What Should EPOS Implementation Involve? | Q&A
Point of Sale systems have become more than a place for data entry and processing sales transactions. Instead, the world of EPOS has extended into an evolving technology hub which should provide businesses with increased profitability, efficiency and productivity.
We’ve caught up with our Operations Director, James Corrigan, where we discuss why specific implementation services are critical when deploying a Point of Sale suite and the issues which may be experienced if those steps are fast-tracked…
WITH JAMES CORRIGAN, Operations Director at Tevalis
To start with, let's discuss the very first step once a client has confirmed to go ahead with Tevalis...
Firstly, a project manager will be assigned and that might be based on the style of venue or location, so that we can assign the best suited PM to each business. For example, we have project managers who come from hospitality background such as hotels.
If the client is a hotel operation, we may give them a former hotel operator as their project manager. Once they've been assigned, they'll touch base directly on a call or book in a project meeting which will be their first face to face contact with our implementation team.
What other key implementation processes will be experienced after that?
After the project manager has gone through an implementation pack with the client to make sure that it features everything they require, then the next step is system build, if there are no specific development requests.
This is where one of our assigned system builders will take the implementation pack and build a beta version of their POS system. The next step here, are the system reviews which are key, so that the operator receives an opportunity to review the system before it goes into their business. To be honest, this is probably the most important part of the process because we're not the type of business which just turns up on the day with a system and says “there you go”.
The more reviews with this team, the more likely it is that the client understands the system when it’s deployed.
Our training team are also a key part of the process, where a trainer will attend site or set up an online session, and they will train the teams on the relevant parts of the software, including On-Premise platforms and Enterprise modules such as Business Analytics and Stock Management.
The final stage, which is optional, although I couldn't recommend it enough, is Go-Live support. This is where a system trainer or an engineer, or maybe your project manager, will go back to the venue and spend an operational session or two to support the team during service.
Operations which are already live, can have concerns about disruption during service when deploying a new system.
How do Tevalis keep that to a minimum when making that transition?
Firstly, you need to remember that we're not always replacing an EPOS system which is bad, we might be replacing it because we can do things slightly better or our platforms contain features that other companies don't.
Therefore, it’s really important that the PM identifies the good parts of the previous platforms so that we still include that in their new Tevalis suite. That will help with staff confidence during service, because there will be familiarity straight away when using the system, which may even just be the layout of the buttons.
Alongside this, booking the right installation slot is key. If you're a live venue, we can turn up at 9am on a Monday morning to install when service is quieter. It does depend on the clients requirements.
If the venue is a larger operation, we also provide phased installs to minimise disruption of service, which means that certain parts of the business and their tech set up, goes in before others.
Then it comes back to go Go-Live support again. Having people from Tevalis on site is always a huge help to ensure everything runs smoothly.
What happens after a project has been deployed?
We identified that clients were being "looked after" long term by their project managers. The reason for that historically was that the project manager had the most contact.
They spent a number of weeks with a client and they would then organically become an account manager for that operation. So I myself am still the account manager for clients such as The Breakfast Club and Ibiza Rocks Hotel, because I spent more time with them and we didn't have account managers at that time.
However, that's not always the most efficient way to work for both parties and so, we introduced a dedicated customer care team for post deployment so that contact is always available.
The great thing about this team is that they bridge knowledge gaps. After training days, there are obviously going to be things that customers forget or questions that they forgot to ask. The customer care team are there to maintain contact and assist in areas such as this.
Lastly, what one piece of advice would you give to operators looking to fast track these implementation processes?
Do not underestimate the task at hand.
An EPOS system should sit in its place and almost never be spoken about. To achieve that, you need to invest time into it and work with the processes that Point of Sale providers such as ourselves, have in place. Making sure your data is right, making sure your menus are in configured correctly, so that when you do open the doors to your brand new restaurant, you don't go "oh, I forgot to add in options against that main course dish."
I would say that some operators get very close to opening a restaurant and they forget they need a till system. Then, they rush it and the experience isn't a good one.
Put the time and energy into it, so that it literally comes in and does exactly as you need. And, the more you put into it, the better the end result will be. Your reports will be better, your stock system will be easier to use, your cash management process will be easier.
Systems which have been rushed, is when EPOS becomes a focal point of your business and I don't mean that in a positive way. In my opinion, whilst I make my living from EPOS, impulse should never be the focal point of your business. Ultimately, the service and the food should.