Women In Business

Not an IT girl? Cloud is the answer for easy digital streamlining

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Even the most efficient organisations suffer from internal processes that are clunky, difficult to change, and are often paper or spreadsheet based.

Before the cloud (the BC era), companies could solve these inefficiencies with bespoke software systems that were costly and required significant effort and additional cost to configure and install. However, with the advent of cloud based business platforms that is all about to change.

Small & medium business can now digitise

Business software built in the cloud assumes that little or no technical skill or intervention is required. Built to be accessed from any browser, these new applications are designed for small and medium businesses to configure and operate with minimum training. Moreover, the software is continuously being improved to reflect the ever-accelerating rate of change in today’s business environment.

During my work with various businesses, large and small, I am starting to see an uptake of such systems as many companies look to work in their own “digital workplace”.

Streamlining holiday and absence planning

Something that on the surface looks simple to streamline is the process of booking holidays, however when you get into the nitty gritty of managing calendars, employees, holiday entitlements and the often-convoluted workflow of authorisation it can all become very messy!   Cloud based applications are designed to consider these variables and provide a slick, easy to use interface for anyone to shape to suit their own business. Designing a workflow that automates the process of authorisation, can be as simple as dragging and dropping or using a built-in organisation chart to set up the sign-off hierarchy, in a cloud based system.

Digitising all paper based internal processes

Many other internal processes are built around forms which must be completed and sent around an organisation with a variety of complicated actions or authorisations. Once again, cloud digital workplace platforms are ready to assist. Electronic forms are available in a multitude of templates, on screen help is on hand to design a form that may include required fields, calculated tables or “select from a list” functionality.  A workflow process can be designed graphically on the screen and decision points can be set up where, depending on the form content, certain actions can be taken.

Digitise across multi-site or to a mobile workforce

If your organisation is multi-site or includes work from home or mobile employees then the cloud’s abilities to provide one single business platform will include any user working from any device, namely PC’s, tablets or mobile phones.

Cost effective for any size of business

The cost to deploy and run these systems have reduced significantly.  No hardware infrastructure is required and in most cases, no IT consultancy is needed to install and configure them. Often the only cost is a small monthly or annual subscription based on the number of users. You are effectively renting it with the added benefit that it gets better every month as the supplier issues new functionality.

The cloud can provide – have a good look around

Any size business can now benefit from digital processes that were once the preserve of large organisations. More and more applications are coming on the market, from those that just automate one process to all-in-one platforms that can make a business run in a more complete digital environment.  Take a good look out there and see which one can make a difference to your organisation.

About David Pinches

David Pinches is Marketing Director at cloud intranet provider Oak . He has over 30 years’ experience in the business software industry serving business clients large and small. David blogs regularly on business apps in the cloud at www.oak.com/knowledge

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