TOUCHPOINTS – So what are the best ways to enable store associates to deliver a superior customer experience? This webinar will outline 5 ways retailers can win the battle for brand loyalty and long-term success. Features insights from Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners.

2014 Review & Outlook

RIS NEWS – Whatever happens next year, whether it is surprising or epic, the following experts will be sure to see it coming and be prepared to manage it. See how a select group of retail’s thought leaders view the current state of retailing and what lies ahead for 2014. Includes insights from Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners.—Outlook89767

Cloud Update: Winning Retail Strategies

RETAIL TOUCHPOINTS – Retailers say that scalability, flexibility, reduced costs, greater uptime and premium brand experiences are just some of the benefits raining down from their cloud implementations. Hear the insights on cloud-based applications (including POS) from industry thought leaders including Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners.