Why hasn't your business got its head in the cloud?
You'd be surprised how many businesses haven't embraced it yet. Jenny Holt tells us how to transition to cloud computing technology.
Cloud storage can improve business operations ranging from sales and marketing through to C-suite decision making. Yes, this also includes HR and L&D.
Implementation of cloud computing will also reduce costs. At the very least it improves information sharing and communication across verticals, between offices and departments, and between in-the-field staff/representatives, and on-site staff.
Furthermore, the cloud can provide a new layer of metrics for management to track and rate staff, and allow for more remote workforces as well as the consolidation of operations. Is the cloud really that impressive? How does a business transition into the technology?
The basic business applications of cloud technology
Original computing takes place within each device as a separate unit. However, cloud options are hosted by several companies with their own unique selling points. The basic application for businesses is sharing information, connecting diverse and spread out teams and backing up information in a secure location in case the worst happens.
It is estimated that billions of pounds are being lost by companies because vertical communication systems are not working: people are not communicating effectively because management are not explaining new employees’ jobs correctly.
Information sharing and inter- and intra-team communication
The key benefit of cloud computing for businesses of all sizes is communication and information sharing. It is estimated that billions of pounds are being lost by companies because vertical communication systems are not working: people within - and between - offices/departments are not communicating effectively because management are not explaining new employees’ jobs correctly.
That’s a lot to go wrong. Cloud storage and communication platforms allow for more effective sharing of information. Instead of filing requests, emailing or phoning people, waiting for the chain of command, and so on, it is possible to pluck the information from the correct place as soon as it is uploaded.
This is vital, for example, if a field representative posts a photo which the sales team can action immediately, or if one department finishes artwork which another needs to turn into an advert.
How cloud computing affects HR and L&D
Both HR and L&D depend on information sharing and metrics. Let’s take information sharing first. HR executives in different locations can share information about potential and existing employees without having to email, fax, or phone. Files can be picked up, edited and saved in a single location.
The same goes for metrics, which the whole HR team can follow for when time comes to discuss benefits, compensation, and bonuses.
For L&D, a single location for all new learning resources means a new employee just needs to be given access to that file rather than having to print material out, email it, check the email has been received, and downloaded.
Real time information sharing allows applicants to be tested online before interview. The use of online platforms means that those with poor interview skills can still prove their worth.
The primary beneficiaries of this are those with Asperger’s and Autism, who often prove to be more dedicated and effective employees across a spectrum of roles and industries, but who struggle at face to face interviews.
Transitioning your business into post-cloud operations
The two most important requirements for making this transition for any business is picking the correct cloud solution and training staff. The former means you can exploit platforms to improve business performance while reducing costs, and the latter means employees buy into the idea and make it function.
Stage two is transitioning those employees who can use the platforms to do so, starting with sharing information and saving it to the cloud. It is possible to work out who should have access to which folders and files, though many accounts will be required.
It is essential to have files well organised or it can be chaotic. This in turn will free up some employees to work remotely rather than within the office environment. This benefits a wide range of functions, and can improve performance as remote workers tend to be more engaged than their in-office colleagues.
As this process develops, trends will become noticeable and plans can then be made to consolidate physical locations and offices or to downsize to cheaper sites.
About the author
Jenny Holt is a freelance writer.
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