Currently, the global workforces’ ability to function remotely is being tested with the outbreak of COVID-19. The novel coronavirus has forced a significant number of cities and states to instruct residents to stay home in order to curb the spread of the virus. Specifically, hundreds of millions of people across the U.S. and abroad have been urged to stay home. The future of work is uncertain as citizens do their best to obey local and national guidelines, which include working from home for the foreseeable future.
With the right tools, businesses can continue operations as usual, and innovation does not have to fall to the wayside. By leveraging cloud ERP systems, businesses can continue day-to-day operations via a mobile browser, with 24/7 access to business tools and functions. Business management and control is no longer just in the office – it’s available on any phone, tablet or laptop that has internet access. Team members can remain productive from anywhere, while staying connected with back-office functions, and collaborate together across a single system.
Outlined below are three ways that cloud-based ERP systems help facilitate the transition to remote work, maintain business operations as usual and position businesses to thrive during and after this time of uncertainty.
1. Accessible visibility. The logistical challenges imposed by remote work include ensuring staff has access to required data or files, eliminating accidental duplication of efforts and maintaining business continuity for both customers and employees. Cloud ERP can help businesses overcome these challenges. Through the cloud, teams can easily access live data and information to make sure staff remain connected and in the loop, despite working across several locations. Additionally, cloud ERP systems are automatically updated, guaranteeing businesses are operating with the latest, most accurate data.
By accessing real-time data, teams can take a proactive approach to driving business operations, with a critical eye on the future. For example, they can evaluate how to best meet customer needs during the current climate and plan for how customer needs will evolve after social distancing regulations are lifted.
2. Efficient operations. A fully integrated cloud ERP system will help maintain the same level of efficiency businesses would expect in a traditional in-person environment, despite staff not being housed in a central location. Cloud-based technology provides a 360-degree view of the business, allowing teams to quickly generate reports, track profitability, review product information and manage relationships with customers – ensuring proactive and sensible decision making at any time.
Further, integrated internal messaging systems in cloud ERP platforms enable users to communicate with one another directly within the system, eliminating the need to toggle between third-party email and messaging programs. Employees can share links and documents while viewing the latest project, product or accounting information. Additionally, they can discuss initiatives and plans while coordinating activity from within a single interface.
3. Control of financials. Finance is a central and strategic component to the survival of businesses on a daily basis, but this is particularly important during unforeseen and difficult times. Managing accounts and maintaining cash flow are vital while working remotely, but historically, some of ERP’s most important processes haven’t been capable of doing that. Common finance and accounting procedures often rely on in-person meetings with finance teams and external auditors to complete. When businesses use cloud ERP systems, however, finance teams can conduct business virtually, rather than side-by-side.
From posting accounts receivable invoices and credit notes, to matching paid invoices to received POs – a fully integrated cloud ERP system requires little manual input. Managing financials on a cloud ERP platform provides businesses with a full suite of accounting functions to track daily financial operations and generate financial statements while working remotely. During a time when keeping a focus on finances is critical, using mobile applications with cloud-based ERP can help businesses gain accurate, real-time visibility into day-to-day activities and performance to proactively assess changes they need to make to be successful in the future.
Cloud-based ERP platforms act as a stable foundation for businesses in any circumstance, especially during difficult and uncertain times. By relying on a cloud-based ERP system, businesses can not only maintain operations as usual, but they can charge full steam ahead and position themselves for success after COVID-19. They can leverage the latest data to inform decision making, remain connected with their teams and work efficiently to future-proof their business. Businesses relying on legacy ERPs may experience disruption, but those on cloud ERP solutions can expect continuity and support to weather this storm.
Jon has 25 years of leadership experience in the software business. He joined Acumatica after a 20-year career at Microsoft where he led efforts in many areas including product development for developer tools, as well as the business operations, strategy, and marketing for all of Microsoft US. Jon’s most recent role was Corporate Vice President for the Worldwide Partner Group where he led a global sales and marketing team of more than 5,000 employees and Microsoft’s 640,000 partners.