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Archiving POS data: Tame the Point of Sale Tiger

Are you compliant ?  There are new rules for protecting and retaining Point of Sale data.  And there is a solution – we’ve put a webinar here that explains the business problem and our solution using SAP Document Access by Open Text.  

Why do we need the solution?

Here’s the reasoning.  Retail systems generate more data than virtually any other systems on the planet.  Point of Sale cash register software provides enormous detail about thousands or even millions of transactions per day in retail chains of all sizes.

Financial and legal requirements have become more onerous, with greater needs for data retention, increased security, and increasing storage costs all having an impact.  Recent news stories about data breaches (for example on Storefront Backtalk) are bringing a lot of focus to management of data that includes payment information.

The POS transaction log and electronic journal data is the source of all knowledge on the selling side of the business, and is needed to update inventory, financial, and customer loyalty information. After the sale, credit card disputes and chargebacks from banks and acquirers may require that proof of the original transaction be provided. Sales auditors and financial control staff often have to refer to transactions that may have occurred months in the past, and this data can be hard to find.  Data retention for this purpose is at least 12-24 months.  For accounting reasons, it can be 6 to 10 years.  That’s a lot of expensive storage and hard to find, if you don’t have a solution.

Our users were asking for a better Centralized Electronic Journal or search tool.  My colleagues at Open Text and SAP worked with me and our customer base to find a solution to managing all these transactions.

So how can we deal with all this data ?

My retail colleagues and I realized we had untapped assets that could help.  SAP Point of Sale Data Management is a great way to consolidate that POS transaction log data and feed it into the core retail applications.  And you can use standard SAP Archiving capabilities.  But that’s not enough.  You have to retain the original data.

The data retention part is easily tackled by SAP Document Access by Open Text for SAP Retail. Our friends at Open Text and the SAP POS User Group have helped us with a new solution for POS data archiving. 

How does it work ?

Simply, we take the inbound raw transaction log and electronic journal data and tee it into SAP Document Access by Open Text, as well as into the normal feeds (for POSDM or ERP or third party sales audit).  Open Text

The actual flow often looks like this:

POS Data is polled from the registers / store servers using Centralized File Transfer, SAP NetWeaver PI, or FTP. Its usually stored temporarily on a central disk. From here, it is fed into the downstream systems, including SAP Document Access and POS DM.  The Open Text archive server digests, compresses, archives, and secures the data on inexpensive storage.  The other SAP applications use it as needed.  Once its been processed, it does not need to be stored elsewhere – we can retrieve it quickly and securely from the Open Text archive server.

If a credit card dispute happens, or a suspicious transaction needs to be reviewed, an auditor can use the Open Text search tool and retrieve the details of the transaction.  They can even annotate it with comments.  A great way to say “I’ve already looked into the problem, and here is the resolution”.  This process is fully auditable as well as being quite secure.

How to learn more ?

To learn more, ask your account executive, and review the webinar for more details.  Our user community had been struggling with this problem, and we think this solution is the answer.  Feel free to reach out to me as well.

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