Franchise businesses are highly complex organisms in that there are different parties involved in making them a success.
One of these parties is the entity who started the franchise; the franchisor. The franchisor is typically an entrepreneurial person or persons who have taken an initially small business, made it successful and then seen the benefits of branding and standardization, enabling them to create a franchise that is available in numerous locations.
The other key entity is the franchisee. The franchisee is also an entrepreneurial person, who may have moved out of a steady job and wants to try their hand at running a business for themselves, so they've chosen to purchase a known brand and run a franchise.
Of course, staff members working for both the franchisor and franchisee are also key to the success of the franchise.
Many tensions exist between franchisors and franchisees over royalties, advertising spend, sales, promotions and product purchases. While they both need each other, both also want to ensure that the relationship continues to be beneficial to them.
One thing that ties franchisor and franchisee together in a firm bond is their combined data.
A franchisor needs business intelligence to be able to determine which products to develop and enhance and which products to retire. A franchisee needs the franchisor to be able to view data across multiple locations in order to best plan for each franchise location.
In many cases, the way in which a franchise has 'grown up' is as a fast-moving, highly dynamic, entrepreneurial enterprise where things like data analysis and structures for information management tend to be pretty informal.
This is where the online storage of information comes into its own and enables the joint success of both parties in a franchise.
In the South African environment, it is still ideal for a franchise to run local on-site point of sale software for managing all aspects of their operation. We back up over 500 franchise locations countrywide and theft and disaster do occur in these locations. So, online storage of a backup of their point of sale systems is essential.
We have had the case of an extremely busy restaurant having all of its equipment stolen and we, together with the hardware and software supplier, were able to get them fully up-and-running in a matter of hours.
Online storage or online data backup is critically advantageous for the franchisee, and by extension for the franchisor.
However, by keeping a copy of their data in online storage, franchisors benefit in other ways, too. Business intelligence, product analytics and managing royalties are key aspects that a franchisor needs to manage to be able to run a successful franchise. All of these require accurate, timely information to be available for analysis and action.
We recommend the following for a franchisor to be able to tap into the benefits provided by online storage:
In your franchise agreement specify the service you require the franchisee to use for online storage or backup of point of sale data.
In addition, specify that you shall have access to this online storage data for the purpose of royalty verification, business intelligence and analysis.
Once this is in place you can ensure that all franchises conform to your business continuity plan and have implemented data security measures.
We can then offer the franchisor the ability to centralise the data from each franchise into one location - online storage - and then enable this data to be restored and mined for information as required by the franchisor.
What this essentially gives you is the ability to have consolidated, automated, franchise-wide business intelligence reporting providing:
1. Auto-generated daily franchise-wide financial reports
2. The tracking of group-wide performance using accurate data every day
3. The ability to ensure off-site, online storage or backup from every franchise
4. The ability to make decision based on real business intelligence
The online storage or backup facility provided to the franchisee enables the subsequent reconstruction of all franchise data in one central location for analysis.