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GuestVision celebrates 10 years in beauty


									The Beauty Industry Report Visit

GuestVision celebrates 10 years in beauty
T  his month, Beauty Industry Report (BIR)
   catches up with Ted Therriault, president of
GuestVision Technology Solutions.
                                                    our success. While I was in business school, I
                                                    founded GuestVision in 2001, with a single, but
                                                    incredibly broad goal: to build technology that
                                                                                                         fortunately knocked loudly every two years,
                                                                                                         allowing us to establish a leadership position
                                                                                                         before embarking on the next segment of the
GuestVision is celebrating its 10th year in         helped improve businesses by making it easier        industry. We built a retail beauty system for
business with many exciting milestones,             to collect quality data and turn it into             Northwest Beauty in Spokane in 2004 and
including more than 1,500 installations and a       actionable information. Joining nine chambers        launched into that segment. Now we have
dominant role as a market leader in software        of commerce, I met with every type of business       numerous retail beauty locations, with as many
for franchise and high-volume salons, multi-unit    from insurance salesmen to locksmiths to real        as 50,000 skus. Two years later, Marinello
beauty retail stores and cosmetology schools.       estate agents. At one fortuitous meeting, I met      Schools encouraged us to build a school
BIR: Ted, what does GuestVision Technology          our first beauty client, who owned two               specific system for their 10 schools, and now
Solutions deliver to its clients?                   Fantastic Sams franchise salons and was              they use GuestVision for their student salon
    Ted Therriault (TT): GuestVision delivers       dissatisfied with his software and the options       and attendance management in nearly 50
software, hardware and service solutions            he had. He remarked that we should look at           schools. Most recently, in 2008, we began
encompassing every area of the beauty               building software for his salons that could          building a system that is rolling out to hundreds
businesses it serves, from point-of-sale to         ultimately become the preference franchise           of military locations for its largest beauty and
inventory management, guest marketing to            wide. When we examined his alternatives, we          barber concessionaire. Each new market
employee scheduling, all backed by                  had to agree that there was a real opportunity.      segment has added new functionality and new
comprehensive reporting. GuestVision’s unique                                                 Building   capacity—both in software and service—that
centralization technology keeps multi-location                                            with not       we then can deliver to our existing clients.
businesses and franchises in sync with central                                            just his       BIR: How did specializing GuestVision to
data across the enterprise. GuestVision also has                                          input but      each market segment help you grow?
pioneered a level of flexibility and                                                      the input of        TT: By focusing on chains, franchises, multi-
customization that stands alone, allowing us to                                           many other     location retailers and high volume schools, we
maintain consistency across a franchise while                                             franchisees,   fill a need that had gone unmet. For an
providing options to individual business owners                                           we built our   individual owner or the franchisor, these large
to tailor GuestVision, manage their business                                              first system   scale businesses were spread over too many
and analyze their information in their own          designed specifically for franchise salons and       locations, were too distributed geographically
unique way.                                         the first fitted to their chain in more than 20      and generated too much data to be managed
BIR: How long ago did you know you wanted           years. From the version we first released in         effectively with the software available. Most
to start GuestVision?                               2003 to the version we are now releasing in          beauty industry software had been designed
    TT: As crazy as it sounds, I started my first   January 2011, we have always built GuestVision       before the Internet made communication
company when I was 12, helping people learn         to be more than just another one-size-fits-all       between locations easy and affordable, and
to use the Apple IIe computer. After internships    beauty software product. Instead, we build           before an enterprise-grade database could
at Microsoft and an educational software arm        flexible, capacious, customized software and         reliably run on a standard PC. While existing
of IBM in high school and college, I graduated      solutions to meet the highly specialized needs       software served the mom and pop salon owner
with an undergraduate degree in computer            of multi-location, high-volume beauty                well, the ability to scale to many locations,
science. An algorithm I wrote became a dream        businesses. That specificity was the key to all      remotely access your information and manage
job offer: chief information officer (CIO) for a    the opportunities since.                             your business centrally was simply absent.
budding information services company in             BIR: How did you expand beyond one chain?                 Each segment we serve also needed
Seattle, which grew to more than 50 offices             TT: While we knew GuestVision had the            specialized software to manage its very
around the country. In building the technology      opportunity to reach many different kinds of         different business. Examples abound: Stylists
as the company itself was built, I learned much     beauty businesses, it also had to grow slowly.       might work in more than one location of a
of what I leverage every day at GuestVision and     Growing slowly meant being both patient and          chain salon, but their pay needs to be
also learned how important the right tool is to     aggressive: patient to allow GuestVision to          calculated centrally. Retail locations need to
get the most out of information.                    become great at delivering software and even         centrally manage one product list, but be able
BIR: Did you always know you would be in            better at delivering service to our customers,       to charge different prices in different markets
the beauty business?                                but also aggressive enough to recognize and          to stay competitive. Schools capture
    TT: When I started, I did not know the          prepare for future opportunities. We’ve held         information not only about the transactions
beauty industry would become the home of            onto that philosophy throughout. Opportunity         across their counter, but the services

10 JANUARY 2011
performed in the classroom and on the student
salon floor. Each segment could not use
generic salon management software. By
                                                     “GVProtect                                        one unified security specification that applies
                                                                                                       to the entire credit card ecosystem, from the
                                                                                                       processor to the software company to the
listening to all the reasons why, GuestVision
designed and delivered software that uniquely
fulfilled their needs.
                                                     monitors,                                         merchant. The requirements they put in place
                                                                                                       for software companies mean that their
                                                                                                       software must meet rigorous standards if it
BIR: How has the recession affected your
    TT: While the past couple of years have
                                                     mitigates or                                      provides integrated credit card processing.
                                                                                                       Those standards are called PA-DSS Validation
                                                                                                       and set GuestVision and other validated
been a trying time for so many businesses,
GuestVision has had great fortune in the form
of incredible growth, more than doubling its
                                                     eliminates                                        solutions apart as ultimately the only solutions
                                                                                                       that will be allowed to process credit cards.
                                                                                                          Business owners also have to become
revenues, client base and profits. Our success
in the downturn is a testament to our clients
and the market needs they serve. Our clients
                                                     every major                                       compliant. If a business owner is found to be
                                                                                                       non-compliant and credit card data is stolen,
                                                                                                       the downsides can be catastrophic. On the flip
primarily provide either a budget-conscious
beauty service menu, retail products that stay
in fashion or a new career opportunity in
                                                     risk or error.”                                   side, by following the standards, the risk that
                                                                                                       any data theft is possible can be mitigated.
                                                                                                       BIR: What will your users notice about
beauty. Coupled with the consolidation that        development is also an industry first: complete     GuestVision 2011?
has happened market wide and the need that         network management for every GuestVision               TT: We want every user to feel like it is the
business owners have seen to reduce costs          location, a product we call “GVProtect.”            same, only faster and easier with more
through technology, we have been both the          BIR: How is GVProtect an industry first?            features. We have achieved that: GuestVision
beneficiary and the solution.                         TT: With thousands of PCs now running            2011 combines more than 400 new features into
BIR: What was 2010 like for your business?         GuestVision nationwide every day, and most of       a PA-DSS validated codebase that is only one
What’s new this year?                              them left on 24/7, the risk is many times           quarter the size of GuestVision 2009.
    TT: Our growth was even more fruitful in       greater, and the management is many times           BIR: Where is GuestVision going next?
2010 than 2009. Seven years after our first        harder. We are asked continually by our clients        TT: GuestVision continues to grow in the
install in Fantastic Sams, when Fantastic Sams     to help them manage the IT part of their            product it delivers, the services it provides and
purchased its first corporate locations last       business. GVProtect does just that.                 the customers we reach every year. This
summer, the franchise converted those stores          GVProtect combines four technologies: a          coming year will be no different. But I always
to GuestVision. We were also named Fantastic       complete computer and network management            return to our first guiding principle: I want to
Sams Best in Class Supplier. In September, JKon    tool to analyze events and errors, diagnose and     make the data we help our users collect and
software, a legacy product in Supercuts, joined    resolve problems and deploy software                analyze even more actionable. Delivering
the GuestVision family, and with it brought one    remotely; a “white-listing” suite to block all      comprehensive consulting and training from
third of Supercuts franchises. More than our       web traffic except specifically allowed traffic     our new training center dovetails with new
growth, what I truly believe will change our       and protect the computers from viruses; a           means of tracking and encouraging customer
business and the businesses we serve, is our       managed anti-virus suite to eliminate the need      behavior, preferences and retention, as well as
infrastructure investment. We have spent more      to remember to update; and an off-site backup       expanding the number of ways that the user,
than half a million dollars to upgrade how we      solution that continually protects and archives     and the guest, interacts with GuestVision daily.
help our users learn, use and maintain             the mission-critical GuestVision data for easy      Through each of these enhancements, we can
GuestVision. We are opening our new state-of-      recovery. Together, GVProtect monitors,                                    increase the value we
the-art training center in Seattle this month at   mitigates or eliminates every major risk or error                          have to the business
the same time as the new version launches. We      and in many cases, allows us to proactively                                owner and increase every
are also deploying three major infrastructure      diagnose and fix issues before our clients even                            opportunity we both
enhancements. Our network is enhanced with         know they occurred.                                                        have before us.
an even higher level of security and compliance    BIR: You mention your PCI/PA-DSS                                              To learn more, reach
driven in part by our industry-leading PCI/PA-     validation. What is PCI and what does it                                   Ted Therriault at
DSS validation. A new customer service             mean to our readers?                                                        800-967-0249 or
                                                                                                           Ted Therriault,
delivery platform called “GVServe” will limit         TT: PCI is the outgrowth of the major credit                   
                                                                                                             president of
hold times, respond to every call with a live      card companies’ security strategy to protect              GuestVision       Visit the GuestVision
person 24/7 and survey our users about their       customer data. Visa, MasterCard, American                 Technology        website at
satisfaction. But the most important               Express and Discover joined forces to deliver              Solutions

                                                                                                                                       JANUARY 2011 11

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