Planning a Software Rollout

15 Jul 2015

In today’s world, technology continues to change and evolve at a rapid pace. Every industry faces the challenge of keeping up with these changes, but this is especially true for retail store owners, who need to be aware of security regulations, omni-channel systems, and mobile devices.

In addition to these concerns, retailers will need to ensure that the software used in their store’s POS systems is up to date, which will make sure the latest security concerns are addressed and the newest functionality is available. However, before rolling out software updates to your store, you’ll need to take the following considerations into account:

Compatibility and Support

Before completing a software rollout, retailers will need to ensure that their systems will be able to accommodate the requirements of the software. They will need to address the following areas:

  • Hardware compatibility, including the installed drivers
  • Operation system version
  • Anti-virus software compatibility
  • Network connectivity
  • Wireless security

In addition, when planning a rollout, you’ll want to take into account its impact to employee productivity in both the short and long term. While people are becoming accustomed to the new software, more staff may be required to ensure efficient POS operations. In the longer term, there may be implications to productivity that should be considered, so you’ll need to monitor staff levels and plan accordingly.

During software rollouts, support staff will also need to be considered. Your Help Desk may need additional staffing for the implementation and post-implementation period to address any issues that arise while your staff is learning the new software.

Mobile Devices

Mobile devices should not be overlooked when conducting a software rollout. Even if the applications contained on the mobile devices you use at your store are not impacted by the software being deployed, changes to the network infrastructure can impact them. Don’t rely exclusively on connectivity testing in the lab or corporate office environment. Instead, pilot test changes in “real world” sites before deploying to identify any issues that may not have been evident in a lab setting.

EMV and PCI Compliance

In order to meet EMV compliance, retailers will generally have to perform two separate rollouts: software updates and hardware replacements. They will need to consider how both of these components can be done independently of each other. For instance, it may be possible to update software at multiple locations overnight, but installing hardware will take longer to complete. A successful EMV implementation plan will support the separate implementation of these two components.

In addition, retailers will want to be sure to verify that their EMV implementation does not impact their PCI status. Engaging your Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) early in your project to identify any potential issues will ensure that you are not at risk.

Plan for Success

Because each retailer is different, every rollout will encounter its own issues and challenges. Don’t forget to conduct a “lessons learned” review following the completion of your software rollout. This will help you prepare for any future rollouts or upgrades.

If you have any questions about software rollouts or would like to know about how Level 10 can help you plan and implement a successful project, please contact us.