It’s been nearly 12 months since the majority of offices across Europe were asked to close, forcing businesses to implement entirely new processes and technologies – almost overnight, to ensure business could continue as normal
As many begin planning their gradual return to the workplace, Rob Harrison, head of development at ECI Software Solutions explores how the implementation of cloud-based technologies has paved the way for more efficient and streamlined ways of working.
Operating across a number of disconnected platforms has long limited efficiency and profitability but, thanks to COVID-19, digital adoption has significantly accelerated across almost every industry. Previously, without an immediate need to invest in new technology, it was easy to stick with a system that worked and paper over the cracks.
For office suppliers, outdated processes and disconnected systems were predicted to make the transition to remote working far more difficult. Without a central system, teams would be forced to duplicate documents, increasing the chance of mistakes, wasting time and ultimately, resulting in poor business decisions.
Now, cloud-based technology provides a 360° view of operations for many businesses, enabling them to quickly generate reports and track the profitability of each customer, product contract or even employee – ensuring proactive and sensible decision-making, no matter the circumstances.
For some businesses reliant on on-site servers or even paper-based filing systems, the implementation of cloud-based technology at the height of the pandemic opened up new possibilities enabling many teams to work more flexibly. This is a trend which many believe will continue far beyond the last lockdown.
With cloud-based solutions, such as the ECI Horizon software, you can manage and track all your business processes from one easy-to-use platform. Whole teams can easily access live data and key information, ensuring staff remain connected and fully in the loop – despite potentially working miles apart.
At ECI, we’ve seen many of the leading office stationery and furniture suppliers in the UK grow more reliant on cloud-based technologies through the pandemic, not only to facilitate continuity of service, but also to help better manage their daily processes such as sales, contracts, stock, purchasing and accounting.
Less upfront expense
Over the next year we expect profit margins to be tighter with businesses looking to cut back on unnecessary expenses wherever possible. Staying on top of IT upgrades has always been a challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises, especially ones with limited or part-time IT support.
However, a lapsed system or program can cause significant disruption for your team and potentially hinder their ability to effectively undertake many day-to-day tasks. With cloud-based systems there’s no hardware to update, with software upgrades happening automatically – ensuring your team can continue focusing on value-add activities and generating revenue.
Similarly, brand integrity is likely to become even more of a priority for office suppliers during what is expected to be an economically challenging year.
With a cloud-based solution, you can gain real-time inventory control, that you can manage from all your locations, supporting multiple suppliers. A business able to consistently stock the right products, at the right price, at the right time will gain the competitive advantage.
As the past 12 months have demonstrated, cloud-based ERP systems offer an array of benefits, not only are they cheap to run, they can also offer significant financial insight, allowing you to analyse where every penny is spent, how resources are allocated and ensuring your team stays ahead of competition.
To find out more about ECI Horizon, or book a demo, visit the website.