7 Ways the Cloud Makes Businesses More Agile

Agility is the ability to move quickly – to be nimble in the face of change.

Agility has been a particular focus for businesses since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Those unique circumstances and the devastating aftermath – especially for the supply chain – have only brought the need for greater agility home.

In fact, in Deloitte’s 2022 Manufacturing Industry Outlook Report, researchers wrote: “Business agility can be critical for organizations seeking to operate through the turbulence from an unusually quick economic rebound—and to compete in the next growth period … as leaders look not only to defend against disruption but strengthen their offense.”

What agility looks like for businesses will depend on that company’s goals, market and customer needs, but Forbes defines agility in business as the ability to make rapid changes before your competitors do – and to ensure that those changes are done the right way.
In 2020, businesses had to pivot swiftly. In 2021, companies were treading water, getting comfortable with their new normal. But in 2022, businesses that have fully embraced a cloud-based foundation will have the advantage.

Manufacturers and distributors need to be able to anticipate change – not just react. With Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud solutions, businesses gain the collaboration, ease of access and timely data required for agility in today’s market.

How to Boost Agility with a Cloud ERP

Use automation.
Use automation to handle repetitive, mundane tasks. That frees up employees to tackle more time-sensitive or skill-based work, such as following up with clients, closing sales or making important business decisions. Automation also ensures a level of security. Automation reduces human error – and makes operations far more efficient and resilient.

Break down data siloes.
With Microsoft tools, organizations can increase the speed in which decisions are made and business moves forward. Cloud ERPs break down traditional data silos and enable businesses to operate from a single source of truth. Because they have the most up-to-date information on customers, markets and more, your team can more quickly adapt to market conditions.

Reduce business complexity.
IBM states that workflow complexity has increased for many companies. Complexity occurs when multiple systems overlap and complicate processes. When expanding globally or diversifying assets, for example, companies tend to add on technologies, incrementally building complexity over time. Other drivers of complexity may include overlapping technologies, no data standards or control and rapid growth. There is a true cost to greater levels of complexity in an organization. The Hackett Group found that G&A total operating costs are 25% higher in companies with high technology complexity than those with average levels of complexity. Costs are 58% higher than in those with low levels of complexity.

If your business is still using a quirky mixture of systems to operate daily, then it’s past time for a change. By using a cloud-based ERP such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance, your company can move faster because workflows are streamlined, processes are automated, and your entire business operation is simplified – all of which reduce business complexity.

Streamline updates.
Updates are more efficient in the cloud, especially with Microsoft products. Major updates are completed twice a year and include new features, while minor updates (meant to fix bugs and other patches for customers) are done monthly. With the cloud, both of these updates are automatically implemented. Long gone are interruptive, expensive updates every few years. This allows you to take advantage of new features and functionality as it’s released, and reduces disruption to operations.

Effectively manage IT resources.
By partnering with a Microsoft partner like Columbus Global, you outsource the management of your IT infrastructure, which allows your internal team to focus on more strategic tasks to ensure they are building and supporting the right tech stack to help you meet your business goals and respond to customer demands.

Leverage on-demand scalability.
One of the lures of the cloud is the ability to increase or decrease capacity based on business needs. This scalability creates a more agile organization because the technology can grow and adapt with you. This is also a more cost-effective way to store and manage data.

Access data – wherever and whenever.
With the cloud, information can be accessed from any location at any time. Teams can collaborate from different facility locations or from home, which allows hybrid and virtual employees to participate more easily and effectively. Workflows aren’t interrupted just because someone is out of the office. The modern-day office has flexible systems that can meet employees where they are, reducing business complexity and increasing productivity.

Columbus Global has been awarded Microsoft Global Partner of the Year five times. Our team combines decades’ worth of experience and expertise with Microsoft products to pinpoint the best ERP solution for your needs.

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