Three technology steps to take now to win the business restart

by Ian Campbell April 23, 2020

It’s been a tough few weeks. Employee productivity is down and CEOs have scrambled to cut costs and stabilize cash flow.  The velocity of money may have slowed, but one thing is certain: business, and the relentless race that it is, will restart.  Now, with offices, stores, and factory lines dark, is the time to get ready for that restart.  

Let’s face it, government largess comes at a steep price and costs are going up. Real estate, income, and sales taxes will increase as will employee taxes. Unemployment insurance coffers need to be replenished, so expect increased overhead costs per employee. Of course, raw material costs will increase as your suppliers face the same challenges.

Companies can get an edge at the restart by taking three technology steps now to cut costs and increase worker productivity.

Step 1: Look at Human Capital Management solutions to better manage people. If you haven’t deployed the latest HCM technology then now is the time to get moving.  You’ll need to screen and onboard new employees, manage their career paths, and optimize scheduling.  Your company may be quiet now, but if you want those seats full of diners, or those office desks humming, be ready to quickly select the right employees and effectively manage them. Dump that old time and attendance system and look at the latest functionality offered from companies such as Reflexis, Ceridian, and Ultimate.  

Step 2: Cut technology costs by moving to the cloud.  Take a hard look at your custom applications running in your data center and question why you haven’t moved them to Microsoft Azure or Amazon AWS.  You could be testing, redeploying, and cutting your infrastructure costs now.  Not ready to make the big jump and turn off your data center?  Give your friendly IBM sales rep a call and ask about Hybrid Cloud.  IBM is finally under new management and they understand both business and the cloud.  Oh, and for the last few holdouts with their own phone system, make the move to a managed VoIP solution that can support remote workers and integrate with other applications.  

Step 3: Rethink your Customer Relationship Management solution. Most organizations deployed a CRM solution years ago and haven’t taken a critical look since.  We still see fantastic ROI numbers from CRM deployments, but we also see mismatches where companies have deployed solutions that turned out to be either too complex or not functional enough.  At a minimum, sales, marketing, and customer service should be integrated in your CRM system.  If they aren’t, you have a problem.  More importantly, the CRM system should be easy and intuitive to use. If your sales reps don’t love it, then you need to rethink your decision.  Salesforce has been around for two decades and is the leader in the space for good reason, but solutions from companies like Infor and Zoho offer attractive alternatives with attractive prices.  

When the business restarts, and it will, the steps you take now will make the difference between winning and losing.