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Cloud solutions increase business efficiencies in the ‘new normal’

While 2020 shifted the way the workplace functions, the reality is that business has learned great lessons around improving productivity in a work-from-home environment.
“As companies re-invent their business models, revamp their processes and transform their organisations from top to bottom, the benefits of a multi-tenant cloud system have never been more relevant,” Morne Swanepoel of 4Sight. Image: Shutterstock

Pre-2020, companies were reluctant to allow employees the flexibility to work-from-home (WFH) and it was largely a benefit for the privileged few. However, in the aftermath of Covid-19, companies have started to appreciate the fact that employees can be more productive in their own environments.

“Numerous people prefer to WFH because they find it more productive. Less travel time and interruptions mean they can be more efficient and productive. The reality is that WFH is becoming second nature and we are probably going to see a dramatic change in what companies expect and how they support their staff to improve productivity” says Morne Swanepoel, chief information technology officer at 4Sight.

Swanepoel says although the global Covid-19 lockdowns have accelerated change, smartphones have slowly but surely been changing the game. “Smartphones offer a functionality we didn’t dream of 20 years ago. Users have hundreds of apps and tools to improve their efficiency and productivity at their fingertips,” he says. One of the needs 4Sight has taken note of is the ability to work on any device. Smartphones offer the same functionality as a laptop, in a more convenient, portable format.

“Microsoft Teams, for example, has changed the way staff interact with the office and users want that flexibility. That shift in thinking towards flexibility goes all the way down to company ERP (enterprise resource planning) and payroll tools. You can use your mobile to sign in on teams, listen to a webinar, attend a virtual conference and react to chats,” he says.

As companies look to improve productivity in a WFH environment, cloud multi-tenant systems are likely to become increasingly popular in the year ahead. Swanepoel explains that this refers to the entire suite of modules that makes up a company’s back office accounting and sometimes front office capabilities, as well such as point of sale and booking systems.

The multi-tenant aspect means that instead of one company paying for single use access to cloud functionality, multiple users or companies may share a database or server, but with their own secure data storage. Examples of multi-tenant cloud programmes include Microsoft Dynamics,  Sage Intacct and Acumatica.

The benefits of a cloud multi-tenant system

  • Cost-savings: If your company was using an on-premise payroll solution, you would need to pay for an upgrade every year or second year. Swanepoel notes that these upgrades could cost anywhere from 10% to 25% of the original software implementation cost. However, a multi-tenant cloud solution offers short increments of updates. “Every week or every few weeks an update is tested internally and then rolled out for all customers. Just as with your Outlook or Teams, you wake up in the morning and see that the system updated overnight,” he says.
  • Easy on-boarding: 4Sight has developed a matrix to help identify which verticals companies fall into. So, the system would have different vertical solutions designed for different industries, such as mining. “Being able to easily identify which vertical and micro vertical a company operates in reduces risk considerably. Companies can rest easy knowing the solution they have procured is suitable for use,” he says.
  • Scalability: If you want to scale and grow your business, or in a specific month you need immense processing power for the integration of invoices or your statement run, a multi-tenant cloud system allows you to request increased capacity for that specific period. You are only billed for the time where you access increased processing speed. “If your business or data grows and you need more space or processing speed, it’s as easy as flicking a switch. You don’t have to go through the whole cycle of procuring more hardware and making sure everything is still compatible,” Swanepoel says.
  • Energy savings: With loadshedding an unfortunate reality, the energy savings from a cloud multi-tenant system cannot be overlooked. Using a multi-tenant payroll solution means saving on the energy consumption you would need for on-site servers; the cost of a back-up system to run those servers; the floor space for the servers and the air-conditioning costs to maintain the servers at the optimum temperature.

“As companies re-invent their business models, revamp their processes and transform their organisations from top to bottom, the benefits of a multi-tenant cloud system have never been more relevant,” Swanepoel concludes.

Brought to you by 4Sight Holdings.

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