I’m currently in the process of trying to examine solutions for the retail market. So I decided to start a blog to get some help and hopefully to help others who find themselves in my position one day.
I need some help wrapping my head around the hardware/software stack. I’ll try to explain where I am and where I need to go.
Where I Am
I’m an IT consultant with an open source, Java, and Linux background. I know software, but I don’t know the retail software stack. I have a general idea of what retail hardware includes (eg. admin servers, branch servers, POS terminals, kiosks), but don’t know how it all fits together.
I’ve been assigned to examine and recommend an complete retail solution with a focus on POS and mobile commerce. Plus I have a few ideas for what some potential clients may find of benefit in store (eg. cutting long lines, self service kiosks for price checks, product search etc.).
Where I Need To Go
I think I need to know more about retail hardware. Particularly, how hardware agnostic are retail software solutions? Eg. I notice SUSE and Oracle seem to have some form of relationship and Oracle and IBM also have a relationship. What if I want to deploy on NCR hardware that run SUSE Enterprise Linux POS (SELPOS)? By the way, where is SELPOS 10? I also know that IBM has an offering (IRES) that runs on SELPOS. All of these interesting business relationships are a bit confusing to me, but I do know that open standards such as JavaPOS are what give so many choices. Unfortunately, for a newcomer such as myself its all a bit overwhelming.
Retail software solutions is a new area for me. So perhaps what I need to do first is familiarize myself with how retail stores work and how software fits into the whole retail process.
I would also like to differentiate my company’s offering by capitalizing on the cost, reliability, and remote support benefits of a Linux platform solution.
I’m open to suggestion on where to start with all of this.