Is ‘Office Independence’ Achievable for Your Business?

As we all continue to adapt to the challenges we face – challenges that are diverse dependent on what industry we operate in, the structure of our business, the increased or decreased demand for our products or services – one thing that we have in common is that 2020 has shone a light on the flexibility or otherwise of our businesses to adapt to any kind of remote working.

 

Research published this month by Grant Thornton tells us that, as a result of the COVID crisis:

  • 88% of businesses have made a fundamental change to their business model.
  • 49% have implemented home or flexible working.
  • 42% have adapted their business strategy.

 

The research shows that, when it comes to adapting business strategy, the key areas include digital transformation, organisational flexibility, crisis management and the ability to scale up. Much of the capacity to accomplish these changes comes down to connectivity, flexibility and visibility – and these are dependent on the key business management systems that companies use and how they connect to them.

 

Many SMEs, and even larger organisations, with systems that were not either fully cloud-based or already set up for their teams working from home felt the impact on several levels:

  • The sheer speed with which lockdown happened, allowing little or no time to assess their situation or their options.
  • The expense involved in setting access up – such as via a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or a Terminal Server/Remote Desktop – is not negligible, especially if you have more than a few members of staff.
  • The time it takes to get these options up and running – set up, user configuration, training on use, etc.
  • Access to the expertise required – many businesses don’t have the inhouse IT expertise required, and getting hold of external consultants as lockdown happened, together with the physical challenges of consultants accessing home and office premises during lockdown, will have caused significant problems.
  • Companies that were not or could not be set up to work from home had to try to operate with significantly less staff in the office, rather than the full team being able to contribute remotely.

 

Taking stock, now that we are four or five months in, many of the customer support and other new enquiries we are receiving are from companies that just can’t afford to be caught out like this again, or need their systems (and their access to them) to be much more effective to enable them to adapt to a hybrid way of working and the ongoing fluidity of the COVID situation.

 

How to do this?

It helps to compare this experience to that of our customers – and indeed us at Eureka Solutions – that operated on true cloud-based systems prior to lockdown, specifically Oracle NetSuite. One of our NetSuite customers, whose industry was obviously hit as hard as any – Derby County Football Club – has had an experience characteristic of many others,

 

“Looking back, I cannot begin to think how we would have coped with the rapidly changing situation if we were not already using NetSuite. Both as a department and a wider business, we were given less than a day’s notice that we would be working from home for the foreseeable future. The cloud-based nature of NetSuite made this transition seamless.

 

Since late March, the finance department has been working remotely and continues to have real-time visibility of spend across the various facets of the Club. Basic day to day functions, such as accessing, processing and approving purchase invoices, are undertaken just as if we were in the office.

 

The current climate has required finance teams to be fluid in their response to the evolving pandemic and its effect on financial reporting, cost control and contingency planning. Fast, accurate reports, often entailing a range of scenarios, have been produced for departmental heads and the senior executive team, communicating an array of meaningful real-time data which has allowed the Club to be proactive rather than reactive to the ever-changing landscape. This has saved hours of effort performing what would have otherwise been manual and spreadsheet driven tasks.”

 

Todd Holt, Head of Finance, Derby County Football Club

 

Flexibility for the future

As we continue to move forward with 88% of businesses having made fundamental changes to their business model – and 50% planning to continue their new models past the crisis and beyond – true cloud-based systems give us the flexibility to do this and react accordingly to whatever is down the line. It does not take an international pandemic for systems to realise their value, it could be something as simple as reducing risk of dangerous travel during a bad winter if the flexibility of remote working and remote productivity is a given.

 

It is becoming what could be called ‘Office Independent’ – be this company-wide, across a team, or for individuals, as the requirement arises.

 

With over sixteen years of implementing business systems that achieve transformational results, Eureka Solutions is expert in moving business from on-premise or hybrid solutions to true cloud security, flexibility and visibility in a timely, value-driven manner.

 

Do get in touch if the above strikes a chord and you would like to discuss your systems strategy or arrange a quick NetSuite demonstration.