Cloud-based software is rapidly emerging as a driving force in the small to medium business landscape.
The uptake of cloud software has been growing year-on-year. By the end of 2021 it’s expected it will process 94% of workloads – and it doesn’t take much digging to figure out why so many businesses are making the move to the cloud.
After adopting cloud services, 78% of users reported improvements in productivity. In Australia, this is the equivalent of a cumulative $9.4 billion productivity benefit to the economy in the last five years.
In the years ahead, global prospects for the cloud computing industry are even more astronomical. As we’ve seen capabilities improve, the appeal of getting on board with this technology has followed suit and skyrocketed. It’s predicted that by 2023, the global cloud computing market will be worth $623.3 billion.
While the cloud could revolutionise the way your business operates and offers real, measurable benefits, change can be intimidating. If there’s some hesitancy, there are steps you can take to get your team on board and excited about what’s to come.
Why cloud-based systems?
If your business is still using traditional paper-based systems, you could be getting slowed down by unnecessarily clunky and inefficient company processes. Many of the compliance requirements for ISO standards, for example, can be managed more efficiently in the cloud than in documents or spreadsheets. The ability to automate workflow and notifications and get real time data into your system via online forms can save many hours of data entry and avoid potential errors.
A suitable cloud software solution can be great for improving staff productivity across your organisation as well. It’s fast and accurate, and allows you to automate processes with ease. This means your employees can spend less time on burdensome tasks and more time on challenging work that will have more of a positive impact on your company.
With many staff working remotely, the obvious advantage of cloud is the ability to share information easily where access to a physical server is much more difficult. Many companies saw the importance of this firsthand when the pandemic started to intensify last year, and required a quick response. Those with all of their data and documentation stored in the cloud could seamlessly make sure staff had access to everything they needed to work from home, which made all the difference at an already stressful time.
Ensuring there is only a single source of truth for key company documents is also very important to ensure the right versions are being used. This is easily accomplished where cloud permissions ensure only the approved version of a document is available to the team.
As your business changes over time, whether you’re scaling up or down, your cloud software needs to be able to change with you. When choosing a solution, ensure that the software is easy enough for your internal team to use, otherwise a lot of expense can be caused by the need of constant IT support.
Understanding (and overcoming) resistance to change
Introducing a new approach to managing day-to-day work in your office will require some adjustments and could naturally receive some pushback, but the benefits that come with cloud-based systems are well worth sticking it out for.
In many ways, once they’re set up, cloud-based systems will actually make your employee’s lives easier.
If you are expecting some resistance to change in your workplace, it’s important to first understand the reasons why this may come up. That way, you can put a plan in place to support staff through this uncertainty.
1. Employees don’t understand why the change is being made and how it will impact them
While you’ve had time to research transitioning to the cloud and feel confident in your decision, staff won’t necessarily see where you’re coming from right away.
The shift to cloud software could require some additional effort from them, and if they’re accustomed to the usual way of doing things, adjusting to the new systems could feel overwhelming – especially if they don’t fully understand why things are changing in the first place.
This is why clear communication every step of the way is essential. You’ll need to speak with staff about why you’re moving to the cloud, how things will change at a company and individual level and their role in the change to calm any uncertainty.
Even after covering all of this, your employees may have some questions about the change and what exactly it means for them. By taking the time to address any queries right away, you can make sure staff feel like they’re a part of the change, and bring clarity to what’s ahead.
2. Fear of the unknown
While cloud software can streamline processes, it may also give some staff the impression that because of this, they won’t still have a job at your company. With there being less administrative work required, as much of this can be automated, the span of their role could become narrower. This could cause job insecurity, which would make staff far more inclined to pushback on the change, because of the fear they will quite literally be put out of work.
If communication from management isn’t clear, employees could also worry that they will be expected to take on more work than what they can feasibly manage during the transition to the cloud. This is where you need to make a clear, realistic plan for making changes, and of course share this with staff, so they know they’re not going to be scrambling to get things done and overwhelmed with work.
The fear of the unknown can be prominent in times of change. The most important thing to do is to make sure staff know they’ll be supported every step of the way, and that they can come to you if there are any issues.
3. Connected to the ‘old way’ of doing business
Have any members of your staff used paper-based approaches for their entire career? If this is the case, the prospect of changing what they know to be familiar and what’s worked for them all this time could be met with resistance.
Adapting to a new way of doing things takes time and energy. Your employees will need to learn how to use cloud-based systems, and not everyone is confident with technology.
While this can make some staff nervous, it again comes back to making sure they are kept in the loop regarding what’s happening and why it’s happening. They also need to know they’ll receive any required training, which can make the move less daunting for those that aren’t particularly confident with technology.
Managing common pain points of cloud software
Cloud software can bring a world of opportunity to your business, but there are some aspects that have the potential to pose challenges or cause uncertainty.
By narrowing down which pain points could apply to your workplace, you can work to proactively manage them, which will ultimately help you and your team start to enjoy the benefits of cloud software sooner.
1. Data security
When your data is stored in the cloud, you can’t see the exact, physical location of where it’s being stored, which some people can find unsettling. These feelings are only exacerbated when the data is highly confidential and/or sensitive.
This is why it’s important to do your research, weigh up your options and find a cloud provider that’s well trusted – before moving forward with your transition to the cloud. By taking suitable precautions, you can be confident that your chosen provider has your best interest in mind and will take all of the applicable measures to keep your data secure.
2. Cost management
Inevitably, there are certain costs involved in moving to the cloud. While this initial investment can be off-putting, cloud software can actually save your business money in the long run by alleviating inefficiencies and improving productivity.
At the end of the day, it’s an investment in the long-term effectiveness of your business’ systems.
But there are still options available to make the cost of cloud-based systems more manageable for organisations concerned about price. Cloud software is scalable, and companies can also opt to ‘pay-as-they-go’ with some models. The benefit of this is that you only pay for what you’re using at a given point in time, but you can also choose to spread out payments, rather than taking the hit all at once.
3. Lack of resources and in-house expertise
When no one in your organisation has experience with or an understanding of cloud-based systems, it can feel like you’re taking on this project blind. How can you make the adoption process as simple and seamless as possible, when you don’t really know what you’re doing?
For many organisations in this position, the obvious choice is to outsource help from a professional consultant that has worked with plenty of businesses like yours to implement cloud software.
They take on the responsibility of leading the project to success, and because of their prior experience, they understand the common challenges faced by those in your position. With knowledge and expertise in the area, they can help you make the switch quickly and effectively.
This also shows employees that you’re serious about making the change, and that you’re doing all that you can to make this transition process as seamless for them as possible.
Speak with our compliance software consultants
For more information on cloud-based systems or if this article has brought up any queries, get in touch with our team of ISO consultants.