As the Remote-Work Revolution Surges, Can Your ERP System Keep Up?

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While one of the primary functions of modern ERP systems is to help your company anticipate changes and react accordingly, it would have been impossible for any person or application to have predicted the scale and scope of the Remote Work Revolution we’re in today.

While many companies have been able to continue functioning in fairly typical ways during the pandemic and related shutdown, many tens of millions of people in the US and hundreds of millions around the globe now regard remote work as completely normal.

And many of those people are deeply uncomfortable with the notion of breaking away from that new normal. Concerns about safety, health, commutes, and untested and novel workspaces will no doubt extend the “normalcy” of remote work for many months to come.

While that’s all understandable, businesses that have gotten or will soon get the green light to reopen are grappling with the best ways to handle all this change and uncertainty across their workforces.

Many businesses have been able to meet the technological challenges of setting up their people to work from home (WFH), but for some those employees, while WFH has been a great short-term fix, it’s simply not sustainable for the long term.

And on the other hand, plenty of employees are telling their companies that they want to make remote work a permanent fixture, and that they have no intention of going back to the office except for occasional meetings.

So the big question is this: amid all this uncertainty and upheaval, and with workforces being split with some based in the office/factory/warehouse and some based at home, how do businesses like yours manage your teams in ways that work well for both your business and your people?

One of the best ways is using modern ERP systems whose HR modules can be configured to meet your specific needs and that offer the flexibility you’ll need to navigate some fast-changing and occasionally turbulent waters. To help you figure out the best way forward, here are some questions and some context to help you map out a plan.

  1. While Zoom®, Teams®, and Google® meetings have all become part of our everyday work lives as well as our personal lives, how can companies make remote work a sustainable element of their business without diminishing their ability to innovate rapidly, execute on the fly, and deliver on or ahead of customer expectations?
  2. These decisions will affect leaders and managers from the CEO to the heads of HR, finance, inventory, manufacturing, sales, shipping, customer support, and more. So, you’ve got to have a system that can capture and manage various plans and expectations. How do you gain the end-to-end visibility required to address all of those different perspectives and priorities?
  3. What are the big questions your employees have? What are their concerns? What are they most excited about? What are they most worried about? How much of that is caused by WFH, and how much of it can be fixed by WFH? Modern ERP systems have the capabilities to help you field these questions, gather employee feedback, and track and analyze input on a regular basis.
  4. On the customer side, how are your customers feeling about your reconfigured operations, including WFH? Have they shared feedback on what’s actually improved, as well as what needs to be addressed? Many HR applications offer no visibility into customer perspectives—be sure you choose an ERP system that can give you that must-have transparency.
  5. More broadly, how have your customers’ expectations changed? In light of those shifts, is WFH a viable and attractive option for your company going forward so that you can meet the needs of those customers? Modern ERP systems with customer-experience features can help you manage this complex task.
  6. Without question, your company will have to learn to change and adapt rapidly and frequently. What positive new ways of working in a WFH environment have your teams developed during the crisis? Are those sustainable? And if so, how can they be enhanced and woven into ongoing operations when things get back toward normal?

While no application could have predicted the COVID-19 crisis, a flexible, modern, and configurable ERP system can help you manage the repercussions of the crisis and optimize your chances for coming out stronger than ever before.

ECI Staff Contributors

About the Author

ECI Staff Contributors love to share their insights and expertise on a variety of topics including sales, marketing, cloud, ERP, and SMB development as well as on product specific education. With offices throughout the United States, Mexico, England, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand, more than 40 employees contribute to blog on a regular basis.