One thing is undeniable – technology has been the saviour of the day . As soon as the lockdown began, millions of people got connected with the help of Messaging and Video conferencing tools like Zoom, Slack, Webex, GotoMeeting, MS Teams etc. Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft stated “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months” . What does this say ?
The phrase ‘social distancing’ is often heard these days. But it has an important implication.
Social distancing will lead to Digital proximity
Our current business processes are very dependent on physical proximity. This will need to get completely replaced with digital proximity if we are to be productive
In other words , a businesses will face considerable challenges if it does not take steps to get digitally closer to it’s employees, customers, vendors and extended networks.
The huge surge in online meetings is proof of what is to come. But what we have seen is only Phase 1. There is much more change to come and people will look beyond meetings to digitally enable their businesses. Though all businesses will cut spending, the need for businesses to stay connected with their internal and external eco systems will need an increase in software adaptation.
Forrester, a leading market research agency in their latest IT spending forecast and predictions report foresees a cut in spending across all sectors. The only positive sign is the continued growth in demand for cloud infrastructure services and potential increases in spending on specialized software
So what will be the impact of the pandemic on the way most small and medium businesses operate ?
Pre COVID19 way of working
- Use of disconnected business apps across departments and teams. No single software to manage all aspects of the business. Islands of information scattered thru the organisation in different formats or spreadsheets
- Weak processes (which were compensated by close physical proximity)
- High dependency on manpower for IT, Accounts, Operations etc
- Dependency on physical proximity
- Dependency on physical documentation/paper
- Dependency on availability of approvers and managers at site
- Dependency on work happening only at the office
- Low visibility of operations by Management / Owners
- Low use of online meeting and collaboration tools
- Important decisions being taken based on guess-work and basic historical data
- Software and data hosted on premise with the need for IT resources
- Capital investment and high cost of software licenses & services was acceptable
With physical distancing becoming the norm, many of our current processes will collapse or be very inefficient . Let’s see some ways to address this.
During & Post-Covid way of working
- The process will need to be more important than the person
- Necessity to use connected software apps across departments in a collaborative manner
- Low dependency on individuals due to systems and processes being put in place
- Work should happen from anywhere , anytime
- Work should continue without physical documents with the use of workflows, authorisations, notifications and alerts by managers who may be off-site
- Secure access by all employees to data and info required by them to conduct their duties. No leakage of data should be possible
- Complete visibility to managers and owners anytime needs to be available they need
- High usage of online collaboration & communication tools making use of voice, text and video between the organisation and its employees, vendors and customers
- Accurate decisions will need to be taken with the help of data and reports due to uncertainty
- Ability for customers to place orders online or thru mobile apps, giving them complete visibility on stock and delivery status
- Use of Cloud software or hosting data on own servers with remote access
- Converting of CAPEX to OPEX by paying per use i.e SAAS (Software as a Service) which could be monthly rentals
- Affordable cost of software & services that will enable SME’s to adapt to technology
The wise men have told us that while we do not have control of external circumstances, the internal can be in our control. While we are unable to undertake external activities, this is a time for inner reflection and creation. What we think….we create. What you are thinking about today will manifest tomorrow. So, it’s a good time to think and plan.
The key aspects of a good collaboration tool include
- Messaging — the always-on conversational layer
- Content — easy access to shared files
- Synchronisation — keeping everyone on the same page
- Search — finding the right answers fast
- Applications — seamless access to shared functionality
- People — optimizing the human dynamics of teamwork
- Permissions — policy-compliant identity and access management
- Workflow — mapping progress towards a collaborative goal
The lockdown provides a pause for all businesses to re-look and re-create their processes in sync with the new reality. When business restarts, we will all go to work like fire fighters and not have time for such big changes. It’s the right time to visualise these changes and get employees to prepare for the new way of working.
Software@Work has been working on enabling small and medium businesses have access to affordable software technology to run their businesses since the past 28 years . An ERP is one software that can handle all our business processes and offer all your employees one single source of information to work in a collaborative manner.
Historically ERP has been costly and we have been working for some years to make this easier and affordable. So, how easy and affordable can it be ? For starters , you can setup a 14 day trial in minutes without any cost. But what later ? The services to setup the software and train your team over the next 45 days can be as low as Rs 90,000. All this can be done remotely. Connect with us on 02248934040 or email us on [email protected] for a consultation.