Any SME still relying on a paper-based business management or compliance model has likely considered operating more efficiently and effectively in the cloud. Yet it can feel daunting to devote precious time and resources to making the big switch.
For inspiration, we’ve outlined eight major advantages of cloud-based systems over paper-based systems.
1. Streamlined processes
Whereas paper-based systems are often cumbersome or confusing to navigate, automating previously manual processes and workflows using the cloud can streamline just about every element of your operation from reporting in the field to submitting tenders and conducting audits for certification. In turn, streamlining leads to increased efficiency and productivity.
2. Time savings
A central hub of information built in the cloud can also save your business valuable time on small yet important activities such as writing documentation and updating employment records. In addition, new employees are able to digitally access all the information they need about the organisation for faster induction and training.
3. Document control
Paperless systems allow your business to remotely manage a wide array of data and documents in a way paper-based systems struggle to support. Rather than constantly swimming in a sea of paper, team members can reliably find, use and update documents from any digital device, as well as view which reports are currently being accessed by colleagues.
4. Real-time insights
The ability to manage workflows, monitor activities, view reports and analyse data in ‘real-time’ is hugely beneficial for any SME. An electronic business management and compliance system ensures key information and insights are available in the cloud throughout a project, not just at the post-project review stage. Clients will welcome access to reporting in real time without creating additional workload for staff in manually cutting and pasting reports.
5. Informed decision making
Paper-based business systems tend to add complexity to the decision-making process because critical information is not always easily accessible or clearly presented. A cloud-based integrated management system (IMS), on the other hand, removes the guesswork and replaces it with guidelines, policies, procedures and insights to better inform your business strategies and speed up decision making.
6. Adapting to changes
If your business is looking to continuously improve and adapt quickly to changes both internally and to the wider industry, a poorly organised paper-based system could unfortunately hold you back. With a cloud-based IMS, flexibility comes to the fore. You’ll be able to customise documents and procedures rapidly as needed without losing focus on your core objectives.
7. Reduced errors and duplication
Like many outdated manual processes, relying on paper-based management systems can inadvertently cause human error and duplication. By managing your business and compliance systems as an integrated management system via the cloud, costly mistakes can be dramatically reduced or eliminated entirely. Because the cloud IMS acts as a “single source of truth”, it also guarantees zero wasted effort on duplication.
8. Employee accountability
Tracking the performance and activities of staff working in the field can be challenging without the support of a cloud platform. Going paperless is an excellent way to increase employee accountability and keep up-to-date records of what your human assets are doing.