When Technology Brings People Together

May 11 2020

 

We all get jaded by catch-phrases like technology-as-an-enabler. But sometimes “it’s a cliché because it’s true”. Recently we have seen some striking examples in our own business and in our customers’ of the positive impact of technology.

In our business

Without question, technology has enabled us to keep sane, keep together and keep doing business during recent times. Here is why – last year our company implemented Microsoft 365, central to which is Microsoft Teams. We made sure that it was implemented wisely so that it drove good business practice, and pre-covid we were already happy with the results.

When the pandemic hit, and people around the globe were forced to find quick ways to work from home we saw benefits that we would not necessarily have predicted in having the right technology implemented in the right way.

Didn’t lose a beat – Firstly, we didn’t miss a beat in terms of continuing business as usual on a day-to-day basis. No ramp-up, no up-skilling in virtual technology.

We grew even closer – We are already a quite tightly aligned team, but via a variety of means I think we actually grew closer. We had daily opportunities for virtual “Coffee Machine Catchups” as well as Weekly COVID-19 response meetings which were attended by all, and relied on the increased use of chats for check ins with each-other’s welfare.

Engagement in the business response – From the outset of the pandemic, we were able to keep everyone up-to-date with our response to the pandemic via a regularly updated info wiki, and enabled continuous team communication about that response.

Unified approach to helping customers – Our customer base had a very diverse experience during this crisis. Some of our Food & Beverage customers were challenged by unprecedented spikes in demand, whilst some of our retail customers needed to pivot quickly to respond to the closure of stores. Our position was that we wanted to lean in and help our customers in any way we could, and our communication technology ensured we were all engaged in this approach and that we could quickly find ways in our internal community to support them.

Instant, community-based internal support – If people hit obstacles, they could throw out questions to the relevant community (we have different product and function-based community), to get community solutions.

The result was that globally, we have marched as a team through this crisis, and are the better for it.

How our customers were able to pivot and respond

In terms of what we have seen at customers, it goes without saying that most had challenges brought on by the crisis. But again, technology was a differentiator. Regardless of whether they had an upswing or downturn in demand as a result of the crisis, those companies who were able to pivot the quickest were the ones who had the right technology – and those with a cloud-based technology fared best.

Redeploying job roles – as Daniel Watson, our IT expert recently mentioned (link to Daniels’ article), one retail customer he worked with was able to quickly redeploy store staff to become online service providers. Because their instore technology was fully integrated with online, it was a seamless transition, and because they had SaaS office technology they were able to work-from-home without hesitation.

 Business continuity – Likewise we witnessed that our customers with cloud-based ERP implementations were in a strong business continuity position. In fact, one of our customers who is on Infor’s Multi Tenant cloud, was scheduled to roll out at the time of the major lock-down in NZ. In spite of the challenges of managing unpredictable customer demand, and transitioning their key staff to work from home,  the planned implementation rolled out with no slip to their tightly scheduled timeline with no hitches.

At our business, we are grateful every day that we have been able to keep going through these challenging times, and to help our customers where we can.  Could we have done this as well without the right technology implemented properly – it’s doubtful.

We are doing our best to help our customers navigate this time. If you think we might be able to help you then please do let us know – we are happy to help.

 

We write about Infor technology, ERP & Cloud news plus host the occasional Webinar.

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