(This article was last published on April 23, 2015. It has been updated for accuracy and completeness.)
In March 2015, Microsoft announced that their point of sale software, Microsoft Dynamics RMS 2.0 entered the “extended support phase” of its product life cycle. This means that RMS had reached its end of life, with Microsoft planning no future development for it. In 2014, at least 45,000 companies were using Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS).
Fast forward to 2020 and there’s still companies using Microsoft RMS through various means. However, extended support ends in July 2021. This post covers what that means for your business and suggests POS alternatives for RMS.
What does Microsoft RMS End of Life Mean?
So, what does it mean when a software system like Microsoft RMS enters the “extended support phase?” The details about RMS’s “end of life” include:
- As of July 2016, Microsoft Retail Management Systems (RMS) and Dynamics Headquarters (HQ) is no longer sold to new customers
- Existing customers will continue to be sold RMS & HQ after 2016
- Mainstream support for RMS and HQ ended on July 10th, 2016
- Extended support will end on July 13th, 2021
- Extended support is only available to companies who maintain a paid annual maintenance agreement
Today, businesses can no longer purchase new licenses of Microsoft RMS. However, some businesses have opted to maintain a paid annual maintenance agreement to receive extended support until July 13, 2021. They also rely on their partners like VARs to continue support of their software, beyond mainstream support that ended in 2016.
With the official 2021 end of life date quickly approaching, businesses should consider their transition plan off of Microsoft RMS. While a select few partners might support Micrsoft RMS/HQ past July 2021, they won’t support the software forever. In the meantime, you partners could also charge you extra fees to support “outdated” software. You could face additional problems with RMS like loss of working integrations or add-ons, lack of hardware support, and issues with Windows 10.
(Please note that nChannel currently supports Microsoft RMS integration into ERP, eCommerce, 3PL, or other endpoint systems.)
The reality is that Microsoft RMS/HQ is aged software. It’s in your best interest to prepare to upgrade. While there’s more than a handful of options out there, here’s the top POS alternatives for RMS users:
Retail Management Hero (RMH): An Upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics RMS
Launched in 2016, Retail Management Hero (RMH) is a purpose-built upgrade for small-to-medium size businesses using Microsoft Dynamics RMS. Key functionality of RMH POS include:
- Built with same core functionality as RMS allowing users to keep their data
- Uses many of the same features as RMS, including hot keys
- Supports the same peripheral hardware used with Microsoft RMS upgrade
- On-premise solution with offline capabilities
- Adds enhanced functionality for users like Purchase Order Processing, Inventory Control, and Accounts Receivable.
- Supports third-party add on integrations
If you’re looking for a seamless upgrade from RMS, Retail Management Hero should be a good fit. They’re focused on keeping the RMS experience in-tact while also enhancing it to meet current user needs.
If you anticipate integrating RMH POS into your eCommerce stores or ERP, see how nChannel can help automate your business processes.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce: A POS-eCommerce Upgrade from RMS
In 2014, Microsoft announced Microsoft AX and Retail Essentials as the intended upgrade for RMS. Today, Microsoft Dynamics AX was re-branded to Dynamics 365 and includes POS functionality called Dynamics 365 Commerce. This product offers a seamless shopping experience from online to offline shopping channels. By combining these experiences, users can:
- Connect digital, in-store, and back office operations in one platform
- Connected ordering and fulfillment tools to enable options like buy online, pick up in-store
- Manage sales promotions across all channels
- Offer endless aisles in-store with access to full product catalog
- Get a 360-degree view of customer with one-place of transactions and observational data
- AI-driven recommendations, insights and loyalty programs
Pricing plans start at $180 per user/month. You can also add eCommerce management starting at $5,000 per month. If you don’t plan on using their eCommerce functionality, you can still connect Microsoft Dynamics 365 to your desired eCommerce platform.
If you’re looking to stay on a Microsoft product and centrally manage eCommerce functionality too, then Dynamics 365 Commerce could be an option for you.
Lightspeed Retail: A Cloud-based RMS Alternative
Launched in 2013, Lightspeed has grown into a popular cloud-based POS system for retailers and restaurants. Today, they have about 35,000 users doing over $12 billion in sales annually.
If you’re looking to move away from Microsoft, Lightspeed Retail POS works well for many industries like apparel, bikes, electronics, jewelry, sporting goods, and more. Their main features include:
- Centralize purchasing with built-in purchase orders that combine multiple vendors and stores
- Access from your POS from any device, anywhere
- Many hardware solutions that include iPads, Bluetooth scanners, cash drawers and more
- Track spending habits with a customer insight dashboard
- Craft a tiered rewards program to encourage repeat purchases online and in store
- An EMV-compatible terminal when you sign up
- Manage your eCommerce inventory from the same retail POS system that runs your physical locations
Lightspeed Retail is an all-in-one system and a comparable upgrade to RMS. It can also be integrated into other systems like an ERP Microsoft Dynamics GP or NAV or eCommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, and more.
Lightspeed Retail POS is also affordable. As a cloud-based system, users pay a monthly fee that range from $69/mo to $229/mo. They also provide Lightspeed Payments with credit card processing fees at 2.6% + 10 cents. You can review full pricing detail here.
What to Do Next
RMS is quickly approaching the end of its extended support phase in 2021, which means that you should consider planning for a transition to new POS software.
Have you considered any other RMS alternatives? Let us know in the comments below what your transition plans are for Microsoft RMS.