Despite the numerous advantages they bring to businesses, the decision to start a gift card or eTop-up program is a big step. One of the first major considerations is what kind of platform you are going to use to implement your program. Ultimately, there are three options:

  1. Develop your own platform

  2. Buy a platform and host it yourself

  3. Use a hosted solution

Developing your own platform

Two seemingly obvious advantages afforded by developing your own platform are customization and up-front costs. If you develop the platform, you can have the features you need, and you can change it in any way you want as your business evolves. Also, once you have paid for the platform to be developed, there is nothing more to pay. On the surface, this seems to be the ideal scenario, but if this option is examined a little more closely, important caveats appear. While your bespoke platform may indeed be customized over time, who is going to do it? Most retailers are not software developers, and do not have employees with the necessary skills. This means that every time you want to make changes to your bespoke platform, you need to pay someone else to do it. Add to this the likely delays before the new features can be implemented, and the solution is suddenly taking more money and time out of the business than you initially thought.

Buy a platform

Buying a platform that fits your current requirements initially seems like an ideal solution because you can look around for one that meets the needs of your business, pay for it, and host it on your own servers.

The problem is that, while this gives you almost complete control over the platform, it also makes you responsible for installation and maintenance of the platform, data back-ups, and security. This may require a dedicated – and expensive – IT team to be retained. In addition, purchased platforms require updating or upgrading regularly if they are to continue meeting the needs of your business. Upgrades are often not free, and again you are responsible for implementing them. You decide not to upgrade of course, but what happens when, a few years down the line, the platform you are using becomes obsolete? You have to start all over again, and the money invested in what is now a useless system, is lost.

Another consideration is server capacity. If you are hosting the platform yourself, and your business grows, you are responsible for investing in more infrastructure to handle the increase in traffic. Suddenly, your hardware is overwhelmed and choosing to host an off-the-shelf solution does not seem like a wise decision.

Hosted solutions

Opting for a hosted solution and processing agreement like Ogloba’s, provides the perfect balance between an individually-tailored solution, and hassle-free system management. The platform is customizable from the start, as clients can choose the functions and features they need. Of course, they can add, or request, more features as and when they need them, or remove the features they no longer use. Ogloba want to continuously expand and improve their platform, and upgrades are added automatically, and often free of charge, as soon as they are ready. By entrusting the hosting to Ogloba, the processing agreement ensures that there is a team of developers always working to keep the platform up to date.

Meanwhile, engineers will oversee system maintenance, data back-ups, and reconciliation so clients do not have to. The platform is hosted on multiple servers, so even in the unlikely event of a problem, the system architecture still allows on-going data processing, and rapid recovery. Businesses like Ogloba rely on preserving the integrity of their client’s databases, so security measures that most self-hosting retailers could not even think of matching are implemented.

Retailers want to focus on being a retailer, not on their IT systems. Ogloba are experts in field, and offer solutions that allow clients and partners to concentrate on being an expert in theirs.