Digital Health Check – Are You Using Your Cloud Technology Effectively?Jamie Allen
So, you have already migrated to the Cloud, but how can you make sure you are getting the most out of your investment into new systems?
From our experience, we have encountered many businesses that have already implemented some cloud technology solutions within their business but are perhaps not using these to their full advantage. As with any piece of technology you will only reap the full benefits from it if you are using it correctly, effectively streamlining your processes and automating certain functions within your business. Below are some useful checklist items you can run through to make sure you are using your cloud technology to achieve its full potential.
Are you using all of the functionality the system provides?
Some cloud technology implementations can result in wasted time and money if they are not utilised correctly as there may still be many processes within the business which are proving to remain cumbersome and time-consuming despite having a new solution/system in place. It is important as a business to identify areas of concern and why the current set up might not be working as efficiently as it should. With many cloud technologies, making even small changes to business processes can have a very positive impact on efficiency and effectiveness – below are a few key examples:
By only using 50% of the functionality offered by your chosen piece of software, you are certainly unable to reap the full benefits or get great value from your investment. Undeniably, a key part of embracing cloud technology is making sure that you have explored all the functionality of the system you are using and identified which processes might need to be altered so that you are letting the system do most of the work for you.
Have your staff had thorough training?
Cloud technology can only provide the desired outcome if your staff are fully engaged and willing to embrace new processes and systems. Many people are averse to change and are therefore more comfortable with doing tasks ‘the old way’ as this is what they know, even if they are more time-consuming and prone to error. By putting a structured plan in place to support and manage the people who are using the technology, it can aid adoption of the system and help them discover the many functionalities which they can benefit from, resulting in a decreased work-load. Below are some key tips for gaining better buy-in from staff members:
· Arrange in-depth training for staff members with technology experts
· Make use of the software help desks or knowledge bases
· Subscribe to blogs or follow your software provider on Linked-in to keep up to date with new releases & functionality
· Ask questions! If you are struggling with a task in the system, ask the support team to provide guidance
Are your business systems integrated?
The integration of systems is key in order to manage all of the different operational processes within a business efficiently. You may have invested in financial cloud technology but perhaps you run operational processes separately and the systems are not integrated. As businesses grow, managing different data sets across multiple systems can become increasingly difficult and result in reconciliation issues. By making sure that all of your business applications talk to one another it can result in less admin, better security, more reliable & real-time data and a more scalable business solution in general. As the cloud-technology market diversifies you may find that the systems you are using already has integrations available and therefore it will simply just need to be set up. If your current system is unable to integrate there are a few options available, which you can explore as a solution:
· Move to a different software provider that offers a wider range of integrations within their app suite
· Build a custom API link between your systems (this can often be expensive)
· Use a bridging tool to act as a middleman in order to link up all your systems – this can be your reporting tool which pulls in data from various systems using FTP files
We have found that by having a system that is not only able to pull data into reports from a range of different sources, but also push data out into systems (such as accounting transactions into the corresponding software) essentially we are able to automate most accounting processes within a business and can completely tailor the network of systems used depending on the client’s needs.
Have you explored additional add-on applications?
As mentioned earlier the cloud-technology market is expanding, therefore there are plenty of business applications out there that are certainly worth exploring. It is important to note that if you have purchased an accounting application such as Xero or Quickbooks – which may excel in the required functions but may have limitations i.e. Accounting & compliance; there could be much more suitable applications out there that can be used for other operational parts of your business. By making use of add-on applications, you are utilising technology to manage different business processes with a system that has been built specifically for that purpose. Below are some areas of your business where add-on applications may be worth exploring if they are applicable:
· Document scanning tools
· Employee expense management & company cards
· Purchase ordering systems
· Time-tracking applications
· Point of sales systems
· Payment services
At 4Pointzero our aim is to add value to businesses, not only through helping clients move to the cloud but also in helping them get the most out of their existing solutions using our strong concept of the capability of technology. We are able to offer clients advice on a range of different systems and our dedicated team can assist with selecting the most appropriate systems, training staff on the systems and making sure that businesses are running as effectively as possible. Contact us today: www.4pointzero.co.uk