REAL ISSUES. REAL ANSWERS: Transitioning To New Business/POS Software

For the vast majority of LBM dealers (92%, according to our survey), their business point of sale software is an integral part of their business. While the latest offerings from industry software vendors are more robust and powerful than ever, a sizable number of dealers still rely on systems that are decades old. One reason: reluctance to tackle the process of transitioning from a tried-and-true system to the new and unknown. As readers report here, a well-planned and executed transition can pay serious dividends, but there are also ample horror stories of software transitions gone wrong. This month’s article shares “been there, done that” insights from dealers who have experienced transitioning to a new business/POS system.

A midwestern pro-dealer wrote: “We’re transitioning from a 30-year old software system to a new, state-of-the-art platform, and we want to make sure that capabilities of the software are aligned with the needs of our business. I have spoken to pros throughout the industry who have gone through similar transitions (with a variety of software platforms) and the response spectrum seems to be split by those who are very satisfied and with those who are very dissatisfied with the transition process and, separately, with the final result. I am interested in learning the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ behind the satisfaction.”

Another solid question, and another healthy response from readers. More than from 160 dealers responded to this month’s email survey and shared their experiences and insights with transitioning to new software. If you’d like to participate in our monthly Real Issues survey, please drop me a note at and we’ll add you to our opt-in email list.

To give context to the answers to this month’s question, we wanted to establish where respondents are at with their current software.

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First, we asked, “Approximately how long has your company been using its current business/POS software?” Once we filter out the 8% who report not using any business/POS software, the balance is an almost perfect 25/25/50 split—with 25% using software that’s less than 5 years old, 25% using software that’s 6-10 years old, and the balance on software that ranges from 11 to “more than 30” years old.