Laura May is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine. We write about beauty, fashion, lifestyle, relationships, travel and trends.
We never anticipate spur-of-the-moment upheavals in our daily lives. We’ll drum up nightmare scenarios for fiction, of course — but when we look ahead and envision confusing real-world change, we see gradual shifts involving careful deliberation. In other words, controlled chaos. So when an outbreak that we hoped would amount to nothing suddenly reached the point of justifying a global lockdown, it felt surreal. Life had changed immensely in the blink of an eye.
Our personal lives were hugely affected, of course, but the impact on our professional lives was substantially broader. Businesses everywhere had to abandon their offices overnight and move to remote working. Most weren’t even close to being ready for that. They were firmly in the office groove, used to relying on in-person meetings and deliberations.
Skip ahead over half a year, though, and you’ll notice something interesting: plenty of those businesses are still going. The pandemic has forced far too many companies to mothball their operations, but it largely comes down to reduced interest and the near-elimination of foot traffic. Most companies that didn’t rely entirely on in-person custom were able to adapt and survive.
How did they manage this? Well, had a comparable pandemic struck the world just a decade ago, things might have been very different — and it’s all due to the prevalence and potency of cloud technology. Here’s how it’s helping businesses deal with this strange new world:
It’s making remote working widely accessible
While it’s true that some businesses were essentially ready to start working remotely regardless of cloud technology, that route presents some major obstacles. Most notably, it demands potent (and comparatively expensive) computer hardware: high-level business laptops with the storage and processing power to endure the stresses of modern business.
And in the event that a company has nothing but low-level demands, never needing its workers to do anything more than process some documents and exchange some emails, there’s still an issue: technological consistency. Everyone needs to be using the same tools and processes, and when employees must use their personal computers to get their work done (not having business laptops), it inevitably leads to a lot of confusion and compatibility issues.
Cloud technology allows the same programs and processes to be accessed from any and all online devices, and even a company with minimal IT awareness can get everything figured out (particularly if it sources everything through a cloud solution distributor like intY). With the processing done in the cloud, it doesn’t matter so much if someone has a lightning-quick computer or a sluggish machine from 2010. They can still get things done.
It’s bolstering automation to mitigate HR problems
There’s no avoiding HR issues in this scenario, unfortunately. Over time, the likelihood of any given company having to deal with one or more of its employees suffering from COVID-19 is reasonably high, and this can cause some major problems. And then there’s the fact that diminished profits have led to a lot of people being fired or furloughed. Where those companies have survived, they’ve had to contend with some serious deficits in their capabilities.
Through making automation much easier to understand and use, today’s cloud technology is making a huge difference in covering any HR shortcomings that arise. Empowered by strong integrations between software suites (and tools like Zapier), repetitive tasks can be automated so available workers can put all their energy towards the tasks that matter the most.
It’s vastly reducing operational costs
Maintaining a physical office is expensive and it always has been, yet businesses have justified it in two ways. Firstly, it allows employees to work more productively by keeping them together. Secondly, it indicates success and makes it easier to hold client meetings and publicity drives. Huge brands will have enormous office buildings because it demonstrates their sheer power.
When companies were forced out of their offices, though, they no longer needed to worry about those things — and that ultimately proved extremely helpful, because the global economic downturn stemming from the pandemic massively stressed corporate finances everywhere. As soon as they could stop paying rent for the spaces and buildings they weren’t using, companies could save a lot of money, and only need to put some of it towards cloud technology.
Renting a room and installing a server to store files is a costly effort. Renting cloud server space is much less costly. It all comes down to efficiency. Because cloud service providers invest so heavily in infrastructure, they benefit from bulk buying, meaning they can charge fairly little and still profit. To sum up, then, cloud tech lets companies work with minimal operational costs.
It’s keeping employees somewhat entertained
This might not sound like a business matter, but it is, because a business is only as productive as its employees — and when employees get bored and frustrated (as is entirely possible in the midst of such a frustrating time), they can stop working as effectively. Think about how vital services like Netflix and Spotify have been in 2020, and how many true crime podcasts have kept people sane. When we can’t see movies in cinemas, we can at least see them at home.
If you kept all the necessary SaaS tools but stripped away all the entertainment services upon which we’ve come to rely, you’d see a lot of companies (big and small) running into significant problems. Their workers would get antsy and antagonistic. Small disagreements would spiral out of all proportion. We should be thankful, then, for our laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Wrapping up, it’s abundantly clear that the move to remote working wouldn’t have been anywhere near as smooth or successful had it not been for the vast contingent of powerful SaaS tools already on the digital marketplace. And with cloud technology making our professional lives easier (and our personal lives less boring), it’s hard to assess this complicated situation without developing a much stronger and more well-rounded appreciation of what technology brings to our daily routines.