The management team behind Critical Path Solutions has participated in all of the industry's evolutionary phases over the last 20 years, and has incorporated proven methods and specialized technology tools into the firm's practice areas in order to deliver optimal solutions for today's rapidly changing requirements.
The Firm’s primary product lines or practice areas are as follows:
Retail Technology and Electronic Payment Consulting
Technologies in the retail environment are evolving at a breathtaking pace and level of complexity. The implementation challenges grow daily with each new industry innovation. The breakthroughs are coming at all angles.
From the applications:
- Loyalty , gift cards, and prepaid cards
- Contactless/Near Field Communications
- Electronic Check Conversion (ECC)
- Signature verification
- Biometrics identification
- Wireless (SMS)
To where payments are accepted in a store:
- self service check out lanes
- self service product kiosks
To the POS applications:
- Windows based
- IBM ACE with SIF
To Payment Industry rules and regulations:
This all presents a challenging opportunity for retailers and vendors to integrate new payment solutions within the existing store infrastructure. This is where Critical Path Solutions comes in. Critical Path has the staff, tools and expertise to assist our clients in the most challenging retail technology and electronic payment initiatives.
The Changing Face of Retail Technology
For clients introducing new technologies into the integrated retail POS, the firm takes a consultative approach to situation assessment and solution engineering. Then CPS supports implementation in key areas such as solution sales and marketing, channel support program development, and software development. The company also provides software to address some of the more vexing integration and transaction processing requirements, where needed.
The Firm also provide a variety of general business consulting services to support clients with their business planning or go-to-market strategies. Examples of services provided in past engagements include:
- Business and strategic marketing plans
- Business and ROI case studies
- Value chain/value proposition definition
- Potential partner identification
- Channel identification and development
- Sales training on how to penetrate a particular vertical market
- Retail integration strategy
- RFP preparation and analysis
- Project planning, implementation, and management
Critical Path’s core team members’ diverse strengths in the retail technology and electronic payments industry allow it to custom tailor projects to our customer's needs. Strengths include: business, financial, technical, and project management expertise unique to retailer
Team members have extensive practical experience with retail technology and electronic payments in the following vertical markets:
- Tier-1 retail
- Specialty retail
- Self Service
POS and Kiosk Integration
One area of particular expertise for Critical Path is in the emerging area of integration and electronic payments for customer activated peripherals and self service kiosks. Through years of point of sale (POS) integration and payment system management experience, Critical Path has gained particular market insight into the nuances from a business and technical perspective of integrating electronic payments into the latest customer activated peripherals and self service product kiosks for deployment in stand alone environments and integrated Tier-1 systems.Critical Path has come up with an innovative way to integrate kiosks into a store’s retail automation systems. The company's solution allows a retailer to have full control over the kiosk, just like they would any other POS station within the store. The CPS approach gives the retailer the ability to support the kiosk through all the existing store systems, as well as process electronic payments through the retailer's enterprise payment gateway switch. This solution requires CPS enabler software (CPEnabler™) that allows a self service kiosk to:
In this capacity, CPS functions as the product vendor's integrator which facilitates and lends credibility to the process of working with the retailer's IT department or VAR, and when combined with the CPS software, enables fast and cost effective implementations
- Emulate an existing check-out lane to the store systems
- Process all electronic payments through the existing in-store systems and corporate gateways
- Support existing gift cards and store loyalty card
- Control/monitor kiosk product pricing and inventory
- Report all kiosk transactions as part of normal store accounting processes
- Remain insulated from system changes so that a consistent kiosk architecture can be deployed
- Integrate in a manner that is easier and more cost effective than traditional integration methods
The First "All-In-One" Compliance Solution.
SecureAware is an integrated solution that addresses all requirements organizations have for IT Governance, Risk and Compliance Management (IT-GRC) including ISO 27K, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and CoBIT 4.1, the World Lottery Association Security Control Standard (WLA SCS), and many others.
It is an ISO 27001 certified solution used to provide comprehensive policy management including capabilities to build, manage and communicate security policies to relevant staff and subcontractors. Policy agreement tools help you to know that staff has read your policies.
Integrated security awareness is a streamlined means by which to communicate policies to staff and document the knowledge level of your organization on different topics. Knowledge and policy-based testing and metrics help organizations measure levels of awareness for best practice and policy.
Strong risk management features help link corporate business processes with systems or applications and perform best practices risk assessments on the assets that matters the most to the enterprise. And, business continuity management (BCM) allows organizations to keep business continuity and disaster recovery plans always up to date and always available.
CPS is the authorized agent / reseller of SecureAware for PCI and the Retail marketplace. CPS has partnered with LightWave Security to provide the retail market with the best in class automated compliance solution. Learn more about this award winning solution here: http://www.lightwavesecurity.com
Professional Services and Solution Engineering
CPS has the experienced professionals, services and tools to enable companies to successfully introduce new products, technologies and services into the integrated retail store environment. CPS offers clients a competitive advantage by bringing Solution Marketing and Solution Engineering to bear in challenging projects. CPS began as a consulting and solution engineering firm, and continues to often function as the “Integrator’s Integrator,” bringing technical teams together and bridging the gaps in capabilities to achieve project success.
Solution Marketing and Solution Engineering Support
While there are many inhibitors encountered during the selling cycle, usually the biggest obstacle will be navigating the process of working with the retailer’s Information Systems (IS) teams (internal teams, VARs, ISVs) and effectively and credibly implementing integrated solutions.
While a solution may have immediate benefits, the benefits will be weighed against IS schedules, work-loads, other business requirements and budgets that are competing against a new offering and could elongate and or possibly kill the solution.
To mitigate Information System inhibitors, a clear understanding of their methodologies and practices is required. Understanding the development, testing, certification and implementation practices will go a long way in gaining trust and can provide Information System professionals with a perception that the vendor is capable, willing and able to deliver.
CPS offers a full range of technical support services that can benefit clients before and after a sale. These include working as a sales engineer during the selling cycle, working with retailer IS groups to sell and spec solutions, and also includes system configuration, integration, data verification, testing and training.
CPS is able to provide systems integration and interface development in order to interface new products with retailers’ transaction systems. Standard interfaces, middleware and methodologies have already been developed to integrate with many POS and payment systems, although integration is available to all systems.
· Solution Strategy & Proposal Development
· Solutions Engineering Leadership
· Technical Environment Assessment
· Project Management
· System Requirements & Architecture
· Technical Design
· System Development
· Testing & Certification
· Proof-of-concept and Pilot
· Maintenance & Support
Software Maintenance and Support Plans
CPS is committed to provide quality and timely technical support and professional services to support CPS owned or marketed solutions.
CPS provides comprehensive support services using its own support engineers. These engineers are fully trained on CPS systems, and work with CPS development teams to handle any level of technical need that may arise. CPS typically functions as a level 2 or level 3 support organization, depending on the solution being supported. While the CPS support plans are optional, they are highly recommended to ensure system performance and return on investment.
Business Consulting Services
As experts in retail technology and electronic payment systems, CPS is able to leverage its experience and industry partnerships to offer comprehensive consulting services. Using recognized industry experts, CPS is able to review a client’s solutions and practices and recommend changes that improve efficiency, customer service, and overall effectiveness. CPS can also assist with new market development efforts, landscape assessments, and a variety of consulting products such as sophisticated ROI model and business case development. CPS also maintains extensive channel partner, card processor and OEM relationships, and can assist with channel strategy, channel development or key introductions as needed.