Microsoft RMS Headquarters (HQ)


Retail giants like Wal-Mart, The Home Depot and Target invest heavily in strategies and technologies that help them sell more, grow rapidly and cut operating expenses. Their successes show that operational efficiency dictates survival and that access to retail information monitors growth. As the retail industry changes and competition intensifies, retailers require immediate access to the right information. They require the ability to instantly act on that changing information, either selectively by store and region, or globally. Stores’ information must be easily and flexibly reportable and management decisions must be easily entered, implemented and enforced. Information technology infrastructure must tell management what was bought, when, where, by whom and why. Retailers that survive and grow will understand the impacts of promotions and markdowns, buying trends and dynamic consumer demographics/lifestyles. Strategic decisions can then be made centrally and implemented chain-wide or at individual stores. Retailers and suppliers can work together to distribute the right merchandise mix in a timely, efficient manner. Accordingly, retailers have struggled for years to set up information systems that integrate and connect headquarters, in-store processors and the point-of-sale. Lack of a comprehensive solution forced chains to piece together closed proprietary systems often based on disparate data models and data access techniques. The cost and complexity and lack of certainty in deploying such piecework solutions have slowed the growth of small and medium-sized chains. Retail Management System HeadQuarters is a direct response to the growing number of small to mid-sized stores/chains looking for software to grow as they grow and address immediate and future business goals. As an integrated, business-wide, point-of-sale and retail management solution, HQ allows mid-sized retail chains to take advantage of price and technical innovations in commodity hardware, software and Internet-enabling technologies. Now mid-sized retail chains can exploit the same technologies that reveal the most salable mixes of merchandise and shave dollars off big chain store prices.

HQ offers retailers a feature-set designed specifically for dynamic and growing companies:

  • Integrated point-of-sale and in-store functions that trade data with Retail Management System Store Operations
  • Ability to create new items, set pricing and discounts, generate purchase orders and direct inter-store inventory transfer from the head office
  • Automatic uploading of stores’ inventory movement, financial transactions and sales data, then organizing the data into a comprehensive all-knowing database
  • Ability to see, manage, price and control inventory across multiple locations and to make informed decisions based on up-to-date and reliable data
  • A pre-packaged solution that offers low licensing costs and rapid investment returns
  • Highly customizable features for individual needs
  • Built-in security system to restrict employee access to sensitive information
  • Open-standards access to all retail information stored in a Microsoft SQL Server database
  • Detailed sales data for data warehousing, OLAP and business intelligence analyses
  • Ability to view inventory levels at all the stores in the enterprise
  • Support for virtually all forms of data communications between the head office and stores using a dial-up, virtual private network (VPN), the Internet, LAN and WAN

The required software components that enable you to successfully manage your multi-store operations are:

  • HQ offers retailers a feature-set designed specifically for dynamic and growing companies:
  • Store Operations
  • HQ Remote Client and HQ Communications Server Programs
  • HQ Manager Program

Microsoft Retail Management System Store Operations

Store Operations software is sold separately from HQ. It operates at each store in the retail enterprise and maintains sales data in a local database. Store Operations automates each store’s back-office operations (inventory, pricing, tracking customers and suppliers, etc.) and handles all sales transactions at the checkout lane. Key information contained in the Store Operations database is regularly uploaded to the head office. At the same time, HQ downloads management’s changes made at the head office to each store’s database.

HQ Remote Client and HQ Communications Server Programs

The HQ Remote Client and HQ Communications Server programs are parts of the Store Operations HQ software package. HQ Client is installed at each remote store and automatically initiates a connection to the head office based on a schedule specified by the head office. The connection can be made via the Internet, virtual private network (VPN), or dial-up access to the HQ Communication Server. Once connected, HQ Client receives instructions to upload sales and inventory data or other information requested by HQ. It also updates the store’s database to reflect any changes made at HQ that need to be propagated to the store. The HQ Communications Server is installed on a machine at the head office and is responsible for exchanging data between the HQ database and remote stores. It listens for incoming messages from remote stores, processes and records the data in the HQ database, then forwards HQ’s directives to remote stores as defined in HQ worksheets.

HQ Manager Program

At the head office, the HQ Manager program provides the user interface and management of retail information in the HQ database. Functions necessary to manage a retail chain are provided. HQ Manager lets you create new inventory items or update the data (items, suppliers, prices, costs, etc.) that keep your retail chain running smoothly. HQ Manager enables you to set policies and procedures for each store to follow, then enforces those rules applicably throughout the enterprise. Specially tailored, multi-level reports let you sort and combine business data and drill down to modify your database directly from the reports. HQ employs the widely understood worksheet to implement management changes. You can use a number of different HQ worksheets to plan and execute changes to the HQ database and remote store databases. Worksheets initiate and control data exchanges between the head office and stores. Through worksheets, the head office can command any store, group of stores, or all stores to perform specific tasks that affect the local database, and then to report back processing statuses. Each worksheet contains built-in mechanisms to help you properly plan desired changes, obtain approval for changes, and track actual changes for audit purposes