The most objective answer: It depends on a few factors and also it depends on what kind of a person you are and your personality.
– It depends on whether you are the type of person that likes to Lease or Own their own car. It is well known that the math is against you leasing a car that you will never own, you just rent it, pay the most for this way of obtaining a vehicle, but millions of people still do this and prefer this method. Same with POS Software. So If you are the type of person that is always drawn to leasing and not owning, the equivalent to that is your Point of Sale software being on the cloud, because you do not own a copy of the POS software or a license to use the POS software on your PC forever (like the case is with regular desktop software), but you rent and once you stop paying, you have nothing.
– It depends on whether you are the type of person that trusts authority or not, if you are the type of person that trusts the government or not (if you trust all of your sensitive data, your business info, to be in the hands of a bureaucratic entity). So if you are the type of person that has no problem with another entity having full access to your business data and keeping your business data, and if you trust some private company not to misuse your POS Software’s data for marketing purposes (like see what you order the most, at what supply cost and then sell that info to another company that supplies what you buy in your business – that is just one example out of many), if you do not worry about these things, then a cloud POS software is OK for you.
– It depends on whether you are the type of person that is a “control freak” or not (let’s face it, most of us are control freaks, rare are the people that are not). Are you the type of person that likes to “hold the product that they paid for, in their hands” (figuratively speaking) ? Most of business owners cannot stand not having control over something that they know they could control easily, if they wanted to. So if you can neglect your urge to control things about the POS software that runs your business, if you neglect the value of having more control, if you neglect the value of having a product in your hands – figuratively speaking, then the POS on the cloud is OK for you.
– And finally, are you happy with your Internet service all the time or does it frequently slow down and is unavailable more often than you would like it to be? Because you should know, the “cloud” works by your PC connecting to this remote server over the Internet. So you have a POS program on the cloud that you can run, only as fast as your Internet is and only as often as you have uninterrupted Internet. Even if you have a super fast Internet, there is still more delay and lack of speed in your computer communicating and working with a program that resides on a remote PC somewhere on the Internet, comparing to your PC running a software that is right on it’s own hard drive – for which Internet is not required.
Not to mention that most POS programs on the cloud, like most programs on the cloud, run in a browser (even if the browser frame is hidden and it doesn’t look like it), you are basically running a program on the Internet, for all intents and purposes that means you are running a website, a complex website, that we call a Web-application, so that kind of a software entity does not have as much access and control to your PC hardware, as your own POS software, running on your own hard drive and Windows operating system has. So you will not have the luxury of using much more than a few basic input/output hardware devices such as a scanner, card reader, printer and a drawer on this POS system (which leaves out a lot of cool hardware like: pole display, different scales, bar anti-theft devices – like computerized pour-meter, tanning beds for salons, etc… ). All you have is a fancy cash drawer that heavily relies on the Internet connection in your business.
If I wanted to show how biased I am and not be objective… I write desktop software and I hate the “on the cloud” concept and believe it was created purely out of the need for big companies to get you, to pay, on monthly basis, for a service/product. To pay a subscription payment, which will never go away, just like the pharmaceutical industry is interested in making treatments for symptoms, which you need to buy and take for the rest of your life, instead of making medicine curing you of your condition, without the need to take the “cure” on daily basis forever. I believe all of this, is out of the need, of greedy corporations, to get you to pay a perpetual monthly fee, a never-ending subscription.
And in the end, I leave you with this thought, can anyone name any advantage of being on the cloud for a Point of Sale system or a POS Software ? (aside from being able to operate from anywhere in the world , where you have Internet) – which is negligible in the Point of Sale industry, because you do not want to take your cash drawer around the world anyways and if you do any remote trade shows, you take a laptop with you and you keep sales separately anyways (store and trade show), you don’t take the store’s software with the same database and leave your store without a system or have them use the same exact database and setup and then mix everything up. For better reporting and so you can know what you did and how you did on the trade show and in your store, you want two separate cash registers as their own separate entity. So really, being able to take your system anywhere in the world is not even a factor in the Point of sale industry. So can anyone think of ANY benefit to your POS system or POS software being on the cloud, anything that works better comparing to it residing on your computer as a conventional software in your full control (and don’t say backup, because you can backup desktop data in hundreds of ways automatically and remotely these days – heck, you can have a cloud backup for your desktop PC) ? Can you think of an advantage for the cloud in the POS industry? Because honestly I cannot !