5 Technology Solutions to Help Increase Productivity During COVID-19
The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has made many companies realize that they are not prepared for their workforce to work remotely. Without capabilities for mobile work put in place, companies are forced to limit their operations or even shut down entirely. Fortunately, there are many technology solutions and tools that allow employees to collaborate with one another effectively and achieve their daily tasks, no matter where they are located. The following list outlines five technology tools that can help your workforce increase their productivity, ranging from solutions you can implement today to more long-range initiatives.
Microsoft Teams is a central hub for chat, meetings, and documents. It provides a productive way for employees to work from home and stay connected with each other. Within each team are custom channels that are centered on a particular department, project, or topic. Within the channel, employees can hold team conversations, plan meetings, and share files. This enables all collateral related to a topic to stay in one place and remain accessible to everyone involved. Microsoft Teams can be integrated with your other Microsoft products, including Dynamics 365, Office 365, and Power BI. The best news is that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft has made Microsoft Teams available to businesses for free for six months. If you’d like to take advantage of this limited offer, contact your Microsoft Partner today.
Office 365 offers the familiar suite of Microsoft Office applications that we rely on daily, including Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, to be accessible online. It also includes document storage tools such as SharePoint Online, OneDrive, and OneNote. All of the applications are connected to each other, enabling better collaboration, co-authoring features, and easier file sharing. One benefit of using Office 365 during a crisis is employees can continue to be productive at home without having Office installed on their home computers, as the applications are fully accessible through a web browser.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have been a mainstay of being able to access work resources from home for years. VPNs allow users to connect to their work network from home and access all of the applications and servers they need. However, this flexibility can come with a certain amount of security risk. To mitigate any potential risk, it is recommended to use two-factor authentication, which requires an additional level of security beyond a login and password. The second authentication factor is typically an app installed on a smartphone which requires approval before the VPN connection can be made. With these security features in place, two-factor authentication can prevent any unauthorized access to your company’s network.
Many companies use software systems that are hosted on servers either at their place of work or at a data center. To make these systems more accessible, they can be migrated from on premise servers to the cloud using Microsoft Azure. When systems are cloud hosted, they can be accessed at any location through a web browser, thus enabling your workers to always have access to the important software applications you rely on to run your business. Cloud hosting also guards against the potential risk of data loss posed by natural disasters that could impact the locations where your servers and infrastructure are kept. Other benefits associated with cloud hosting include the ability to easily scale IT resources and decreased costs and efforts associated with maintaining infrastructure.
Cloud ERP/CRM Applications
Many companies are stuck with old, legacy, on premise business application systems that cannot be easily accessed remotely. ERP and CRM systems are typically the lifeblood of a company’s operations, and if they become inaccessible, this could cause costly downtime. Moving those on-premise systems to the cloud is one viable option, as discussed above. However, the ultimate mobile solution is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). SaaS applications are fully mobile and available online from almost any device via the cloud. Rand Group supports and implements cloud-based ERP and CRM applications from the top three solution providers – Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP. A new ERP and/or CRM solution is not an overnight solution, but it is a good long-term strategy not only for increasing mobility but also for adding new capabilities that could help grow your business.
During this time of disruption, it is more important than ever for companies to be prepared for any event or risk that could significantly impact their operations. The software tools discussed above can significantly help businesses achieve greater workplace mobility and productivity during times of crisis, as well as benefit their long-term strategies. For more information about any of the solutions discussed, contact Rand Group today. We have been assisting clients with improving their operations through technology since 2003.
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