Agilysys Delivers Upgrades to Back Office and Customer-Facing Software
October 19, 2016 Dan Burger
The notion that what goes on in the IT departments of companies in the gaming industry translates into IT departments of every other business is not a long-shot bet. The gaming business–casinos and their tentacles that reach into restaurants and lodging–is as customer-focused as any business you can name. And, as many of you know, it’s a bastion of IBM midrange computing–an important niche in the IBM i ecosystem.
Developments here often fan out to other industries when business efficiencies and increased revenue generation opportunities have been demonstrated.
Agilysys, with its property management, inventory and procurement software Stratton Warren System (SWS) running on the IBM i operating system and Power Systems hardware, has a substantial stake in the gaming business.
SWS relies on a strong accounting foundation and digital document management to control the inventory and procure-to-pay process across multiple departments and locations. It’s a rock-solid, enterprise-proven backend system that’s been an industry leader for many years. It runs on a single operating system: IBM i. The complete package includes optional modules for barcoding; menu and recipe analysis; retail; and online shopping cart software.
SWS v9.1 contains the latest round of workflow enhancements, which are highlighted by one-click capability to receive all purchase orders, automatic item clean-up and purging, and the capability to attach and retrieve supporting bid documentation. These are based on customer requirements and demonstrate the company continues to invest in the product according to Bob Shecterle, director of marketing at Agilysys. It also supports the most current IBM i OS, which is 7.3.
The majority of SWS customers are very large enterprises with multiple locations and the need to centrally manage the business, while each site maintains unique business flows rather than imposing a single workflow on the entire enterprise, Shecterle says.
SWS can be deployed in managed services mode or as traditional licensed software. As a managed service, the customer has no Power Systems hardware or IBM i software to manage. That’s handled in an Agilysys data center or by a managed service provider. There’s growth in the company’s managed services, according to Shecterle who says acceptance of hosted solutions has changed and that more big customers are moving to SaaS. Specifics, however, are unavailable.
SWS integrates with point of sale (POS) software from Agilysys called InfoGenesis. Approximately half of Agilysys revenue can be attributed to InfoGenesis, a Microsoft Windows-based product that is one of only a handful of enterprise grade POS products available.
Mobile POS is a significant trend, says Teri Howe, product manager at Agilysys.
“Our customer base includes a lot of early adopters interested in providing a superior guest experience. POS mobility has been available for more than a year, and the insights and feedback we’ve received have resulted in a slew of enhancements,” she says. “In rough numbers, 60 percent to 70 percent of our customers are experimenting with mobile POS.”
At the same time Agilysys was announcing enhancements to SWS, it was also announcing a point release for InfoGenesis, which was highlighted by chip-and-signature and chip-and-pin processing capabilities (available in the U.S. only) related to processing credit cards with embedded chips. Howe calls it a “significant change to how POS works with banking structures.”
It’s been 14 months since the last point release of InfoGenesis (v4.4.7) and the last major release, v4.4 was May 2013.
In addition to the embedded chip credit card processing, this point release also included the following enhancements:
Agilysys OEMs Windows tablets in eight- and 10-inch form factors, according to Howe.
“The benefit that the hospitality industry is realizing is that untethered POS allows sales where the customers are located rather than where the terminals are located,” Howe says. “Agilysys customers are taking advantage of the transformation of guest experiences. Currently the emphasis is on software used by the staff, but the product roadmap will extend to self-service software for the guests, including integration with guests bringing their own devices.”
Agilysys is also known for its IBM i-based Lodging Management System (LMS), which has been a back-office workhorse for the hospitality business for decades. In the spring of 2015, LMS introduced a dashboard application that allows hotel managers to quickly and easily view key information about the property from Apple mobile devices. The application contains data panels relating to arrivals, departures, number of guests, available rooms, and other operational and financial tracking information.