The productivity payoff of cloud

While many businesses had little choice but to work remotely, the question also arose about how well their existing technology supported a newly remote workforce. And if employee productivity fell or improved (and the facts vary depending on the research you read) consequently? 

Some workers attributed productivity improvements to physical factors. For example, the World Economic Forum says 30,000 US employees claimed that due to their decreased commute time, just one day a week spent working from home could boost productivity by 4.8%.  

But travel time aside, cloud technology became the undisputed productivity champion, enabling employees to stay employed, and businesses to keep their virtual doors open. And as a core business application, cloud-based ERPs played a significant role in helping entire industries remain relevant, competitive, and viable during COVID. 

A case in point is Panova, an international manufacturer. Their move to cloud ERP realised an astounding 400% increase in productivity. It allowed staff from around the world to collaborate and  access information easily, and the business to improve efficiency and increase production output. 

So, how did your ERP strategy during COVID stack up when it came to supporting a remote workforce and an out-of-office business?  

Was it just ok? Very good? Or perhaps even amazing? 

Did your ERP make or break your business during COVID?

First, what does ‘good’ look like? 

  1. Your next-generation ERP was cloud-based, accessible, flexible, scalable, and streamlined. In other words, WFH was BAU with children, pets, and casual clothing. 
  2. Your ERP was easy for remote employees to access on a range of connected devices yet met all your security compliance requirements. 
  3. Your ERP allowed your managers to view real-time analytical reports on the productivity, projects, performance and even wellbeing of their remote team members. 
  4. Your ERP allowed you to generate click-of-a-button real-time financial reporting across the entire business, so offsite didn’t mean out-of-mind or out-of-date.  
  5. Your ERP let your people work offline in complete confidence that their entered data would be seamlessly shared back to the application when the internet was restored. 
  6. Your ERP enabled you to automate previously manual processes easily. The ones that may have been ok when you could pass paper from one desk to the next, but created efficiency roadblocks when working remotely!  
  7. Your ERP (especially the CRM module) helped keep your clients happy and loyal even though you couldn’t see them in person. Every email, SMS, phone, or video call was supported with up-to-the-minute, personalised information about them and their account.  
  8. Your ERP could quickly support eCommerce or omnichannel comms, so what you couldn’t sell or support from physical locations was still available to your customers as a great online experience. 

How did you do?

If your ERP has struggled to deliver any of the above ‘remote working made easy’ benefits, over the last two years, then it was probably (or to be blunt, definitely) well past its use-by date.  

Sadly, legacy systems don’t adapt well to change on demand. They were never designed to flex, bend, provide remote ERP access, and scale at the best times, let alone during the most challenging. 

Business continuity is critical when struck by remarkable events on any scale, from worldwide pandemics to localised natural disasters. Those businesses who successfully leverage cloud ERP can and will increase their chances of survival, if not carve out exciting new opportunities and markets.  

There’s never been a better time to sit down and develop a robust, future facing post-COVID strategy than now.  

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