The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the normal workflow across the globe. Practically overnight, the demand for technology that enables remote work has skyrocketed. Beyond that, manufacturing companies have been forced to alter their strategies to continue delivering essential products through a remote workforce. The ability to manage a large volume of orders and complex billing while remaining compliant requires that companies adopt new technology. In order to thrive, companies must learn to adapt. When the pandemic hit, many companies pivoted quickly and worked to strengthen their information technology capabilities. The shift in strategy highlighted many of the issues associated with older systems.
Moving forward, more companies will need to adopt cloud technology and figure out how they can be integrated into existing platforms to allow for quick pivots when significant changes occur. Cloud technologies facilitate the automation of many processes while maintaining security. Even more importantly, cloud technologies make it easy to scale operations, particularly after a quick and unexpected change in workflow. The pandemic has shown company leaders across the world that they need to be able to adjust their approach at a moment’s notice, and cloud technology is often the best way to achieve this degree of flexibility. While it is impossible to predict a pandemic, companies can ensure that they are prepared for such an event in the future. The following are a few ways in which cloud technology can facilitate a pivot to a home-based workforce:
Remote team management
The cloud has a significant role to play in terms of the ability to manage teams that work remotely. Manual processes take a lot of time when workers are not in the same physical space. With remote work, automation becomes extremely important, and companies must focus on their ability to automate manual processes when the workforce cannot congregate in a central office. Cloud-based technology can handle billing and revenue recognition processes to eliminate many of the challenges created by manual processes in a virtual environment. Through cloud-based automation, organizations can gain a significant competitive advantage. By reducing manual efforts, companies can streamline their processes and increase efficiency, which allows for scale and helps to control some of the risks associated with remote teams.
Augmentation of existing technology
Cloud-based technology affords companies an impressive amount of agility, but undertaking a complete technological transition can prove complicated and expensive. For some companies, a full-scale strategy is unavoidable, but many organizations can integrate order-to-cash technologies with their existing systems, which can save money and help minimize the downtime associated with technology upgrades. Integration is a great approach, but individuals need to take the time to verify how the new cloud technology will work with and augment existing infrastructure. Ideally, cloud-based software meets goals such as hyper-scalability and the ability to handle the full range of transactions executed by a company. Often, it makes sense to figure out what is needed from the software and then which options integrate with existing technology while addressing those needs.
Improved technological security
Business leaders need to take security seriously when they introduce changes to their technology. While the cloud facilitates access to information among employees, it is important to safeguard this data from malicious individuals. Cloud providers have increasingly emphasized security and now offer a range of different technologies for keeping company information secure. Companies can often create individual accounts through cloud providers for each employee that grant them access only to the files they absolutely need to see. Cloud-based technologies also often have skilled teams protecting the information with regular updates and file back-ups. With regular back-ups, employees who accidentally delete or alter files can easily restore them.
Better team collaboration
Cloud technology can be used anywhere that individuals have a stable Internet connection. Remote workers can easily communicate and collaborate through these platforms. Through excellent cloud software that facilitates collaboration, companies may find that projects actually get completed faster than they did in person since all individuals can work on it simultaneously with real-time updates. The cloud makes it easy for employees to stay in touch and keeps all work in a central location. Team collaboration extends beyond employees and also includes clients. With great cloud technologies, employees can work in real time with their clients to demonstrate progress, obtain feedback, and map out a plan for future work.
Speed up the development of new processes
As the pandemic has demonstrated, companies may need to change their processes completely in a very short period of time. The cloud makes such innovation possible by supporting a wide range of different types of workflows. Unlike physical work spaces that must be changed, the cloud can quickly adjust to new needs and facilitate the development of new processes. Many of the other items on this list—from greater collaboration to better team management—help to drive innovation. However, the primary benefit of a cloud system is the ability to facilitate major changes in a matter of moments. Cloud solutions should ideally be adaptable to new pricing models, different billing approaches, novel communication systems, and more so that new ideas can be tested quickly.