Preparing for the unexpected: The business tools you need to stay agile

Investment in cloud, automation and digital transformation is more essential than ever before.

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Cloud will be more crucial for our future workspaces as we move away from traditional models. Download Canon’s eBook to learn how to harness the cloud in tomorrow’s workspace.

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Invest in the cloud

Cloud computing is not a new phenomenon. It was firmly established in the business world prior the pandemic, with many businesses having already started a cloud transformation journey. However, with a potentially distributed workforce expected to become ‘the new normal’, businesses have looked for ways to maintain collaboration within teams facing a mixture of both on premise and remote working set ups.

By adopting more cloud-based workflows and processes, businesses will be able to boost flexibility and agility, while lowering fixed operating costs. This provides businesses a strong base to enable a variety of different workplace scenarios, without having to make significant, expensive changes to their IT setup as their needs continue to change. Many organisations already understand how important cloud will be, with 47%2 of planning to increase their cloud usage in light of the crisis, establishing it as crucial backbone in preserving agility, collaboration and efficiency.

Invest in the cloud

Accelerate digital transformation

Digital transformation has remained a top priority for every business over the last decade. In fact, in 2019 it was already estimated that it could account for nearly 20% of IT spending3. However, for many organisations, their evolution towards the digital workplace has been a fairly slow and steady progression, with teams falling back on traditional habits – for example storing paperwork in on-site filing systems. Recent disruptions have expedited the digitisation process, forcing many organisations to adapt instantly to supporting work outside of the physical office. In turn, employees have had to make new habits too, learning to perform their role through digital channels only.

For businesses, this process – while perhaps not started on their own terms – will be an important long-term investment. Deploying business applications, backbone systems, and infrastructure online, supports a greater shift of customers and suppliers to online channels. In order to stay one step ahead, companies should continue to review how they can build robust remote working conditions, building sophisticated, stable, and secure capability at scale.

Automate business processes

Businesses need to be mindful that an increase in remote working also typically correlates with a series of other challenges. For example, without being able to simply tap a colleague on the shoulder at their desk, it might take longer to check in on their progress on an activity. Delays like this can accumulate, causing late processes and inefficient workflows. Remote working, and the drive for enhanced efficiency, could therefore drive the business case for automation. Augmenting business processes with automation types, such as Robotic Process Automation, helps speed up time consuming workflows and relieve employees from admin.

Introducing more automation also helps a business become more agile. Bill Gates once said, “Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent.” Organisations cannot move this quickly if deploying new capabilities or testing new strategies relies solely on employees learning new ways of working from scratch. If processes are partially automated, they can be introduced and adapted much faster.

To survive in an unpredictable environment, organisations need to build a business model which helps them stay agile. Central to this is moving from traditional, manual ways of working to digital and automated processes. Despite limited budgets and uncertain outlooks, companies should be looking to introduce these technologies as well as to switching to a more cloud-first strategy. Opting to have services delivered via cloud platforms will enable every business to adapt strategies which are no longer working and seize new opportunities as they arise.

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