What if working remotely was exactly the same as working in the office?
Most businesses offer some form of work-from-home, at least on a temporary basis. The pandemic forced this trend on businesses that were not already allowing remote work.
There’s a big difference between “making it work” when it comes to remote teams and having systems and processes in place that actually are efficient, however.
The pandemic opened the eyes of employees and companies overall. A recent McKinsey study showed that58 percent of US employees (equivalent to 92 million people) said that they can and want to continue working remotely. The old paradigm with the centrality of the office is gone, and now remote teams are emerging as a durable component of the work landscape.
So if remote teams are here to stay, businesses must transform their ad-hoc and inefficient remote team workflows into something that approaches the efficiency of the office. The good news is that this is easier than businesses imagine.
Efficient Remote Teams Start with the CFO and a Full Cloud Backend
Remote team efficiency is about far more than Zoom calls. Fundamentally, it is about having all of a company’s data in the cloud so the office becomes wherever the employee is located. That means cloud ERP for all but the smallest business.
Without this crucial cloud-based backend infrastructure that cloud ERP provides, working with and transferring files and data back and forth becomes both a logistical nightmare and a security risk—especially when it comes to financial data and processes.
Why this is a CFO topic and not an IT issue is because this migration to cloud ERP is about more than tech. It is the digital transformation of a business, which means that it is as much about processes and a mindset shift as it is about tech. That makes the move to infrastructure that truly supports remote teams an issue for CFOs and the C-suite in general. Digital transformation is a whole-company process, led by management.
How Cloud ERP Makes Remote Teams Efficient
While cloud-based ERP brings many benefits to an organization, especially when it comes to financial management, one advantage of running on a cloud ERP is what it does for the efficiency of remote teams.
There are at least three areas where ERP helps with remote team efficiency.
1. Data Centrality (with Fine-Grained Permissions!)
ERP serves as the nerve-center for a business. It is a digital core that houses all of a company’s data and connects it selectively to the applications within each department.
When a business uses a cloud-based ERP system, that means the full range of data and processes used to conduct business is accessible to members of a remote team. Instead of selectively grabbing data and then feeding it back into the system later, or having workarounds when working outside of the office, remote team members work with the same data and applications they would use within a company’s office walls.
Everything is accessible, everything stays within the system at all times.
Equally important is that this data is shielded from unauthorized access. Unlike most remote team platforms, cloud ERP comes with fine-grained, role-based access so employees only can see and access the parts of the system they are authorized to see.
This is a crucial distinction. Cloud-based solutions often have some form of rights management. But when a business truly embraces remote teams, it needs the same level of access or restriction to data that it gets in more traditional office environments. An assistant should not be able to see payroll or dig too deep into financial tables, for instance. But this should be accessible for some employees, of course.
2. Complete Operational Visibility
Micromanaging remote employees and making them feel watched does not cultivate a healthy workplace environment, to say nothing of ethical considerations.
But CFOs and management at all levels do need visibility into remote team performance and daily activity. Knowing what remote employees are working on, and being able to easily check in on their work is foundational for performing the management function.
Cloud ERP greatly assists with this passive monitoring of remote team behavior because all actions and data are captured in the system. Without having to “check-in” with remote employees, management can easily see the work that is being performed and by whom at any time. The actual data also can be checked remotely.
This complete visibility often is what is missing from ad hoc remote teams. There might be a passive sense that an employee is working, and some signs of business activity periodically. But with cloud ERP, a CFO and management can get a full picture of what’s going on within the business in real-time—both the data itself and employee activity.
Further strengthening visibility is a range of custom and pre-built reports within cloud ERP that can be automatically generated, and both dashboards and alerts that further augment operational visibility.
3. Process Standardization
Standard operating procedures are important, as every CFO knows. But one challenge with remote teams is that these standard processes can break down in a work-from-home environment or not be followed at all as a result of temporary laziness or the lack of the right tools and applications.
Cloud ERP helps ensure that remote teams continue to follow standardized company processes because essentially each remote employee is taking the company with them when they work outside of the office. The same systems, the same data, the same workflows.
Further, cloud ERP keeps remote teams following standard processes by enforcing them. ERP is built around standardized processes, both best practices that come out of the box by default and by custom processes defined by management.
There’s no need to remind or monitor employees about the right way to perform a job function, because the system assumes and demands it.
This always is important, but process enforcement becomes crucial when employees are not all working in the same place and could very easily deviate from company processes without the guard rails enforced by cloud ERP.
Learn More About How Cloud ERP Can Help
ERP supports efficient remote teams, but it also does a lot more for a business. Learn more about ERP and its importance for CFOs by downloading our free guide, Understanding Cloud ERP for Non-IT Executives.