Michael Bigbee, CEO Americas
You are going to live with the system probably longer than with your personal vehicle. It is going to be integral to your daily business life and likely a part of your career resume. “Measure twice, cut once.” The list of considerations can be lengthy and the process of putting them together can feel onerous but the end result will be a system that solves the needs of the business and improves the customer experience. In addition to the standard items you would normally consider, e.g. applicability of the solution to your individual business requirements (“fitness for purpose”), price (both acquisition and lifecycle costs) and support and maintenance options, you should also consider scalability (can I add more facilities, easily), adaptability (how easy is it to integrate new features/functions, such as new online systems, new payment systems, new devices, ‘big data’ analytics) and usability (based on staff turnover, how quickly can I train a new person to be proficient). You should also consider security in your upgrade plans. Security is multi-layered: how do I protect my revenue (tight employee controls), how do I minimize revenue leakage (reduce/eliminate lost tickets, ticket swapping and all of the other nefarious user ploys), how do I protect my PARCS system (firewalls, anti-virus), how do I secure my credit card transactions (PCI x.x, EMV, NFC, ApplePay). If you are contemplating an upgrade due to the recent departure of a major PARCS manufacturer, think about how you can bridge into the new technology, perhaps without having to do a complete system replacement (software bridging strategy, hardware reuse). There is a strong desire in the market to use emerging technologies and capabilities and these new items can and do offer additional value – if you can easily, quickly and cost-effectively integrate into your new system. We are seeing new entries into the parking market, at a faster pace, than ever before. Additionally, we are at the beginning stages of a fundamental shift in the parking business – the business of parking will still be the same but how we do it is changing. Therefore, when looking at a new system that will last for 10+ years, don’t just look at what it can do today – look to see if it can take you gracefully through a decade of use and allow you to incorporate and adapt to new and emerging technologies.