Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hardware + Software + Retail

I saw this Cash Register package at Fry's the other day. Great idea combining software with specialized hardware and putting it into retail, but while I haven't had any hands-on experience with it, I can almost guarantee that it's not a well integrated offering (Intuit makes some pretty good software, but integration between the products is almost non-existent).

If you read closely on the box it references a download into Quickbooks format, which probably means that the user has to download transactions from the terminal (which has to be powered by a pretty beefed up PC) and import it into Quickbooks. This kind of manipulations leads to disconnected processes with a lot of manual steps and no real-time visibility or centralization.

This however creates a great opportunity for SaaS accounting solutions to provide a well integrated experience where all the transactions are immediately synced to the online database, the management can see and react to real-time data, all the refund/corrections are immediately processed and don't have to be re-synced, and any and all communication can be triggered off the transaction data right at the time the transaction went through.

One thing that has to happen however is software providers have to get their hands dirty with hardware. Yes, I know, you guys hate that, it's capital intensive and creates logistical headaches, but I'm afraid that is what it takes to get a product into mass market, and mass market is what you want, is it not?

SaaS accounting companies - don't snooze - this is your chance to really break into this market, use it!