I hope you are off to a great start this year! We are really excited about some of the changes coming up for The Uniform Solution in 2014 and hope you are too. After more than three years of planning and development, we are just a few months away from launching The Uniform Solution+ with SQL Server! This exciting upgrade to The Uniform Solution is really a super upgrade that is going to dramatically improve the speed and reliability of The Uniform Solution. Below you’ll find more details, but first we have a very important notice about Windows XP. At the end of the email, you’ll also learn about a new low cost option Accelerated Payment Technologies is offering merchants with lower volume WebStore sales.
End of Life – Critical Notice
After more than 12 years in the market, Microsoft is ending their support of the Windows XP operating system on April 8, 2014. With support for Windows XP ending, it’s time to get all your computers on Windows 7 or 8 if you use XCharge and before you upgrade to The Uniform Solution+ with SQL Server. The good news is that new computers are more affordable and reliable than ever. If you would like more information about this end-of-life notice from Microsoft, you can check out this link: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/end-support-help.
XCharge and Windows XP is NOT OK (Use Windows 7 or 8)
With Microsoft ending support for Windows XP, this means you need to upgrade or replace any computer using XCharge to a newer operating system like (Windows 7 or 8) in order to be PCI Compliant. This requirement is not an XCharge requirement, but required for any PC performing credit card processing. You have probably seen the recent news about Target and now Neiman Marcus losing millions of consumers’ cardholder data. The threat for credit card theft is real. If you get caught out of compliance and have a breach, the penalties are more severe. Here is a link to the full XCharge notice. Read More
The Uniform Solution+ with SQL Server – It’s Faster, More Reliable, and Scalable
Although we are still a few months away from the release of The Uniform Solution+ with SQL Server, some of our customers have been asking how this version is going to be different? So what will The Uniform Solution and Microsoft SQL Server bring to you that is new today? The simple answers are: reliability, speed, and scalability.
Performance and Features
With Microsoft SQL Server, your data will be protected inside one of the most robust, reliable, and scalable databases in the world. Unless your server’s hard-drive stops working or you lose power to it, you should never have the need to recover your data files or restore from a backup – ever!
Then there are the speed improvements, and who wouldn’t like to be able to do things faster – especially the stores with lots of workstations? In the past week, we have been conducting performance testing with The Uniform Solution+ with SQL Server on systems that use a server and workstations. The improvements on the workstation are really impressive:
- Reports are performing 3-6 times faster, some at 8+ times faster like the Top 40 and the Inventory Summary
- Auto-Create for Purchase Orders is running about 3 times faster
- The Catalog Utility ran for Cherokee almost 10 times faster (25 seconds vs 4 min)
Because The Uniform Solution+ uses SQL Server 2012, it can be scaled up to handle the high transaction volumes of the largest and most demanding retail stores and groups. For most of our customers with 5 stations or less, Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express will provide excellent improvements in speed and reliability, but Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Standard can be scaled up to handle the needs of retailers with hundreds of stations.
Because Microsoft is ending life on Windows XP, it’s likely you’ll need to have Windows 7 or 8 on all computers to run The Uniform Solution+ with SQL Server when it’s released this year. If you have any questions about what you might need to do to get your computers up-to-date, you can contact our support team at 1-800-286-8929, and we’ll get you going in the right direction to take advantage of everything The Uniform Solution+ with SQL Server will have to offer.
The Uniform Solution+ with SQL Server – Pricing and Features
The Uniform Solution+ with SQL Server will be offered as an upgrade to The Uniform Solution Professional and Enterprise, and it will be licensed using The Uniform Solution+ monthly subscription model. It will include (1) The Uniform Solution SQL Server with the Enterprise feature set, (2) Microsoft SQL Server Express Database Engine, (3) a Software Subscription with Connected Features, (4) the WebStore with Shopping Cart and no transaction fees, (5) iOS and Android support (when available), and (5) 2 hours of Technical Support per month. With a credit card on file, the license is automatically renewed until you wish to cancel.
Customers with 5-7+ workstations in a location may choose to purchase a copy of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Standard to improve performance. However, I suggest you use Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express that is included with The Uniform Solution+ with SQL Server and see how you think it works for you before looking into this option.
Upgrades from The Uniform Solution Professional and Enterprise Versions
Customers with a 2014 Software Subscription for their Professional and Enterprise versions will be able to upgrade to The Uniform Solution+ with SQL Server subscription for $100/location/month and $10/month/additional user for the remainder of 2014. Pricing in 2015 for customers that upgrade in 2014 is not final yet, but we are planning on a modest increase over the 2014 upgrade pricing and subscription cost. Customers that upgrade in 2014 and 2015 should receive better pricing in 2016 than the customers that wait until 2016 or later.
Customers with an Active WebStore Shopping Cart
Customers that currently pay $100/month for the WebStore Shopping Cart, will no longer need to pay for this after upgrading to The Uniform Solution+ with SQL Server because it is included in The Uniform Solution+ subscription.
X-Charge and the WebStore – New Low Volume Account Option
This past summer we were notified by some of our customers that their separate X-Charge Merchant account for the WebStore was always costing them about $38/month because of minimum monthly fees. After discussing this issue with Accelerated Payments, they created a low volume eCommerce program that bills at a slightly higher transaction rate, but has a monthly minimum of around $10. If your WebStore is currently at a lower monthly volume, this new plan may be better for you. For more details, please contact John in Sales, or Chris and Sean in Support about moving your merchant account to this new plan.
If you have any questions on what you need to do regarding your X-Charge WebStore account, Windows XP, or The Uniform Solution+ with SQL Server upgrade, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.