The coronavirus pandemic has prompted urgent changes to how we work and a rush to implement new digital tools, but could investing in enterprise systems be the better long-term approach? 

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Stopping the spread of coronavirus means life as we know it has changed dramatically—lockdown restrictions mean no large gatherings, travel, or even going to the movies or the gym. 

While work must continue, Australians are being told to stay home wherever possible. That puts the onus on employers to make remote work a reality for your team where practical. 

Business as usual throughout the pandemic may be possible by quickly cobbling together digital collaboration tools. But there is a real danger that piecemeal approaches will stymie your effectiveness—and therefore profitability—in an already volatile economic climate. 

Executives making decisions about work from home policies and technologies need to keep in mind:

  • There is no clear endpoint to the COVID-19 threat and associated disruptions.
  • Every technology purchase needs to deliver a return on investment to be worthwhile.
  • Well-designed systems improve your productivity and resilience in all conditions.

In other words, this could be an opportunity to make a strategy pivot. To rethink the way you operate and empower your team to deliver value for customers by embracing an integrated enterprise solution.  

For some businesses now is the ideal time to consider a long-term approach to creating a more agile, unified and mobile workforce.

Teams connected online is the way of the future

Working from home full-time is new to many and adapting to the change comes with a range of challenges. One example: there’s been a spike in the sale of home office supplies, desks, chairs and computer monitors. 

However, ensuring employees have a safe work environment and the right equipment is just the tip of the iceberg. Your team needs to be able to access information and collaborate well, within a secure and easy-to-use digital environment. True connectivity requires more than mobility.

Effective remote working requires:

  • The speed and bandwidth to conduct multiple inter-connected activities online.
  • A secure and robust network that you can depend on to remain up and running. 
  • Clear processes and workflows that limit manual/duplicated effort and errors.
  • Oversight of individual and team outputs, and overall business performance.
  • Intuitive tools that make finding, analysing and sharing information straightforward.

A recent Gartner HR survey shows the majority of organisations are asking employees to work from home during the coronavirus crisis, and that 70 percent of employers will be seeking to use technology more effectively as a means to cut costs.

It’s important to ensure that any tech investment you make now isn’t frittered away on multiple, disparate tools that don’t adequately address your team’s functional requirements or provide lasting business benefits. 

Otherwise, the money you save on technology will be outweighed by lost revenue.

Stop-gap measures that don’t allow your business to operate at peak levels or continue to provide high levels of service and assurance to customers—mean your business will be less prepared to weather the ups and downs of coming months/years. 

If you HAVE to invest in new platforms to make remote work possible, ensure you invest in technologies that will truly address your business needs now and into the future. 

Enterprise solutions help future-proof growing businesses

Business leaders serious about using technology to underpin smarter and more cost-effective ways of working may conclude that a more comprehensive technology solution is the wisest option. A holistic digital business strategy is more likely to reap rewards.

Leading companies have been busy with digital transformation over the past few years. They’ve been finding ways to use technology to capitalise on data, provide superior customer experience, and run faster and leaner to reduce costs and waste. 

For many Australian small to medium companies that have involved establishing integrated, cloud-based ERP systems on a centralised database that enables anytime, anywhere work.

Innovative enterprise solutions are more flexible and affordable than ever before. Not only can ERP systems be configured to coordinate all key business functions, when they’re deployed in the cloud they also maximise your mobility and scalability.

Scalability that you can rely on is critical when business conditions are volatile. It means you can add or remove users quickly and easily. It means your digital workspace is backed by world-class cloud architecture that is highly secure and can handle the increased volume. 

Straightforward ERP implementations can be completed in a matter of weeks, or delivered in staggered phases to spread out the costs. 

ERP solutions enhance business continuity 

Businesses working on cloud-based enterprise solutions have reduced their risk of business disruption. Many of our customers have been able to maintain existing structures and work coordination processes, and simply need to move additional staff off-site.   

Understandably, not all business activities can be done remotely. But information about what’s happening across your business can be captured, stored and shared via an integrated digital system to increase the visibility and efficiency of whole-of-business value chains.

For instance, production and stock movement information from the shop floor or warehouse that’s entered into enterprise systems ensure managers can monitor work in progress and company-wide profitability—plus it makes critical data available to back-office teams like sales, marketing, finance, and customer service so they can do their jobs and communicate with customers in turn.

Cloud ERP solutions deliver incredible benefits for remote teams including:

  • Centralised, web-based access to data, documents, and functions required day-to-day
  • Automated and streamlined tasks that remove delays, confusion and errors
  • Standardised processes and workflows across inter-related business functions
  • Customisable screens, alerts and dashboards for relevant and real-time data
  • Powerful queries, analytics, and data-sharing capabilities for faster decisions
  • Employee self-service features and user-friendly interfaces

Build your capacity for remote work and long-term agility

If you want to ensure your SME can leverage technology to face the challenges of today, and whatever the future may hold, take a moment to consider the unifying power of a cloud ERP solution. 

Business-critical data and processes become more reliable, accessible and meaningful when you tailor a world-class ERP solution to match your precise needs. 

That provides greater clarity and improves your ability to respond and adapt quickly to change—including a successful switch to remote working. 

Interested in learning more? Our experienced consultants can help you determine whether an ERP solution is right for your business, and explain the cost and steps involved. Contact us now.