So, you might be asking yourself how this is relevant to today’s topic. It’s very easy – the first consideration in any discussion around COVID19 is what the worst possible outcome might be. But have you stopped to think about what new opportunities lie around the corner? It is a fact that during all crises, whether financial or biological in nature, we have always seemed to find a possible “cure” through the extensive use of technology in conducting medical research, structural reforms, or process enhancements.
This is NOW the time to embrace the world of technology and the benefits it holds that will lead your business to change and improve. Yes, it can be a significant financial burden to implement, but many seem to forget one simple fact – THE BENEFIT IT HOLDS – Welcome to the world of technology!
So, what are some of the ways technology can improve your business?
A human resource perspective
For starters, the pandemic tilted the pivot which forced business to respond to the drastic changes imposed by our government that led to the need for employees to work remotely.
For years there has been a debate around the possibility of a world where employees would be given the opportunity to work from home. For some businesses this was just not an option and so they never planned for the privilege to materialise. With this strategy or mindset, the pandemic had a significant and shocking impact as they were simply not ready for such a dramatic change in their working environment.
Certain studies have shown, and this is very much dependant on the discipline of the employees, that working from home does lead to an increase in your employees’ productivity when you equip them with the technology to do so. Additionally, more hours could be spent on working due to the reduced amount of commuting time between home and workplace.
Some other benefits from allowing employees to work from home to consider:
- It reduces the number of employees coming into the office. This results in smaller office space required which should allow for some savings in office rental expense, dependant on the current terms and conditions contained in the lease agreement.
- It improves the wellbeing of your employees by having to spend less time on the road and limits their exposure to accidents and breakdowns leading to additional stress – stress that people do not want right now.
An operations perspective
The real excitement comes from the operations perspective where technology and its application has broadened the world in how businesses conducts their business; how businesses integrate their operations; and where businesses and clients can share information, on a secure channel of course, that improves the efficiency and speed at which information is shared. One example from one of our previous articles is where we spoke about the cash flow liquidity management tool, where different sources of information are used to compile a single cash flow liquidity view. YES, A SINGLE VIEW! Think about what your current frustration is and the amount of time you spend to compile important cash flow information from multiple excel sheets and a combination of online banking applications – This is merely the tip of the iceberg of what technology can offer you.
Some areas where applications and technology will be handy:
- It can reduce standard repetitive work that needs to be performed by employees, but which does not lead to any significant value being added. This can be illustrated using a simple example where employees need to constantly send out reminders to various staff members to remind them of certain tasks or updates. Now this is not too difficult to keep doing manually, but have you found yourself in the situation where you had to focus on an important email or project and suddenly you realised that you forgot to send out that reminder? FEAR NOT, using a powerful application called Power Automate, this process can be simplified and executed while you carry on concentrating on those much more important tasks that add real value.
- For purpose of illustration, I have compiled a snapshot of how easy it can be to implement such a basic application.
- My personal favourite is how a business can use Secure File Transfer Protocol Application (also known as SFTP) to enhance the business integration capabilities internally but also with external third parties making data transmission, and evidently processing of information within the business, more efficient in terms of time spent and accuracy. We are proud of how using this technology we are able to successfully integrate with our clients and financial banking institutions. We can confirm with utmost confidence that the BENEFITS we obtained from such an integration had a tremendous impact on the way wautreasury provides excellent and quality services.
- The below illustration involves the process of sharing important data files from and to various parties. The files are encrypted before sending the data, using the Secure File Transfer Protocol, and decrypts when safely received by the recipient. The authentication between the various parties is secured by using the SSH cryptographic keys or on a username/password basis. Once this secure channel is set up, you can transfer data knowing that your data is safe and protected from unwanted and unauthorised access.
The daunting question businesses must ask themselves is not if we are willing to make such a strategic decision but rather HOW and WHEN can we shift to a more intensive technology strategy and make use of the benefits it brings.
Making this strategic decision can result in significant cash outflows but there are cash flow and capital efficient solutions available. With the support of our waurentals and wautech divisions we have a team of experts that can assist in structuring a well balance rental solution to cater for those huge capital (technology equipment, software and implementation) expenditure requirements.
I’d like to end off by saying: In my personal view the famous expression “CASH IS KING” is very much still relevant for business around the world but with technology “blooming” quicker than money can grow I would like to add my own personal expression in saying: