Microsoft wants to make it easier to manage your apps in Windows 11

Windows 11 is getting a new System Components hub in order to manage system-related apps and other elements in one place, or at least this is in testing right now.

Windows Latest spotted the incoming change in preview which is set to be part of the Windows 11 23H2 update, and may also eventually be brought to those who remain on 22H2.

The System Components hub is located in Settings (in the System menu, unsurprisingly). It provides easy access to all system apps (default applications installed with Windows 11, like Calculator, Photos or Notepad for example), plus it also lists the likes of extensions and codecs that are system-related.

For example, the installed codecs needed to play certain video formats are listed under System Components.

Note that working with everyday (non-system) apps continues as normal (in the Apps & Features panel). What the new hub provides is a way to access anything system-related to see those pieces of the puzzle easily (and related extensions and so forth, as mentioned).


Analysis: A drive to provide more clarity with apps

In other words, this is an extra addition to Windows 11’s interface, rather than replacing anything in Settings to do with app management.

It’s also worth noting that in the pursuit of greater clarity for default apps and system components in Windows 11, they will be clearly labeled as such in the Start menu (and Microsoft Store).

That’s another change currently in test builds, so any system app will have a ‘system component’ slapped next to it, to make it crystal clear which entries in the Start menu are system-related.

All this is just in testing, and there’s never any guarantee that what’s in preview will make the cut for release – but this seems a good bet to get through to the finished version of Windows 11. Especially as the 23H2 update is expected to begin rolling out soon (though it won’t have much in the way of major changes, seeing as the recent Moment 4 update brought much of the big stuff in, such as the Copilot AI most notably).

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5 ways POS systems help you manage staff

Long gone are the days when POS systems were only used for making sales. Today’s cloud POS systems are management tools that can be used to do everything from managing your inventory and suppliers to tracking the activity of employees – whether it’s hours worked or sales made. 

Today, POS systems can even manage employee schedules and streamline HR and training, putting all of your essential business data and reports when and where you need them.

If they're used effectively, POS systems save time and money and have the potential to improve the entire staff management system. Let's take a look at the most common ways your POS system can help manage staff.

1. POS systems offer easier time tracking

POS systems can help accurately track when employees are working. Naturally, this is a critical part of properly managing your employees. That's why outdated clocking in and out systems can be a slow, frustrating and time-consuming experience for employees themselves.

Some POS systems offer an efficient and quick time tracking solution, for both you and your employees. In a lot of cases, POS software enables employees to use a secure PIN when clocking in or out and can even create personal profiles for workers. 

This lets both them and you see how many hours they’ve worked in a day, week, or month, thereby minimizing time fraud. Seeing as it’s estimated that time theft costs U.S. employers more than $ 400 billion per year in lost productivity, this is crucial. 

Employees on their mobile phones POS systems

POS systems can track employee working hours to the minute (Image credit: Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels)

For businesses that involve tipping, there are systems that won’t let an employee clock out without declaring their tips and/or performing a till count, which can aid in cash management purposes. 

While different POS time clocks will come with different capabilities, it’s a feature that can greatly benefit your business, as this is an efficient way to streamline and consolidate multiple records into a single system. 

For example, some time clocks can also integrate with payroll and this automation can simplify calculations of who is owed what when they work different roles – such as a hostess versus a waiter in a restaurant setting. And, finally, a POS with a good timekeeping system can also simplify payroll when employees work overtime at a different rate of pay.

2. Streamlined scheduling 

One of the most tedious parts of managing employees is making out the schedule – that is, if you’re still doing it on paper or a whiteboard. With a modern POS system, you can not only track employee hours, but you can make on-the-fly updates and changes in the system in a way that completely streamlines the process. 

And, while it’s convenient to set up the times your employees are scheduled to work for the next week, most POS systems also allow managers to accept or reject time off requests and shift trades. Some even have integrations that let you set up a task list and goals for your staff. Better still, because it’s cloud-based software, you can access it from anywhere at any time, meaning you can quickly and easily make last-minute changes.

It’s also important to determine how many people you’ll need on the clock at any given time and, with the right data at your fingertips, this task becomes much easier. Most modern POS solutions provide data and reports on your peak sales and busiest hours and you can use that information to figure out how many employees to bring on at any given time.

3. Improved customer skills and interaction 

One of the biggest benefits of today’s modern POS systems is the introduction of mobile capabilities. Instead of having to wait in line at the checkout, a mobile POS system paves the way for mobile checkout, which also gives employees more opportunities to interact with the customers. Employees can answer inventory questions for a customer and even complete a transaction, thus streamlining the retail experience.

mPOS transaction values are “predicted to exceed $ 1.9 trillion by 2024, up from $ 850 billion in 2019”

Juniper Research

If you don’t currently offer mobile POS in your store, you’re going to soon be in the minority. Retailers are quickly realizing how it improves employee efficiency and effectiveness, which improves the bottom line.

Indeed, mPOS transaction values are “predicted to exceed $ 1.9 trillion by 2024, up from $ 850 billion in 2019,” and according to one survey, “90% of respondents agree or strongly agree that mPOS is cost effective,” with 72% of retailers surveyed accepting mobile payments, compared to 51% in 2017.

4. Detailed employee activity reporting 

POS data can reveal critical insights about your business – both the good and the bad. While you would like to be able to trust your staff 100% of the time, the fact of the matter is that employee theft costs U.S. businesses $ 50 billion annually. The first line of defence in preventing this expensive incident is a POS system with comprehensive case management reporting. 

More than just inputting a start and an end cash count, modern POS systems can provide comprehensive reports for till count before and after shift changes and carefully document cash-ins and cash-outs, among other things involving security. 

On the flip side, POS systems with detailed employee reports are also the easiest way to track performance so you can identify – and reward – top employees. And, as many businesses know, employee rewards and recognition can truly pay off both for employers and their staff.  A recent study found that 63% of employees who are recognized are very unlikely to look for a new job, and 40% of employed Americans would put additional energy into their work if they were recognized more often.

It's also possible to run reports to find out who your top and poorest performing employees are, which employees process the most sales, who is working overtime and so on. You can then use all of this information, both to make strategic scheduling decisions, reward high performers and provide extra training to boost productivity for employees who aren’t performing as well. 

5. Smoother employee training  

best pos

Invest the time and ensure that staff are fully trained on your POS system (Image credit: Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash)

Last, but certainly not least is employee training. You can have the greatest employee in the world filled with high morale and ambition, but without proper POS training, they won’t be able to reach their full potential. When introducing a POS system into your store, it’s crucial that you properly train them on how the system works – and how it benefits them and will make their job that much easier.

The majority of cloud-based POS software is specifically designed to be as easy to use as possible. However, every system is different and will require a specific set of skills that may take some time to acquire. That’s why, when selecting a POS system, it’s important to think about the onboarding process for both new and current employees. 

For example, how difficult will it be to train employees on this system? Does the interface include a training mode built right into it? Are you provided with comprehensive training materials? Will the vendor offer on-site training and support?

The more time you invest in training your staff to use a new POS, the greater the likelihood that the transition will be smooth and you’ll reap all the beneficial rewards. 

Your POS system and employee management  

From training employees to use the POS system itself to using the POS system to manage your employees, it’s safe to say that this technology is the backbone of your business. 

Along with tracking inventory and suppliers, it helps you manage your staffing levels, employee hours and overall sales performance. What's more, by optimizing your employee management, you’re better able to streamline your business – boosting not only the customer experience, but also your bottom line. 

Further reading

If you're looking for more information about POS systems and the benefits they bring, then check out our expert guides to understanding the cost of a POS system, how to choose the best POS system for your business.

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Soon you can manage your Office and Xbox accounts within Windows 11

Microsoft is making further improvements to Windows 11 with a better way to manage your Office and Xbox subscriptions within the Settings app if a Windows Insider build is to be believed.

A Windows Insider build can allow a user to sign up to a release of Windows that’s under development, which could showcase new apps, new features, or different ways to access parts of the user interface.

This change has been in the ‘Dev Channel’ of Windows Insider since late last year and has recently moved up to the ‘Release Channel’ build, numbered 22000.466. This most likely means that we could be seeing this arrive to all Windows 11 users sooner than Sun Valley 2, the next big update to the operating system.


Analysis: It’s about time

We’ve been pleased to see Microsoft constantly look at aspects of Windows and how it could make the operating system easier on the eye, or just easier to use. While this is a small change, it’s going to make a big difference to those who manage Office subscriptions for their family or small business, or your personal Xbox Game Pass subscription.

Going to 'Settings > Accounts > Your Microsoft Account' in the Windows 11 Release Channel will show your active subscriptions, payment history, and rewards, mirroring what you would normally see on the web.

Microsoft Account in Settings, in Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

It’s another aspect of Microsoft focusing on the usability of Windows. In the past, such as Windows 8 and Windows Phone, form seemed to matter more than function, and once you got past the main feature that the company was showcasing, you’d be greeted with apps or message boxes that felt as though they had time traveled from Windows 95.

But with other improvements such as a new Task Manager coming, the return of Windows Media Player, and a better Microsoft Store, it looks as though Windows 11 is already shaping up to be a release that’s focusing on the future, not the past.

Regardless, we may see further improvements to how we use the apps and settings that we’ve been used to for years. And if that means few clicks and less confusion for more users, then it will benefit everyone.

Via MSPowerUser

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