The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses and employees to adapt to new ways of working. The coronavirus is highly contagious; everyone risks infection simply by being exposed to other people, more so staying with officemates for hours at a time. Most organizations saw no alternative but to allow employees to work from home, making remote work the new normal for most. The job market even saw a significant spike in remote jobs during the height of the lockdowns.
The challenge for most teams was bringing their workloads online so that their workers could continue to function despite not physically being in their offices. However, there are some workloads that are not quite easy as to transition to remote work. For example, some sales operations like those for B2B companies are conventionally done through people in the field. With physical distancing protocols in effect, many sales forces have had to reconsider and readjust their approaches to customer engagement.
Fortunately for businesses, various cloud platforms and services were available to help most companies transition. Many applications are designed for use across many business functions. Since these are accessible through web and mobile apps, workers were able to use them immediately without any delays.
Here are three ways the cloud has enabled teams across business functions to operate remotely:
1. Customer Engagement
For any firm, customer engagement is paramount. It provides businesses with avenues to connect with their clients, old and new. Repeat and loyal customers are what usually sustain a business. As such, customer relationship management (CRM) has become instrumental in ensuring companies effectively connect with their base. The most capable CRM software can comprehensively facilitate the various activities that help companies build strong relationships with customers. They allow companies to record client information, plan engagement activities, and even automate marketing tasks. Investing in feature-rich CRM software is crucial since such systems are will be used by different departments including sales, marketing, customer support, accounting, and even IT.
Cloud-based systems have been critical in helping companies continue to touch base with their customers during the pandemic. Even if their sales forces and customer service agents are working remotely, these platforms give workers access to customers’ information and the tools to effectively reach them. Marketers can even launch campaigns to help stimulate customer interest and foster customer loyalty. Even with lockdowns and physical distancing rules in effect, companies can still maintain optimum visibility with their base.
There are many other areas of business that would’ve been tricky to transition if not for the advantages that the cloud brings. Essential activities such as payroll, disbursements, and legal agreements all need to have strict management oversight which is often conducted within the workplace. Without the secure means to facilitate these tasks, businesses would be risking errors and perhaps even fraud.
Cloud platforms are available to address these needs. Payroll services can comprehensively handle the entire processes by having the mechanisms for authorization and approval of such transactions, from time-tracking right up to the actual crediting of money to employees’ accounts. Governance platforms are also available, giving executives the online means to securely review and sign off on agreements and legally binding documents.
For most other functions, communication and collaboration platforms are what allowed teams to remain productive in the middle of the raging pandemic. Online productivity suites like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 cover most of the need for office tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, and email. They even come integrated with cloud storage, giving companies the convenient means to host and share their work files online.
Communication platforms like Zoom and Google Meet have also helped provide much-needed interactions among teams. These services also allow screen sharing and digital whiteboards to help facilitate discussions. And even if some have expressed how
these still fall short of providing the meaningful interactions that being collocated in an office provides, they really are the next best thing while everyone works remotely.
Ultimately, cloud computing helps businesses bring their workloads online and enable remote work. Even the areas and processes that are conventionally kept on-premises are now being made available online, thanks to various cloud platforms and applications that cater even to the more obscure business needs. In the least, businesses are assured of continuity as their teams remain functional and productive despite being distributed. At the most, cloud computing is the new (and still efficient) normal. The pandemic has brought about a worrying economic crunch that is bound to linger for the near future. The ability for organizations to go about business, albeit remotely, can be what makes all the difference for their survival given these tough times.