If anyone still thought of Cloud software as just a ‘nice to have’, COVID-19 has firmly cemented it as a ‘must have’ – essential for businesses to operate outside the confines of normal work environments. Many areas within a business can reap the benefits of working in the Cloud, from sales and marketing to HR, finance and procurement. While each department might be using different Cloud software systems, these platforms ideally have some common benefits.
Is your business making the most of Cloud software solutions? Here are the three A’s of using the Cloud.
As the UK – and much of the world – went into lockdown to manage the pandemic, companies with Cloud solutions had the best set up for home working. Cloud systems were a godsend in avoiding workers having to download older programmes that would take up valuable storage space. Employees just needed an internet connection to login to their software and they were ready to go.
For HR teams, Cloud solutions put employee data, processes, documentation, and the ability to easily communicate with their people at their fingertips. Sales and marketing could access prospect lists, email templates and website platforms via the Cloud. Invoices could be processed, payroll run, and new suppliers set up… all from home via Cloud-based systems.
Most modern Cloud systems update files and data regularly if not instantly. Because they are accessible to multiple users, version control on documents can be easily maintained, data kept up to date, (especially where self-service is enabled) and results fed back on activities, such as sending out email communications, straight away. This makes Cloud-based work far more reliable and accurate.
The accuracy of Cloud systems goes hand in hand with security. Maintaining a single source of truth, that can be easily amended and kept current, helps businesses hold reliable information all in one place. Gone are the days of storing data in Excel files on individual computers – and worse, sharing it via unsecure channels. For people working from home, with electronic channels being the only way to share information, Cloud solutions are the obvious answer.
Cloud systems keep users and platform providers accountable. Work performed in the Cloud can be logged and tracked, so if an error is made it’s much easier to see where things went wrong – and this provides employers with reassurance that they’ll still have oversight of their workforce even when working remotely. On the provider’s side, they’re motivated to maintain the system to a high standard to keep their customers happy and their product competitive.
Looking at how Cloud systems help finance departments illustrates why the Cloud is so valuable in terms of compliance and accountability. Greater transparency (allowing for confidentiality) drives more attention to detail – reducing incorrect payments, poor record keeping, lack of due diligence etc. And if something goes wrong, it’s easier to find out why, and offer training and remediation as needed.
The 3 A’s above are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the benefits businesses can derive from Cloud-based systems. Any remaining nervousness felt about ‘working in the Cloud’ is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Businesses and their workforces have relied on Cloud solutions as never before to manage COVID-19’s new ways of working. Even purchases from local stores are being shifted to the Cloud with retailers asking people to order and pay online before picking up goods face to face. Now the onus is on providers to maintaining a high level of functionality and security – being diligent about keeping their systems up to date and well-defended against hackers – so Cloud solutions can continue to make working from home, and our lives in general, easier.