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5 key factors to consider when selecting the best cloud-based system for your business

August 16, 2018

 The world is every changing, so is the business landscape and the technology we use to enable our business to function. Part of this is the introduction of cloud-based systems. Systems that have been developed where there is no requirements for an internal server, which for some business isn’t’ affordable or necessary. You can run your business form anywhere in the world through some amazing platforms. These can also be defined as SAAS, Software as a service. You pay per month and have access to some really great tools. Your business may not be at a level of a fully customised ERP solution (Enterprise Resource Planning) but ware wanting the sophistication of a robust and adaptable systems to enable continued growth.

 

There are so many cloud based systems available for all sized businesses’, these systems can really enable the business to improve productivity, workflow and overall business process. It is best to do your homework and really know what you want. If you get this right, selecting a new system will be straightforward and you will get the most out of it.

 

1. Analyse current situation

Where are you now and how has your business been progressing to date. It is important to assess your current situation and some of the key drivers for wanting a new system, upgrade from a current one or moving from a manual process to more digital process. At this stage, write out what is working, what isn’t working and what could be better. What reports you are getting from your current system and what you aren’t able to get. When you analyse this further in the early stages it will create the basis of what you should or shouldn’t be looking for in a system.

 

2 .Functionality and testing

Once you have analysed your current situation you are able to start the process of searching for a new system. You may know of some already, you may also have been referred some to try. This is where I suggest you demo these systems. You could also engage someone to do this for you who can also put the pieces of the puzzle together. At this stage also identify what functions you can’t live without, which ones you might have to change and ones that you can let go. This will form a clear map as to which system could fit into your requirements. When you demo these systems, keep an open mind. It will never be what you thought or how you want. These are off the shelve systems than have a small amount of customisation ability. However they will do the job you require, it will take time to learn and adjust to a new way.

 

3. Price

I don’t always think that price should determine what system you put in place however at some point price, functionality or design is always going to give. You want to be smart in how you spend your money each month on a system. After you have done some functionality and testing create a spreadsheet. Weigh up the pros and cons between what the systems can do, can’t do and what you need to pay for each one. Think about your business and how this will assist in its growth or ability to streamline your internal process. Can you invest in a good system that lets you grow without adding another employee or delay the hiring process a little longer, why hire someone to data entry when you could potential automate some of the workflow. Work out what the cost of that employee is for the year v’s the price of a system for a year. Then when you need it hiring can become a lot easier with great systems in place.

 

4. Your employees

It doesn’t matter if you have 1, 10 or 50 employees. Implementing a system will certainly have an impact on the way that they do their job and new processes can feel like they will create a negative impact on staff. How this is managed is crucial to the success of the new system that you are implementing. Engage in your staff early. Get them to provide you with some feedback and involve them in some of the decision making. Obviously it is hard for this to occur the bigger you are however select some key staff or senior managers to assist. You want them to be champions of the new systems and the positive experience it will bring.

 

5. Business goals and future direction

This is sometimes often forgotten, we always think of the now and not the future. The future can be just as important. You don’t want to select a system that you will outgrow nor do you want to put one in place that lacks functionality when some of your future plans are enabled. Systems will have a lot of features and modules, some you can switch on when you need it. If you say, ‘we don’t need that’ maybe think about ‘do you think we will need that and when’.

 

There are so many cloud based systems available for all sized businesses’, these systems can really enable the business to improve productivity, workflow and overall business process. It is best to do your homework and really know what you want. If you get this right, selecting a new system will be straightforward and you will get the most out of it.

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