For businesses of all sizes and across all sectors, it has become imperative to speed up digital transformation and implement the technology that enables seamless remote working. The global shift to remote working processes is a necessary response to a business environment that demands speed, agility and efficiency. Those businesses that cannot keep up in this environment – due to outdated technology, conservative HR policies, or lack of leadership buy-in – will undoubtedly be left behind.
When looking to promote and support certain remote working processes, the key technology platform is Cloud computing. By moving business systems, software and processes to the Cloud – and away from locally hosted environments [on-site servers and exchanges] SMEs, in particular, will automatically be enabling themselves to succeed in the remote and digitally driven modern workplace. With Cloud-based platforms in place, SMEs can achieve a new level of responsiveness and agility – as employees can safely access key data anytime, and from anywhere.
Let’s take email, for example, which is the lifeblood of today’s SMEs. Without properly functioning email access, any small business will be brought to its knees. For SMEs looking to support a host of remote working capabilities, they must immediately consider their email solution. So, do they choose a Cloud-based product, or rather to ‘insource’ email and go with an on-site mail exchange service?
From an agility and remote working point of view, the Cloud-based option is a no-brainer. The leading Cloud solutions are Microsoft Office 365 (which has a dedicated SME bundle offering) and Google Enterprise. By adopting the Cloud option, SMEs can rest assured that their email will always be up and running, and employees will have simple, secure, and easy access from anywhere – as long as they have internet connectivity.
Efficient Cost Structures
Without doubt, there are also significant cost savings for SMEs that wholeheartedly embrace Cloud services. With most of today’s Cloud computing platforms and services, there are neither expensive licensing costs to deal with nor long term contracts– which allows each business to scale up or down according to their current needs. This can free up operating capital to spend on new remote-working devices and mobile connectivity that promotes and supports the shift to remote working.
Always-On, Customer First Approach
In today’s hyper-connected, disruptive and incredibly fast-paced work environment, reliability and customer service is key. Customers expect to be able to get in touch with businesses quickly and easily and get a response within minutes. To enable this efficiency, SMEs must ensure that their systems are constantly up and running – and their employees are plugged in around the clock. This type of responsiveness can arguably be best achieved with Cloud-based systems in place, simply because Cloud platforms allow for instantaneous action on the go. Employees can, for example, sign and send important documents from their parked vehicle or coffee shop, instead of waiting to get back to the office. Using Cloud-based email and software, there is almost no downtime or lag in communications – which positions SMEs as quick, agile and highly responsive.
As SMEs consider the various technology tools at their disposal, it is important to note that tools are only one aspect of a successful shift to remote working. Leaders must ensure that there are strong KPIs and clear policies in place and that employees are still part of a collaborative and supportive company culture. Today’s high performing technology can only be fully harnessed by businesses that embrace the principles of collaborative, disciplined and self-driven work – that always puts the customer first.