The Future of ERP for Companies with Work-From-Anywhere Models
For companies who are sustaining working-from-anywhere models, security, cloud, and mobile technology will be the key aspects of the future of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and access to it will remain a critical capability in allowing workers to do their jobs as if they are in the office, from anywhere. The ability to successfully operate and monitor your business in any kind of remote structure relies on the security, accessibility, standardization, and communication provided by your IT infrastructure and ERP software. Shoring up your security defenses, operating in a cloud environment, and utilizing mobile technology will take your ERP software to the next level and optimize its capabilities including for remote workers.
While traditional in office IT teams spend a lot of time and money securing their network systems, work from anywhere poses new challenges for some businesses and employees stepping outside the safety of the office environment. Many businesses continue to worry about security and protecting data. Businesses need to communicate regularly with remote workers to ensure they are taking responsibility on an individual level in addition to the operational level of the IT department. The following steps should be taken by businesses to ensure remote individuals keep sensitive company and customer data secure, and allow for a successful continuation for work from anywhere staff:
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to reduce the risk of attack
- Ensure remote workers have secured their home equipment such as routers with the assistance of your IT department
- Use multi-factor authentication
- Use collaboration tools such as video conferencing, soft phones, and instant messaging
- Use very strong, complicated passwords
- It is best to use corporate-supplied equipment and corporate security and monitoring tools
- Separate home and work devices to reduce the amount of sensitive data exposed if your personal device or work device has been compromised
- Understand safe and unsafe methods used for external email and text communication
- Train employees to know how to recognize phishing, spear phishing, and whaling attacks and avoid malicious email attachments and other email-based scams
- Avoid installing software such as browser plugins that come from unknown or unidentified developers
- Set up automatic software update policies
Cloud computing has changed the business landscape for many and has enabled more employees to work remotely. Especially as more businesses leverage smart phones and tablets, hosting ERP applications in the cloud and accessing it from anywhere is now a crucial business function. In times of uncertainty, companies also need flexibility, and those companies running in the cloud stand to benefit the most. With cloud ERP software, your documents are continuously saved and backed up in the cloud, and you can access your data anytime, anywhere. Employees can work seamlessly and easily access the functions of your enterprise applications in one central cloud solution, reducing location restraints. Additionally, running a cloud-based ERP solution eliminates the need for some workers to be in a physical location performing maintenance for on-premise equipment, allowing companies to repurpose IT resources from maintenance of systems to business growth, and minimize in-person contact.
The future of ERP requires an increase in flexibility through mobile services and applications that can be implemented both in the workplace and outside, allowing those working remotely to stay updated on warehouse inventory, assembly lines, and disruptions, and enabling workers in the field to access important data and operate safely in a no-touch environment. Mobile technology offers the flexibility of service to your customers, such as including the ability to accept payments wirelessly and provide proof-of-delivery (POD), and improves networking capabilities and ability to communicate anywhere, among other benefits.
As an example, many of our clients were well-positioned before the pandemic with remote work capabilities, utilizing software such as mobile applications to deliver goods with no touch processes. VAI customer, Barnwell House of Tires, implemented VAI’s S2K POD application to overcome challenges in verifying deliveries and signing invoices that began at the onset of the pandemic. As some of its customers opted not to sign invoice copies or tablets, field workers were able to take a picture of its delivery tires in front of something recognizable at the customer’s location, utilizing GEO tagging, providing proof and confirmation of delivery. Employees have been kept safe, and large chargeback disputes prevented.
Innovation and agility matter to your business in 2021 and beyond, as we’ve discovered just how flexible we need to be to prosper amid disruption and outpace competition. To meet the demands of today’s work from anywhere model, your ERP access needs to provide the highest level of security, secure access to data via cloud deployment, and offer the opportunity to gain a competitive edge with mobile technology.
Chief Information Officer