Fear of Selby Soft purchase being obsolete (like PC) in a few years time

Just like buying a PC and having it outdated within a year or so, I fear spending a huge chunk of a money on a point-of-sale system, only having it be obsolete in a short period and then turning around and having to buy a newer, more expensive system.  Are my fears real?  What are my options?

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Your fears are perfectly valid, when purchasing software you are buying the company and the support not a commodity item. Make sure you are comfortable with the people behind the software and are confident that you can work with them to fully utilize their product. Selby Soft has been around and serving the coffee industry for quite some time, I've not heard anything negative about their company or product. My statement above is purely general.

 

So if I buy Selby Soft (or any other brand for that matter) how often am I having to upgrade (software and/or hardware)?  What are the costs?

Jason Shipley said:

Your fears are perfectly valid, when purchasing software you are buying the company and the support not a commodity item. Make sure you are comfortable with the people behind the software and are confident that you can work with them to fully utilize their product. Selby Soft has been around and serving the coffee industry for quite some time, I've not heard anything negative about their company or product. My statement above is purely general.

 

Think of it this way, you are buying a technology product.  One that will eventually become obsolete (at least the hardware).  However, presuming that your demands don't drastically change over the next year (or four), it is unlikely that the actual unit you buy and use will truly be "obsolete" for your operations.

 

At its essence, the computerized POS is a glorified cash register. It tallies sales and identifies product.  The basic functionality of the POS will be there almost regardless of time passed.  I know retail operations using what we would consider antiquated POS systems.

 

On the other hand, an old friend of mine is a project manager for a major retailer.  Her sole job is to work with their vendors in developing and procuring the next generation of POS systems for deployment across the nation.

I suggest you talk to Mike at SelbySoft. One of the nicest guys I've met since getting into coffee. If he can't answer your questions, no one can.

A couple of observations after many years in the PC hardware/software business (I started in 1979).

1. Whatever hardware you buy is immediately out of date. Next week the same machine will be available cheaper, or an upgraded version of the hardware will be available for the same price. Just don't worry about it.

2. Plan on upgrading your hardware on a 3-4 year cycle. Yes, it still works, and the old software still works, but your business should be running on current hardware/software (see #3)

3. Upgrade your software when new versions come out. You might not need all the new features of the upgraded version, but there will probably be something that will solve a problem that you didn't even know you had. Also, it can be very difficult to upgrade multiple software versions, i.e. from version 4 to version 6. You will also probably spend almost as much for the 2 version upgrade as you would have going from 4 to 5 and then from 5 to 6.

4. Software maintenance contracts seem like a waste of money, until you have a problem and need help.

 

Note: I no longer sell any hardware/software products.

 

"the oldest guy at your party"

I'll tackle this in general because the questions are not just related to us but all POS and technology products.  


It's a valid fear and question and I'm asked all the time about this. 

 

A POS system is far more advanced than a regular cash register.  If you buy a POS and never update the software or hardware, you are still way more advanced than a cash drawer.  Think of it this way. . . A manual typewriter vrs any computer from the 1990.  The computer is still far more advanced even though by todays standards it is obsolete.  

 

I'm going to speak in generalities on this next part. . . 

Hardware is the item that eventually needs to be upgraded.  And, when POS manufacturers talk about hardware upgrades we usually mean the actual computer.  Cash drawers, printers, touch screens etc will usually be compatible until they physically fail. 

 

Most of us in the POS world should be able to run on the last couple versions of any computer OS.  For example, this year we came out with an update that will not run on Windows 2000 and last year was our last update for Windows 98.  So if you have Windows XP or better our most cutting edge software will still function on it.  Usually you see about 5-6 years on a software package before you may need to upgrade the computer itself.

 

For example,  I have about 30 customers or so that still run an MS-DOS (pre-windows) version of our software.  Their thought is that it is light years of a cash drawer then, and it still is now.  Those customers can't take advantage of the updates in POS software we have had over the years but they still have the functionality that we sold back then.  Another example would be a place I stopped in at while in Las Vegas recently.  They had a system that was from a computer that went out of business over 10 years ago.  Still running along and happy.  Scares me but they were fine with it. 

 

Keep in mind that if the cash drawer, printers etc are all in good shape then we are talking about an upgrade of the computer itself - $500 -$800 dollars.  That's amortized over a 5-6 year period so it's really not that big an investment.  


The POS software should be updated on a regular basis to keep up with changes in the industry (both coffee / food and computer).  Assuming you continue to receive updates from your POS company you should be good to go even 5-6-10 years down the road.  

 

Are there guarantees that someone you buy from today is in business tomorrow?  No.  But it's that way with any of your manufacturers.  All you can base it on is how long have they been around, reputation, frequency of product updates etc.  

 

I hope this helps! 

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