In a recent article in Forbes, I wrote about how the current labor shortage of 4.6 million workers—the greatest since the World War II era—is plaguing industries from IT services and security, to manufacturing and retail, as well as transportation and the flow of goods in many areas. By having to take on too many responsibilities to fill labor gaps, workers become less efficient, and therefore less productive, which from an IT perspective can leave the organization vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Another issue facing workers is the skills gap, in which professionals cite heavier workloads, unfilled positions, and burnout as factors behind the widening gap. Further contributing to the skills gap is a wave of early retirements, making it difficult for organizations to maintain current operations—let alone innovate.
While businesses strive to fill shortages with attractive offers and retention strategies, bridging the labor gap with technology such as cloud ERP is fast becoming critical to a company’s success. Automation can improve accuracy and reduce the amount of labor needed to complete tasks and increase productivity by assisting current employees to perform their daily tasks. By leveraging automation, organizations can alleviate the impact of labor shortages and focus on what they do best -- run their business.
For those who are dealing with labor shortages, consider investing in technologies such as cloud ERP coupled with mobile, AI, IoT, and analytics that can streamline and automate operations to improve efficiency and optimize your limited workforce. According to Gartner, Inc., the cloud market is expected to double the size of the non-cloud market by 2025 as organizations increasingly outsource ERP, IT services, and more business functions to the cloud. By using various cloud applications and providers, you can potentially unburden your understaffed workforce so they can focus on core business functions and innovation.
Automation is integral to bridging the labor gap because it can help understaffed workforces manage both tedious and complex tasks. Cloud-based automation is becoming increasingly common in use cases like invoice processing and workflow analytics, but you can also automate cloud management functions like storage, backups, and security. Automation can increase accuracy and efficiency while reducing labor requirements, enabling you to reallocate time and energy to more strategic tasks.
Disparate operations, processes and communications can live in a single repository with cloud-based software such as ERP by using APIs that integrate internal and external applications securely. The technology can provide easy access to real-time updates that eliminates wasted time such as searching for transactions and documents. When each member of an organization has access to the same, accurate source of data, you can improve transparency and communication between teams.
If you plan to use cloud capabilities, it's imperative to have a roadmap and process in place so that you and your team understand the steps to properly deploy to the cloud or add cloud applications or services to your existing infrastructure. You may need to evaluate your infrastructure and devise a detailed plan to move to a cloud environment.
While you should continue to prioritize employee engagement and retention, the reality is that labor issues may be here to stay for a while. Digitizing operations can help you fill labor gaps that are hindering innovation and growth, and you can improve efficiency and your bottom line.