The competitive franchise landscape is a mix of well-established brands that have been around for decades and younger brands that launched in the era of the internet – each with their own set of networking needs and challenges. The more mature brands typically have numerous applications and solutions that were custom designed, developed, added to, and maintained over 20-30 years. These solutions may have been built by an in-house team or software provider.
On the other hand, younger brands use applications and systems that are more likely to be streamlined and readily available, commercial off the shelf products (COTS). Examples include Square®, a point-of-sale solution for payment processing and credit authorization, and Sortly, an inventory management solution.
While it’s likely both mature and new franchise operations have similar goals, such as creating a strong digital customer experience, they have vastly distinct networking environments. Over the next five years, the franchise industry is expected to see a significant growth period, with several brands doubling or even tripling in size. Fast-growing brands will likely experience many of the following network pain points:
- Franchises, especially those that may add tens to hundreds of sites, may outgrow their current broadband vendors and capabilities, prompting a search for new providers or solutions.
- Multi-vendor management issues can arise when various locations rely on different service providers. With franchises that have hundreds of locations, that can add up to coordination headaches, service disparities and invoicing nightmares.
- As a franchise expands, so too does its cyber threat landscape. Brands may not be able to keep pace with increasingly aggressive and inventive adversaries and security risks.
- Franchises may struggle to integrate multiple systems and scale their networks quickly enough to meet operational requirements and launch dates.
- As the network becomes more complex, with each added site or digital initiative, brands may find it more difficult and resource intensive to manage and maintain their networks.
These pain points, collectively and individually, impede a franchise’s ability to make (and save) money. How? A few examples: Inconsistent experiences across locations weaken the brand. Failing to meet customer expectations (especially for strong digital engagement) leads to lost sales and a lack of brand loyalty. Security breaches tarnish a brand’s reputation and directly impact revenue. Slow networks cause inefficiencies, long lines, and poor customer experiences. These pain points can turn into obstacles for new franchisees striving to get their operations up and running.
Brands owe it to themselves and their franchisees to deploy the right technologies and service providers to support their businesses. Working with an experienced Managed Network Services Provider (MNSP), like Hughes, can solve these very real business challenges. Our HughesON™ portfolio of end-to-end managed services provides high-performing, reliable, and cost-effective connectivity, including perimeter and endpoint cybersecurity protections, Wi-Fi, VoIP, and digital signage services. Because we bring together proven experience with legacy technologies as well as cutting-edge innovation, and a global network of service providers, Hughes can be the single partner of choice to support all of a franchise’s connectivity and networking needs, from planning to deployment to operations and help desk support. With agile, scalable, and secure managed services, franchises can be well-positioned for the future — no matter what the market or expansion goals demand.