By Danielle Moore
Director, Channel Marketing, Archibus
The mass exodus from centralized workplaces caused by COVID-19 was an extreme shakeup for business operations. It set the stage for flex work by testing the limits of decentralized teams and remote workers. It also changed the way wedo business: the rise of video calls and virtual collaboration. As these practices become the new norm—even as businesses return to work—they offer an important lesson about readiness and the role cloud technology plays.
Behind the scenes, a cloud infrastructure is the unsung hero supporting these changes. If the pandemic showed us anything, it has never been more important for businesses and the people who run them to make an investment in sustainable, cloud-based tools.
What kind of cloud-based tools?
The cloud is much more than a buzzword. Today, just about any digital tool a business might need comes with some connection to the cloud. The cloud offers security, reliability, accessibility, and integration capabilities. They give businesses the means to nimbly adapt to business changes.
- Space management tools show a real-time picture of space allocation and utilization.
- Maintenance tools generate work orders automatically based on specific needs.
- Fintech platforms connect business operations with revenue streams to show viability.
- Communication tools bring a high level of transparency and interaction to businesses.
- Asset management tools enable proactive insights and promote maximum asset ROI.
These tools and dozens of others like them are what enabled businesses to pivot during COVID-19. And, because they’re cloud-based systems, they function the same for every person, across distributed teams and locations.They’re useful no matter where you are.
Not only were cloud-based tools the key to getting everyone back on track under new circumstances,but they are also key in streamlining new processes and protocols.As work continues to evolve, cloud tools are powering this evolution.
How to create new efficiencies
The many features of cloud-based tools have been key in creating efficiency out of chaos. The simplest, most evident example is in the shift to remote work. Instead of shutting down, workplaces went digital. Businesses took the many processes and practices of the workplace and digitized them. Desks, conference rooms, and the general workplace became secondary to their functions—which now live in the cloud.
Jordan doesn’t go to work anymore. He saves his commute time by working in his home office.He logs into his CMMS to seethe schedule of which crafts person will be onsite to complete routine maintenance on the HVAC system on the HQ building. Once the job is done, he receives a notification and can report to the team via a Zoom call.Then, before his day ends, he delivers assets through a cloud repository before marketing his tasks complete.
This new mock workday takes place in one place. Or it could take place anywhere. The setting isn’t important—the cloud-based tools that make it possible are the important factor. This employee, and millions of others, can create their own work experience that is still uniform to the company based on the cloud-based tools they use.
Removing the physical workplace creates opportunities for efficiency across operations. For employees, it is as simple as time saved by not driving to work or the ability to catch a cat nap after lunch and revitalize their brains for the afternoon. For businesses, everything from meetings to collaboration becomes more efficient because it is all virtual.
Cloud-based systems leverage their reliability, accessibility, and integrations into efficiencies,whether naturally or through data that yields insight into improvements: 77% of corporate real estate professionals agree that it is this data that is key in cost-saving efficiency improvements.
Measure efficiencies and make improvements
Efficiency improvements aren’t a one-and-done endeavor. Cloud-based systems make them ongoing, and their potential exponential.
Businesses need to think of cloud-based systems as “always on.” They’re always collecting and generating data and aggregating it into analytical insights. For example, a cloud system can use data from communication channels or project management logs to highlight the most productive time of day for your team. You might choose to schedule virtual meetings around that time for maximum productivity. This example and others like it represent the power of cloud systems to streamline businesses as they evolve.
It is also vital to use cloud data to set the standard for your teams and operations. For example, if you’re maintaining a flex workspace, get employees into the habit of using cloud-booking software. It doesn’t matter when they decide to work in-office; what matters is that they have a seat and that their decision is part of a managed system. They’ll have a desk and facility managers will have the insights and trend data they need to coordinate a flex work environment that’s always changing.
Data generation is part of what makes cloud systems so practical. And the ability of companies to link those many data generating systems together in the cloud is key to reimagining the workplace as an efficient digital construct.
Cloud-based tools will outlive COVID-19
Many businesses hesitated to make investments at the outset of the pandemic. Who knew how long it would last? Then, as it became clear businesses were in for protracted challenges, there was a rush to adapt. It’s important not to make the same mistake when it comes to an investment in cloud-based tools.
Cloud-enabled business tools aren’t just a solution for COVID-19 work challenges—they’re the gateway to more efficient operations in the future. The pandemic is merely a use case. Digital business technologies like IWMS, CAFM, CMMS, and digital twins have innumerable uses beyond managing the chaos of the pandemic. Moreover, their ability to create order and efficiency in the middle of chaos and uncertainty are proof enough of their ROI as a long-term investment.
The pandemic is finally coming closer to an end. The cloud-based tools and systems businesses used to get through it are only just beginning to make their value apparent.