When it comes to computer systems, the buzzword today is "open." Retailers are switching to open-systems architecture for a wide variety of applications.
Software Options: With many vendors to choose from, selecting software for open systems can be less costly and less risky. Retailers can more easily write customized software programs to fit their needs.
Maintenance Savings: Installing personal computers at the front end, for example, usually results in substantial maintenance savings. PC components, with their "plug and play" capacity, typically are less expensive to replace and are covered by three-year warranties.
Buyer's Advantage: By choosing open systems, which can run virtually any software program, the retailer is in an unusually strong position to bargain with vendors for the lowest price or best package.
Processing Power: Open systems may not be able to deliver the processing power and speed needed to handle large, complex applications, such as a company's financial programs.
Resisting Change: It's never easy to change. For MIS executives, the move to open systems often means severing established service contracts and assuming new responsibilities, including added support to the end user.
Missing Links: The lack of some critical systems tools, such as advanced resource manager and data security programs, may be slowing down some planned application rollouts.