Back in 1998, Dor Bujor Padureanu, Magister Software’s founder and software architect, created the first version of Smart Cash Retail Management System. Previous experience in MS-SQL IT systems enabled Magister to use from the very beginning some of the most modern technologies in achieving an ambitious goal: complete control over retail businesses’ workflow.
Because the first versions of SmartCash were developed during bleak economic times they primarily addressed shop inventory issues while employing then available retail equipment
Two years and a stroke of good luck later, the Interbase SQL server developed at that time by Inprise Corp. became an open-source software and the Firebird SQL Server was launched.
Starting then, the SmartCash project was transferred on the Firebird SQL platform and Magister became a pioneer in the development of this SQL platform in Romania. In the following years the program reached version no. 3 and continued to integrate various retail equipment.
Four years later, the high demand of a modern yet sustainable retail software platform was the reason for Magister Software to open officially for business.
Magister Software: 10 years of progress and accomplishments
February 12, 2002: Magister Software is founded in Bucharest with the set goal of developing the SmartCash program in order to provide retailers turnkey solutions.
March, 2002: The fourth SmartCash version is launched together with the communication interface with Elka cash registers, in collaboration with Valmed Freemex. At CERF 2002, Magisters Software showcases an automatic retail management system for shops, InfoTouch Systems, and the cash register solution. The process of breaking apart the application in several applications assigned to various shop management tasks begins. Thus shop management is assigned to the SmartCash Shop program and the cash register communication interface becomes the first universal driver for online cash registers in Romania.
May, 2002: SmartCash Solutions are integrated with Datecs cash registers. Henceforth Magister Software becomes the main software solutions provider for Datecs and Elka cash registers.
June, 2002: Agricola International Bacau becomes Magister’s customer with the acquisition of SmartCash Solutions for their first shop in Bucharest.
August, 2002: Version no. 3 of the Universal Cash Register Driver is launched and is compatible with the whole line of Sapel cash registers (Sapel 5x, Sapel Euro, Sapel Shop). It also features superior security for transfers and compatibility with Windows XP.
December, 2002: Magister Software is technically approved to use Smartcash POS with fiscal printer Datecs FP550T. On this occasion the fifth version of SmartCash is made public. It featured three distinct software components: SmartCash Shop, SmartCash POS, and the Universal Cash Register Driver. This version knew major improvements in data transfer throughout chains of shops and in the number of cash register models it was compatible with, then reaching a figure of 15.
February 2003: Magister becomes entitled to retail SmartCash POS together with Datecs FP550T fiscal printer as result of the collaboration with Danubius Exim.
Martie 2003: At CERF 2003, Magister showcases a complete management solution for shops and supermarkets, namely SmartCash Shop. This solution gradually becomes more and more renown thanks to its multiple compatibility with existing retail equipment. On this occasion cutting-edge touchscreen POS terminals are also presented. This was a complete novelty since at that time there did not exist touchscreen retail equipment in Romania. Magister pioneers this type of technology for retail by providing support since the very beginning in the development of SmartCash POS.
April, 2003: Magister is accepted within the Microsoft Empowered ISV, a program designed to support start-ups that develop applications using Microsoft – SQL Server technologies or Windows OS.
June, 2003: After almost 1 year of testing the solution in their pilot project, Agricola International Bacau becomes the first major client for Magister by purchasing the solution for the whole chain. SmartCash proves to be so efficient in inventory management that losses Agricola suffered throughout the chain decrease dramatically, Agricola succeeding in growing their revenue.
August, 2003: SmartCash 5.0 is divided in 11 distributions to better meet retailers’ necessities. A fourth version of the Universal Cash Register Driver is released . SmartCash 5.0 enables digital scales connection to POS.
September, 2003: The Bata franchise brought in Romania by Rodica and Eugen Paturan becomes Magister’s customer. This renowned brand together with already existent client, Uscita, mark Magister’s entrance in the fashion retailers sector.
November, 2003: Magister becomes a member of the Romanian Association for the Electronic and Software Industries.
January, 2004: SmartCash RMS is completely redesigned in order to be fully compatible with OS Windows XP according to Microsoft’s specifications. A sixth version of SmartCash that allows selling both through POS systems and on-line cash registers is released. A plug-in designed to connect any specific retail hardware to the SmartCash platform is developed.
February, 2004: SmartCash successfully passes all the “Verified for Windows XP” testings, organized by Veritest, an independent Microsoft certification institution. Magister is the first company in Romania who receives this certification.
March, 2004: Magister becomes a Certified Partner after successfully testings of SmartCash applications. Magister is one of the first companies in Romania that is certified by Microsoft for their programs.
April, 2004: Magister receives the Microsoft ISV/Software Solutions competency, especially designed for software producers. The ISV Software Solutions competency attests the the programs Magister develops are complete software applications that meet real and sustainable retail necessities.
September, 2004: Magister brings in software development and marketing thus creating a young, dynamic, and highly motivated team that immediately boosted the company’s success. A new digital scale plug-in is developed and Digi scales are integrated in the platform.
May 2004 – April 2005: Magister designs EuroLiteraTur, a cultural project organized by the Romanian Literature Museum and financed by the European Commission. This project toured six European cities: Athens, Bucharest, Lodz, Prague, Rome, Zaragoza and was featured in 8 languages. Magister designed the technical interactive solution for this project and was essentially involved in the design and delivery of the project.
March, 2005: In order to meet small retail chains’ needs, Magister introduces new features under the name SmartCenter Lite.
Mai, 2005: Magister participates at the Rel Computers Partners and Distributors Conference, CAS scales importer, on which occasion announces the integration of CAS digital scales in the SmartCash solutions.
May – December 2005: Magister reinforces their position as a leading retail solution provider by gradually developing a national network of partners.
September, 2005: The company starts implementing a customer management solution. Magister opts for Vtiger CRM, an open source software solution developed by an international collective the company adheres to. Magisters starts working on the developement of a custom-made Vtiger CRM solution and reorganizes workflow. 12 months later, an unique customer communication interface is released.
October, 2005: Magister becomes a founding member of the Association of Romanian Cash Registers Resellers and Authorized Service Providers by participating at the founding convention of the institution among other companies such as: Deck Birotica Group, Informedia Cash Systems, INITA Service etc.
November, 2005: Magister launches the partnership program that enables excelling collaborators to become Magister Certified Partners. Trainings are organized.
January, 2006: Magister releases SmartCash 6.1, a progress that marks an increase in the speed of data processing for medium-sized to large stores and an optimization of the SmartCash POS functionality.
March, 2006: Magister completes the initial phase of reorganization and implements the CRM system starting with the tech support and help desk departments. This determines the opening of a new call center platform. Using accumulated know-how, Magister starts a process of standardizing shop deployment services in a manner guarantees the quality of the services on a national level.
May, 2006: Noticing the importance of primary hardware components’ reliability, Magister launches their own line of retail specialized workstations. The line comprised four products: EcoPOS, EasyData, SmartBox, and MultiCom. These workstations employed high quality components for an affordable price and ensured a high reliability of the shop solutions.
January, 2007: Magister releases SmartCash 7.0. This version bring a new OEM/Retail licensing policy. This new policy allow Magister to guarantee low license prices for OEM software, installed on new systems. The new licensing leads to an immediate increase in the number of installations and generally a high reliability of retail solutions Magister provides.
March, 2007: Jysk – the international Danish chain retailer of matresses, furniture, and decor managed in Romania by he Nordic Investment Fund company – chooses to employ SmartCash RMS solutions. This stage marks Magister’s breach on the international corporations market. Having over 1900 stores in 34 countries, Jysk was looking for a modern retail solution completely based on touchscreen retail systems. As pioneer of touchscreen retail technology in Romania, Magister provides Jysk with a solution based on the fiscal printer Datecs FP550T for the whole front office system. This project facilitates the redesign of SmartCash Gateway, an application that connects Jysk stores in Romania to the corporation management system Navision.
June, 2007: The Agricola Bacau project brings a new innovation to Magister software solutions: SmartCash and the ERP system SAP are integrated through a general interface based on the SAP-IDOC standard. This integration was possible thanks to Integrator S.A., the company that implemented SAP for Agricola Bacau. The delivery of this unique interface marks 4 years of hard work in the deployment of the SmartCash solutions in over 40 Agricola shops from across the country.
January, 2008: Version 8 brings a complete facelift for SmartCash in that a complete, all-in-one retail software suite is now released. Magister brands their new product “SmartCash Retail Management System”.
April, 2008: Magister has now implemented SmartCash solutions in over 1600 shops across the country and has 28 Certified Partners, becoming a leader in the segment of franchise retail chains. SmartCash RMS is one of the most used retail software platform in Romania, among independent retailers that operate from large cities to secluded villages.
September, 2008: As the number of users grow, Magister acknowledges the need to increase quality of deployment services on a national level. This is how the Installation and Maintenance Book project comes into existence. Using standard procedures, Magister begins monitoring and evaluating the services national partners offer clients, and gradually determines an optimization of their quality. A Prepaid Services Voucher is introduced as a way to validate and ultimately reimburse partners.
January, 2009: The number of retailers that purchase SmartCash RMS solutions grows significantly. Magister focuses on the accelerated integration of as many as possible retail appliances in order to supply customers with a platform compatible with a vast array of cash registers, digital scales, bar code scanners, fiscal printers etc.
May, 2009: Magister participates at the reunion of the Association of Romanian Cash Registers Resellers and Authorized Service Providers where it showcases their products and services for retail. On this occasion, Magister makes an official launch of their own private label wireless data collection terminal named Mobility. This device was designed in collaboration with Bitatek, a Taiwanese retail hardware supplier.
June – July, 2009: In order to meet economic reality, Magister initiates a parallel partnership program under the name of SmartCash RMS Authorized Dealer. This program addressed exclusively retail solutions broker companies. The new program introduces the concept of reselling for SmartCash solutions by means of a contract of mandate. This fresh approach reduces the commercial risk for Magister’s partners, restores sales, and brings to zero overdue debts for SmartCash solutions in just 6 months. Magister manages to innovate during harsh recession times by managing risk and clientele directly and providing complete and coherent sales manuals to their Authorized Dealers. The CRM solution is adopted on a commercial level as well and Magister starts monitoring on-line prospects from all over the country through the CRM system. Each Authorized Dealer now has access to an immense technical and sales support knowledge base.
The Magister Certified Partner Program is also renewed by eliminating the commercial aspect that is now exclusively a part of the Authorized Dealer Program. The new Certified Partner program attests the high specialization of partner companies regarding the deployment and maintenance of Magister solutions as well as the informational integration of all the partners. The second stage in the implementation of the Magister CRM, involving a national notification ticketing system, starts. Certified Partners go through two successive training sessions in Bucharest in order to initiate this new development.
August, 2009: SmartCash RMS is integrated with WinMENTOR, a renowned financial-accounting management solution. The new interface allows WinMENTOR distributors to expand their software solution with the specific retail features SmartCash RMS provides.
October, 2009: Magister takes part in the annual meeting of the Association of Romanian Cash Registers Resellers and Authorized Service Providers.
December, 2009: The Authorized Dealer Network doubles its size and in just 6 months reaches a number of 45 dealerships.
Ianuarie 2010: Mic.Ro Retail purchases a complete solution for the equipment of a 120 pilot stores chain in order to test the new business concept: a modern corner store. This unprecedented project’s main challenges involved the extremely short deployment time span (6 months) and the specific know-how transfer to an extensive staff. Mic.Ro was looking for the most modern “of the shelf” software solution and a provider willing to give their new business approach a test-drive. During the months of January and February Magister develops along with the project team at Mic.Ro the configuration of the retail equipment that in the end featured EloTouch touchscreen terminals and Digi counter built-in scales. A training center is set up in order to prepare new staff. Magister’s involvement in the implementation of this new business concept is essential since it provided specific traditional retail know-how.
February, 2010: Cristim becomes a Magister client by purchasing SmartCash RMS for their entire chain of speciality shops. SmartCash solutions based on EcoPOS systems are implemented in the whole chain which open in 6 months featuring 33 stores in Bucharest.
March, 2010: The first Mic.Ro store opens to great applause in Bucharest.
May, 2010: Maguay Impex becomes the new provider for the Magister workstation line (EcoPOS, MultiCom, SmartBOX, and EasyData). This strategic partnership offers Magister the possibility to continue supplying retailers with high-quality PC systems, running on reliable Intel processors, at affordable prices.
June, 2010: martCash Retail Management System fits perfectly in eCommerce retail platform and numerous online shops implement Magister’s retail solution.
September, 2010: Magister participates at and organizes along with other significant FMCG companies Autentic Trade Show Bucharest. Various SmartCash RMS features are presented during workshops.
September, 2010: Magister completes the pilot Mic.Ro project and implements the solution in a total number of 140 stores, of which 10 were mobile, in 6 months. During the project, Magister trained over 800 staff members and offered technical support both on-site and through the call center for the whole chain of stores. On this occasion Magister designs the first automatic interface with Metro, Mic.Ro’s main supplier. Satisfied with the outcome, Mic.Ro decides to continue developing the project for other 3000 stationary shops and 1000 mobile shops. Considering the unprecedented size of the chain and the alteration of business strategies towards franchising models determines the necessity to implement a custom-made solution, based on a ERP system. Every ERP platform for corporations available in Romania that can process large volumes of data is considered and in the end the solution provided by Totalsoft is chosen.
October, 2010: Magister Software is a special guest at the Cash Register, IT Solutions for Management and Access Control Systems, organized by the Association of Romanian Cash Registers Resellers and Authorized Service Providers in Romania.
October, 2010: Magister releases Smartcash RMS 9.0, a superior version of the retail software platform that provides better support for chains of stores.
November, 2010: Magister works together with Totalsoft from September to November to define implementation details for the Mic.Ro project, using Charisma ERP.
November, 2010: The first Reunion of Magister Partners, an annual event, dedicated to dealers and certifed partners, takes place in Poiana Brasov. On this occasion Magister presents the SmartCash Roadmap for 2011 and announces the strategies for the following year.
November, 2010: Two consecutive training sessions for Authorized Dealers and Certifed Partners take place at Hotel Golden Tulip in Bucharest.
February, 2011: Magister becomes a partner of the series of trade shows organized by Piata Magazine under the name of Piata Trade Expo Show. These events addressed traditional retailers and represented an occasion for them to get in touch with the main FMCG suppliers.
March, 2011: VP Magassin, the company running the Vel Pitar retail chain, becomes Magister’s client by purchasing the SmartCash RMS solution for the 100 store chain from across the country. The project that stretched from March to September concentrated on bringing together the Vel Pitar chain by uniting 7 nationwide subsidiaries. The challenge in this project was represented by its size. This was a great occasion to test the national network of partners.
March, 2011: Magister participates at Piata Trade Expo Show Constanta where it holds a workshop on software solutions for traditional retailers.
April, 2011: Magister participates at Piata Trade Expo Show Timisoara, a great occasion to catch up with western Certified Partners.
May, 2011: Magister participates as a partner at the Traditional Trade Awards Gala, organized by Piata Magazine. On this event, dedicated to traditional retailers, Magister awarded the best retailers (some of whom were SmartCash RMS users).
June, 2011: Magister launches the web conferences service for partners. The first on-line seminar for Certified Partners takes place with over 40 attendees.
September, 2011: Magister completes the implementation of the SmartCash solution in the entire Vel Pitar chain. Upon completion the chain features 98 shops and two supermarkets. During the project an interface with SAP, the ERP system Vel Pitar uses, was designed.
October, 2011: During Piata Trade Expo Show Bucharest, that took place at the World Trade Plaza, Magister launches the Oxygen Live portal (www.oxygenlive.ro), the first on-line business intelligence tool for retail management which is especially designed for independent retailers. The public shows interest in this fresh and affordable business analysis platform.
November, 2011: Magister organizes at Hotel Rozmarin in Predeal the second Magister Partner Reunion . The same as the previous year, besides members of the Magister network at the event also participated important strategic partners.
February, 2012: Upon its 10 year anniversary, Magister launches “The best START for your shop” campaign aimed to offer small and medium-sized retailers a modern software solution for their shop for free. The offer lasted until February 12 2013.
March, 2012: The tenth version of SmartCash RMS is launched at Golden Tulip Hotel in Bucharest. This version marks the most significant advance of the software platform in the last 10 years. Users are invited to 3 sessions of free seminaries on the new features of SmartCash RMS and proves to be an interesting user feedback opportunity for the development team.
And the story goes on…